Psalms 139 – A Commentary

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

139 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

Psalms 139 is a powerful passage in describing the infinite attributes of God. As we read the text, David relates to us the Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence of all-mighty God.

1  O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

David is indicating that God knows all there is to know about him. God’s knowledge of David is intimate, personal and complete. We serve a God who knows us! He knows the good, bad and ugly. He knows the things we do in secret and the things we think in private.

David’s description of God searching him is an interesting phrase. For if God is all-knowing (omniscience), then God already knows all there is to know. The emphasis here is more for David’s understanding and relationship. It is to better understand that God not only is aware of David, but that he has spent the effort looking deeply into the life of David so as to search, scrutinize, uncover all that can be known.

In the ancient Hebrew culture, to know someone is more than a conceptual awareness or knowledge about a person, it required a personal, intimate knowledge.  The term is the same term found in Genesis 2 describing the relationship between Adam and Eve. It is used in the context of deeply personal and covenant relationships.

God knows us because he has searched us thoroughly and because he has an intimate knowledge of us through a covenant relationship.

2  You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

you discern my thoughts from afar.

Not only does God know David intimately and personally, he knows of David’s actions. David is expressing the reality that God’s knowledge extends beyond the scope of personal knowledge of my mind and self and into my actions and behavior. God is keenly aware of when I get up, when I go out, who I meet, where I go. God’s knowledge of David is very personal and complete.

God’s knowledge of David is such, that He is able to know David’s thoughts even when He is not “with” David. God knows us completely! The reality is that David does not have to close to God in distance for God to know his thoughts. God knows everything.

This complete knowledge that God possesses of David, or even me, is His omniscience. God knows everything. His knowledge is not just cognitive, but through experience, through intimate relationships, and it is completed, instant, comprehensive, and eternal. God’s omniscience is complete in its knowledge in every facet of how knowledge can be acquired. God knows All Things.

Take Away

David is clearly expressing a deep theological idea in a very personal way. His relationship with God was one that was intimate and deep. David is describing one of the characteristics of God that make Him God, omniscience.

I think there are a few things that are important for us to glean from these verses.

1. God knows ME

The reality is that God knows me the same as he knows David. God has searched me and He knows me. God has an intimate knowledge and understanding of me that is more complete than my own knowledge of myself.

The fact is that God knows me and still loves me. He desires a relationship with me.

2. God Knows My Thoughts

My prayers to Him do not have to verbal. He knows my thoughts before I say them. He hears them before they are spoken.

Paul describes this by saying that he even knows our groanings. When we pray and try to communicate with Him, He understands our prayers better than we are even able to communicate them.

3. God Knows My Secrets

I have successfully hidden my secrets from people I love. But God knows. My secrets are not secret to Him. He knows my thoughts from afar.

I’m reminded of the story Jesus told of the prodigal son. When the son was sitting in the pig pen thinking about going back to his father as a servant, the Father discerned his thoughts from afar. He knew the son was returning and was looking for him to crest the horizon.

God knows my secrets and he loves me anyway. He knows my inner thoughts and the ‘real’ me, but desires to have a relationship still.

Final Thoughts

God is omniscient and He his knowledge of me is both searched and known. I am known by the Eternal God. He has chosen to have a relationship with me and no matter how far from him I get, he is able to discern my thoughts.

He knows me.

He knows you.

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