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  • Jon Taylor

The Implications, Applications and Exhortations of Psalm 139

David wrote this much loved and well- known Psalm. We should never forget that David was a man after God’s own heart and though he became the king of Israel, he had no shortage of problems and enemies constantly trying to take his life. We learn here about God’s attributes and His extensive understanding of us. We were created in His image, and can learn how to relate to Him.

A counsellor or a life coach may well ask reflective questions and try to put into words what you have said in an attempt to ascertain the meaning of what you are trying to convey. This might be to show sympathy, empathy or to help, or to find a solution depending on the circumstances and desired outcome. A memory expert can retain information, artificial intelligence can regurgitate programmed responses and philosophers’ debate what is beyond their remit. But the Lord is incomparably greater in every respect. In the same way that having understanding is more useful than merely possessing knowledge of facts, God’s comprehension of every aspect of His creation is exhaustive since He has searched us and has known us from eternity past.

He understands our thoughts, motivations, aspirations and knows us infinitely better than we know ourselves. Since His knowledge and understanding is limitless and His presence is omnipresent; we have innumerable reasons to seek Him daily. He knows our sitting down and rising up so when we do the same should we not seek Him who has countless and precious thoughts towards us? Since we are fearfully and wonderfully made and are skilfully wrought, is not every life of inestimable value having been fashioned by the Creator and the Author of life?

David sought deliverance from his enemies and the Lord spared His life on many occasions. David knew that God knew the number of days that he would live before he even existed. Our entrance into this world, our affairs and our departure from this life and entry to the next life are not random series of inexplicable and meaningless chain reactions. Though the Lord knows what we will pray and how we will express that, we are still commanded to pray. He has purposefully made us in such a way that we can have a relationship with Him.

Since God knows everything, everyone and is everywhere, we all have a positional relationship with God even if some are foolish and deny His existence. We cannot hide from Him or do anything in ‘secret’ that He is not aware of. The quality of our relationship will depend on whether we are willing to obey the Lord and cultivate that relationship in the way that He has shown us. David took the fractured relationships with his enemies to the Lord. David was concerned that they spoke against the Lord who he was aligned with. When we have anguish of soul or when people oppose righteousness, we are to bring the matter before the Lord.

Some people will read this psalm to obtain comfort though sadly they will leave it there until the next disappointment or sadness and continue on their way. Others will read it and consider the implications and ask the Lord to intervene and help them when others have caused them harm unfairly.

But the godly will take the closing two verses to heart and ask the Lord to search their hearts and ways and see if there is any way wicked way within them. They will want the Lord to help them change their thoughts, ways and actions and will be sought to be led by the Lord. Once there is peace with the Lord then things can be put right with others or the matter can be left with the Lord to intervene in His way and in His perfect timing. They can return to this psalm and many others frequently and encourage others with the truth and revelation of this passage also.

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