Psalm 139 Commentary

Psalm 139 Commentary

Psalm 139 is home to one of the most famous poster verses: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Verse 14. Of course, the psalmist is pondering God’s omnipresence and omniscience. But there is actually more.

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.” Which knowledge, that the Creator God is omnipresent and knows everything? Probably, yes. We don’t belong in that space. Each attempt to begin to conceptualize and relate these two elements of God’s nature always results in unlimited confusion.

However, what wouldn’t harm anyone is the saint’s response to this kind of knowledge. Countless sins are committed at night under the cover of darkness. We deceive; we cheat; we steal; we disown; we do all these things when our victims are not watching. Or when the human justice system is not looking.

But the LORD is always looking. The LORD is always present to provide a reliable eye-witness account of the sinner’s crimes.

While countless crimes go unnoticed and therefore unprosecuted, no sin shall go unpunished as the Creator God knows everything.

There is no hiding place both for the person as well as his thoughts.

God’s knowledge of events is current and in real-time. It is never news! But importantly, it is also prior knowledge, foretaste, or forethought.

The psalmist then turns to God’s creation of man. He gives the impression that the LORD has a folder with a file named after each individual on earth. Details such as date of birth and date of death are all there, written in bold letters. Each day’s activities for an individual are all written there.

This kind of information is too wonderful for the human mind. We probably leave it there. It is easier to focus on our daily battles. So David turns his attention to the evil in his world. If only the LORD God would slay the wicked!

David has just moved from God’s world of perfect knowledge to man’s world of imperfection. David is actually one of the wicked men and women, and so is everyone born of a woman. God would have to slay everyone!

David knows it and quickly turns to the LORD. “Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts. Find out if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way.”

This beautiful ending points us to the sinner’s way back home. It happens when you realize that only the LORD Jesus Christ can test you, check for evil, and then guide you out of the path to destruction.

What a psalm!

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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