Friday, May 18, 2012


“[This] extraordinary knowledge is beyond me.  It is lofty; I am unable to [reach] it.”  (Psalm 139:6 HCSB)

Theology is “the study of God.”  It is a term that is simple to define, but impossible to exhaust.  Even a man of such spiritual insight as David finds that such knowledge is beyond the limits of his thinking.  No matter how much he grows in his understanding, God is beyond his reach.

Theology is the undertaking of a task that we know we cannot finish—even with the boundlessness of eternity.  Yet, it is in the very study of Him that we grow, becoming more and more like the object of our focus.  So, we roll up our sleeves, and open up the Book—and pray and pray and pray!  We won’t learn all we can learn, but there could be a glimpse of incomparable glory that floods our soul with light and life and love.  Our final destination will not be reached, but there will be joy in just making the journey!

GOD IS OMNISCIENT (v.1-6).  This means that God—unlike us—has all knowledge.  God knows our days before we live them, our thoughts before we think them, our words before we speak them, our steps before we take them and our deeds before we do them. He is never surprised, caught off guard, or startled in the least.  Every eventuality is planned out.   All His purposes are mapped out.  He will do all that He intends to do, when He wants, as He wants, and none can thwart Him.

David begins, “Lord, You have searched me and known me.” (v.1)  He speaks in amazement to and in astonishment of the great God.  God has performed a spiritual MRI on him.  He has peered into and mapped out the depths of David’s soul.  The omniscient God is intimately acquainted with every detail of our lives.  Nothing is hidden from Him.

“You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away.” (v.2)  He knows our every activity—when we sit down and when we stand up--and every deed in between. He knows our very attitudes—every thought we contemplate.  Whatever courses through our brains has been registered in His!  We may obscure those from man, but not from our Maker.

“You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways.” (v.3)  God knows where our steps take us.  In the night when we fall asleep, He is awake and watching us.

There is nothing about us of which He is ignorant. The word “observe” is literally “winnow”—God can separate the chaff from the wheat in terms of our walk.  He sees the places we should go that are worthy and the paths that take us into wickedness.

Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord.” (v.4)  He hears every word we speak—even if whispered in secret.  The remarkable thing is that the One who knows us best, loves us most!  Before the word is even spoken, God knows what we are going to say.  It would be good if we gave it thought before we spoke it!
You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.” (v.5)  God puts a hedge of protection surrounding us—to keep His sheep from straying and to keep predators away!  His strong, but gentle hand rests upon us.

“[This] extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to [reach] it.”  How can we grasp a God so great—He is beyond our imagination and vocabulary!  I love the duet Larnelle Harris and Sandi Patti used to sing,

“For He’s more wonderful than my mind can conceive
He’s more wonderful than my heart can believe
He goes beyond my highest hopes and fondest dreams.
He’s everything that my soul ever longed for
Everything He’s promised and so much more
More than amazing, more than marvelous
More than miraculous could ever be
He’s more than wonderful, that’s what Jesus is to me.”  Amen!

GOD IS OMNIPRESENT (v.7-12).  This means that He is ever-present.  Some people want their pastor to be everywhere, but that is impossible.  But, what is impossible with man is possible with God. 

“Where can I go to escape Your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence?” (v.7) 

There is nowhere you can go to get away from God.  If we insist on getting away, He will finally give us our desire—for hell is, ultimately, the absence of God’s presence.  But, for those of us who are His children, he has promised to never leave us, nor forsake us!  Heaven will be abiding with Him for all of eternity, immersed in the majesty of His being.

If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.” (v.8) 

If we go to the highest point—heaven—God is there. If we go to the lowest point—Sheol, the world of the dead below, God is there.

“If I live at the eastern horizon [or] settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me.” (v.9-10)   If I go to the east where the sun rises or to the west where the sin sets God is there.  God is steering us and securing us with His ever-present hand.

If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night’—even the darkness is not dark to You.  The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.” (v.11-12)  Nothing obscures His vision!

GOD IS OMNIPOTENT (v.13-24).  This means that He is all powerful.  I am weak, but He is strong—immeasurably so!  Hs greatness is graphically displayed in the glory of creation.  The Creator just spoke—and everything came into existence—the vastness of the cosmos and all that fills it!  Of all His wondrous works, the making of man was the pinnacle of His creative power.  That is where David focuses.

“For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb.”  (v.13)   Our organs are designed by Him—the incredible functions of the body’s systems.  That such complexity and intricacy could evolve over millions of years in randomness and mutation—with no external Mind to design and direct it—is preposterous!  Creation cries out there is a Creator.  Life demands a Life-giver.  This is what makes human life sacred.  We are not just highly developed animals. Every life is a special creation of God.  God “knit” us together.  God is the weaver, pulling the threads together in the handiwork He intends.  You are special!  All you are has been carefully crafted by Him.

“I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.  Your works are wonderful, and I know [this] very well.” (v.14)  God deserves our worship, when we consider the wonder of who we are by His design.  We have been made in the image of God!  What does that mean?

It doesn’t mean the reverse.  Idolatry is when I make God in my image.  We project human characteristics on Him and supercharge them, when we err in this way of thinking.  God has no body like ours.  To be made in His image, doesn’t mean that we look like him in our physical form.  It means this:

Ø      RATIONAL THOUGHT.  God is a rational being.  Of all God’s creatures, man can think, and reason, including abstract thought—  can appreciate and discuss art; capable of communicating ideas.  We even have thoughts about our thoughts!

Ø      EMOTIONAL RESPONSE.  God expresses emotions.  Humans feel happiness, sorrow, anger, love—the full range of emotions, as God does.

Ø      VOLITIONAL CHOICE.  God has a will and makes decisions.  We have a conscience, a moral nature. We are not creatures driven by animal instinct, but capable of moral choices.

Ø      RELATIONAL CAPACITY.  God has a love relationship within the Godhead and loves His creation, especially people.  We are hard-wired for relationships with the capacity to relate to God and each other.

This is what makes human life sacred—all human life valuable—from the womb to the tomb, from the moment of conception.

“My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth.” (v.15)  Even when we were but a few cells forming, God saw us and mapped out our DNA.  Ultrasound may not have detected us, but God knew all about us, and had already determined what we would become.  “The depths of the earth” is symbolic language to describe how God formed us in secret—as a precious gem would be formed in the heart of the earth and then “mined.”

God is about life.  That is why we are unashamedly pro-life as a church.  This is why we cry out against a culture of death—that would abort the inconvenient child, practice infanticide with the deformed child, assist in the suicide of the sick and euthanize the elderly.  That philosophy was bred in the pit of hell by the diabolical Destroyer.

“Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all [my] days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.(v.16)   Even the number of our days—our lifespan—was allocated by God.  Only an omnipotent, sovereign God could appoint and accomplish such a plan—and that for all people!

“God, how difficult Your thoughts are for me [to comprehend]; how vast their sum is!” (v.17)  Isn’t it astonishing that the great God would condescend to give such individual attention to the least among us!

“If I counted them, they would outnumber the grains of sand; when I wake up, I am still with You.” (v.18)  God’s grace is boundless—immeasurable!  It is as constant as His moment by moment care.  Every day, when we awake, it is a gift from God and a reminder of His presence and provision.

“God, if only You would kill the wicked—you bloodthirsty men, stay away from me—who invoke You deceitfully. Your enemies swear [by You] falsely.  Lord, don't I hate those who hate You, and detest those who rebel against You?  I hate them with extreme hatred; I consider them my enemies.” (v.19-22)  Only God is qualified to judge people.  Only He will get it right.  He is holy.  God takes note, not only of the righteous, but the wicked. For every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account in the Day of Judgment.  Love for God leads us to loathe those who hate Him.  David was not responding so vehemently because of an attack on him personally, but due to the assault of the wicked on God.  This is righteous indignation.  The fact is that the Lord God Almighty can—and will—take care of Himself and one day consume the wicked in His wrath.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns.  See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.” (v.23-24).  He asks God to put him on the treadmill, and give him a stress test to find out the health of his heart.  If this is done for you, is there hypertension from stress and anxiety, indicating a lack of faith in this awesome God?  When we are given a spiritual test, will it reveal heart disease—that we are living in an offensive way.  An offensive way is an avenue through which we have beat a path through regular trips into the darkness of sin.  It is a muddy path—dirty and defiling—the filthy road of the flesh.    Repentance is turning around, going back, and getting on the right path.  This is the everlasting way.  What David desires is a well-worn path of life.  The Almighty God can enable us to find, follow and finish that narrow path to glory.

“God is great; God is good.  Let us thank Him…” I learned this as a child, and though I am now beyond half a century in age, I still express this with childlike faith.  We will never get beyond that—it will be the testimony of the redeemed for the endless ages!  We will never get it all said, for we will never have Him all understood.  The great adventure of exploring the vastness of an Infinite Being with limitless goodness will consume our timeless existence.  Oh my!

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