I. Introduction Psalm 139
Once a year, our church asks us to focus on a “sanctity of life” message, so we’re going to have a little 1-week vacation from our lessons in Acts this week. Instead, let us start with Old Testament scripture of wisdom and worship. I know you have your bibles with you because this is a bible study, not a PowerPoint study. So, open your bibles and turn to Psalm 139.
Warren Wiersbe had this to say about Psalm 139,
What we think about God and our relationship to Him determines what we think about everything else that makes up our busy world–other people, the universe, God’s Word, God’s will, sin, faith, and obedience. Wrong ideas about God will ultimately lead to wrong ideas about who we are and what we should do, and this leads to a wrong life on the wrong path toward the wrong destiny. In other words, theology–the right knowledge of God–is essential to a fulfilled life in this world. David contemplated God and wrote for us a psalm whose message can only encourage us to be in a right relationship with Him.
King David wrote these Psalms, glorifying God in the highest and asking for a closer relationship with Him. As I read over commentaries of Psalm 139, great bible study teachers proclaimed that Psalm 139 was about God’s omniscience, His omnipresence, His omnipotence. All that is true, but none of those words appear in the Psalm. The beauty of Psalm 139 is its simplicity.
II. God Knows Us Intimately – We Cannot Deceive Him
The first six verses of Psalm 139 from David ask God to look into David’s very soul.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
When David asks God to search him, the Hebrew word for “search” is “chaqar” and is usually used for digging deep into a mine. Our friends and family see the outside, but God see what is inside, and He digs deep inside us. Who remembers the Old Testament man named Eliab? Hint, he was a son of Jesse? He was King David’s oldest brother? When the prophet Samuel was looking for a new king to take over for King Saul, Samuel wanted to choose Eliab first. But the Lord said to Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7,
“Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Our exterior appearance is what the world sees, but putting up a facade does not deter God from examining our hearts. God sees the truth. To mangle an old saying,
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool God.
III. God Is With Us Constantly – We Cannot Escape Him
Not only does God know us intimately to our very soul, He never departs from us. Even when we may feel He is far away, He is still with us. We cannot escape Him. Psalm 139:7-12 tells us that God is with us constantly.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
Sometimes we may try to hide from God, but we cannot. Adam and Eve tried it in Genesis 3:8-9.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
Raise your hand if you think hiding in the bushes is an effective strategy for hiding from God. God is in heaven, God is here on earth, and David says that even if he should make his bed in Hell, God is still there.
So if your strategy for doing things in secret from God (I’m putting my hand over my own eyes), then it’s not working.
Hebrews 4:13 puts it this way,
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Whatever and wherever you think you are hiding from God, you’re not.
IV. God Made Us Wonderfully – We Cannot Ignore Him
And God is not only there where we go, but He is with us always. He has been here before we were born and He will be here when we die. It’s not like God looks around one day and says, “Oh! Where did you come from?” Psalm 139:13-18 tells us God is present at our conception and our birth, and we are reminded that each one of is made in the very image of God with a purpose only we can fulfil. Psalm 139:13-18,
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
The bible tells us that we are not an accident. We were created with purpose.
The bible tells us that we are not meaningless. We were created to be useful.
The bible tells us we are not worthless. The bible tells us that God fashioned us with His own hands in love.
a. Evolution vs Creation
Our secular society has diminished and understated this part of creation. Our public schools teach our children that evolution is a god, that man’s evolution from the apes shows that we are nothing but a random collection of cells that decided symbiotically to live together, our brain cells with our blood cells with our skin cells. And there is nothing special about any one of us.
I believe this state-mandated religion of evolution is responsible for the callous attitude toward human life. We don’t appreciate that we are created in God’s image. I don’t always appreciate that you are created in God’s image, just as you probably don’t appreciate that I’m made in God’s image. And that idiot that just cut us off when we were just trying to exit the freeway, even though we turned our blinker on and tried to merge? They are certainly not made in God’s image. They’re just a random collection of cells. Stupid cells, at that.
Those other stupid cells – by which I mean, other people crafted in God’s image – have been with us since the Garden of Eden. God asked Adam if Adam ate the forbidden fruit, and Adam immediately through Eve under the bus. “Eve gave it to me, that’s why I ate some of it.”
Adam blamed Eve. Eve of course, blamed the serpent, and the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on.
Of course, their kids had to see this attitude in their parents. And then one day Cain’s attitude overcame him, and Cain killed Abel. To Cain, Abel was just a bunch of stupid cells.
But to God, it was precious human blood that God Himself had knitted and embroidered in the womb. When Cain killed Able, God said in Genesis 4:10,
The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”
Mankind through the years continued to inflict pain and death on one another. Family conflict gave way to tribal conflict. Tribal conflict turned into national conflict, then war. Then genocide. Over the centuries, mankind has become very efficient at killing mankind. The New York Times estimates that 1 billion people have died in wars since history began.
Between wars, terrorism, genocide, we humans have become efficient and ruthless at trying to eliminate the human race. And each and every one of those deaths is a soul that God fashioned with love and kindness.
And not just through wars and genocide. Oh no, we are far too callous of human life. We destroy human life from before birth all the way through old age.
Abortion kills 3300 per day in the US alone. Worldwide, 115,000 per day. 42 million souls per year. Nearly 2.5 million just since the New Year. Some sobering statistics about abortion becomes obvious when you see a real-time Abortion Clock .
One of the most common reasons given for supporting a woman’s right to abortion is to protect the life or health of the mother, and also as a remedy against rape or incest. Rape is a traumatic experience for sure, and I certainly do want to diminish that horrific act. But statistics show that even if you support this exception to abortion, it’s almost never a reason given for abortion. The Guttmacher Institute in 2004 anonymously surveyed women after their abortion for their reasons, and the results are as follows:
- <0.5% Victim of rape
- 3% Fetal health problems
- 4% Physical health problems
- 4% Would interfere with education or career
- 7% Not mature enough to raise a child
- 8% Don’t want to be a single mother
- 19% Done having children
- 23% Can’t afford a baby
- 25% Not ready for a child
- 6% Other
Over 92% of abortions are not related to health of the woman, health of the baby, or because of rape. 92% just didn’t want a child. That means of the 1.44 billion babies aborted since 1980 worldwide, 1.3 billion babies, hand-knitted and embroidered by the God of the Universe Himself, would be alive today. That’s about the same as the entire population of China or India.
When we think of them instead of just a bunch of stupid cells, then it’s easier to justify their elimination.
c. Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
And the human race isn’t content with ending life at the front end, we’re also trying to end it early at the back end. Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicides are on the rise since countries such as Belgium, Switzerland and The Netherlands and now the state of Oregon have made it legal. Statistics are harder to come by since it’s not legal everywhere – yet – but the legal early terminations of life are already in the thousands per year. In the UK where euthanasia is not legal, they had the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient, originally designed to help doctors provide quality end-of-life care for terminal patients. In reality, patients were sedated and denied food and water so it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Patients became terminal after entering this care. The practice has been discredited and discontinued, but not before 130,000 a year were euthanized under this program. All because some stupid cells were inconvenient to the living.
Murder, war, abortion, euthanasia. This is not what God created us for. God has given us purpose and meaning. He created us in love. God created us to know Him and resemble Him as our heavenly Father, created with moral and spiritual capacities and creativity.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
How much does God value us?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God knit us together, embroidered us, planned and numbered our days and given us tasks we were each created uniquely to perform.
V. God Judges Righteously – We Cannot Dispute Him
So Psalm 139 tells us about God’s omniscience, His omnipresence, His omnipotence. The first 6 verses tell us that we cannot deceive God because He knows our deepest desires. Then the next 5 verses remind us that there is no place we can hide because God is everywhere. And the next 5 after that tell us that God had made us for a purpose, and that we are hand crafted and embroidered by God Himself.
Is it not sensible, then, to try to get to know our God better since He had made such a great effort to know us? Psalm 139, 19-24 –
Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Some prefer to oppose God. Some want to argue with God and tell God He is not running the world correctly. King David had words to say about these sinners. He called them wicked, violent, liars, blasphemers, and rebels, but David also grieved over them of them.
And God also grieves over them. Sometimes it is hard to hate the sin but love the sinner. Well, as long as it is other sinners and not us. But scripture tells us in the last days evil will be considered good, and good will be considered evil. I know each year it’s become more and more difficult to find a movie or television show that celebrates good people. When I read the news, they make it seem that abortion and euthanasia are virtues, and people that oppose such horrors should be locked up for the good of society. And every year it seems the devil has a tighter grasp over the world.
David closes Psalm 139 with a prayer for God to search his heart, know his anxieties and concerns, forgive him, and lead him. We can easily deceive ourselves and convince ourselves that good is evil and evil is good. But we ask God to search our hearts while we search the scriptures. We must put on the whole Armor of God.
In the movie “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the Resistance fighter named Finn is about to destroy a massive weapon by the enemy by ramming his ship into it, certain to result in his death. Rose Tico, a young fighter in the Resistance, has just saved Finn from death, but the weapon is still intact. Finn asks, Why did you do that?” Rose answers,
“That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.”
We’re not here to fight people who perform abortions, or who have had abortions. We’re not even here to fight murderers. But we are here to spread the light that is the message and the good news from God, that everyone may have eternal light. For Ephesians 6:12 says,
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
We fight this battle with love for our family, our friends, and our enemies. Why? We do this because of 1 John 4:19,21
We love because He first loved us. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
God loves us while we were still yet His enemy. God loves us with an intimacy we cannot even fathom in its depth. We learned from Psalm 139 that
- God Knows Us Intimately – We Cannot Deceive Him (Psalm 139:1-6)
- God is With Us Constantly – We Cannot Escape Him (Psalm 139:7-12)
- God Made Us Wonderfully – We Cannot Ignore Him (Psalm 139:13-18)
- God Judges Righteously – We Cannot Dispute Him (Psalm 139:19-24)
To God be the glory. Amen.