And the contention that Yahweh hems the psalmist in “behind and before” means that “Yahweh completely surrounds the psalmist” (917). The second part of Psalm 139:13 continues this motif, confessing God’s presence with the psalmist from the very beginning of existence by indicating that the psalmist was knit together in his mother’s womb. Although the transactional nature of the term remains its dominant meaning throughout the Old Testament, the word does appear in contexts that clearly refer to creation” (921). Your enemies are my enemies! Nevertheless, there arecountless challenges that the psalm raises which also warrant a detailed study.The psalmist was apparently a very skilled writer, using complex sentencestructures and very rare words. And there is the “challenge,” so to speak, of worshiping a God who is intimately personal with his creation. If I ascend up … The psalmist continues the theme of God’s pervasive presence: “Where can I go from your Spirit? As they explain: A merism is a poetic technique that expresses a totality by mentioning two parts, typically polar opposites … Poetically speaking, a merism provides vivid images that are meant to replace more abstract concepts such as “all,” “every,” or “always.” Given this intended usage, a merism is meant to be understood figuratively or metaphorically, but not literally. 4 Lord, even before I speak a word, you know all about it. Turn there in your Bible. Yet he has remained present with us (v. 18). Regardless of where he flees—going up to heaven or down into the depths, traveling east or west—“he can escape neither the grasp nor the notice of Israel’s God” (920). And please, God, do away with wickedness for good! Where can I flee from your presence?” (v. 7) he begins. You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your sight. Praying through Psalm 139:16 . The authors don’t believe a dichotomy of meaning is warranted. The God who calls David from the fields to be his anointed king is the same God who chastens David for his pursuit of Bathsheba” (926). They’ve abrogated any relationship with God. "Where can I go from your Spirit? This “I-Thou” relationship, and the accompanying pervasive, intimate presence of God, roots the psalmist's hope and comfort—as well as our own. . (916-17). Psalm 121 Commentary: Where Does Our Help Come From? 1. Please check errors and resubmit. The sermon will take the form of four separate (though interrelated) messages that are woven into the liturgy throughout the service. and know me”—my heart and my anxious thoughts. 13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;    you formed me in my mother’s womb.I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! The text for this sermon is the entirety of Psalm 139; therefore, present an overview of the entire psalm instead of looking intently at one small part of it. PSALM 139 Ps 139:1-24. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. (920). Psalm 139 is called a psalm of David and is generally thought to be written by King David himself. Tucker and Davis offer an overview of these four movements: The language adopted in the first two strophes underscores the dominance of the “I-Thou” relationship in the poem. If you have any questions, please review our. Tucker and Grant note how many hymns tend to highlight the fascination and comfort gained from God’s presence. As the psalmist was given pause by the thought of God’s pervasive presence, we too should be inspired and taken aback. Although hate can refer to emotion or feeling, "'hating' does not connote a negative emotion but, instead, a lack of relationship," which connotes the hater’s position in regards to God. Here, the psalmist celebrates the creative goodness of God in verses 1-18, and provides a glimpse of the oppression that occasioned the … The psalm is intimately personal, as is the God to whom the psalm testifies” (925). What’s more, the psalmist uses four verbs of perception, reflecting Yahweh’s attentiveness to the fullness of the psalmist’s life: “to know” (yada‘); “to perceive” (bin); “to discern” (zarah); and “to be familiar with” (sakan). 5 You are all around me, behind me and in front of me. “Because the psalmist desires the presence of God, he seeks to eradicate anything in his own life that might vitiate that life-giving relationship” (925). In Psalm 139 David marvels at God's wisdom and power, which is at work for us, his creatures. But these words do not apply to David alone. Yet in verse 5 he confesses that God laid his hand upon him. Immediately it exalts God as all knowing and omnipresent, and clearly shows that all of man's life is in God's hands. (914–15). Long before God “fearfully and wonderfully made” you, he knew what you would be like and what you would do. 1 Samuel 13:14 tells us that David was “a man after His own heart”.This means that David was a man after God’s own heart, which indicates that David was a believer. If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, you are there! The psalmist describes the enemies as the “wicked” and the “bloodthirsty.” The authors note that this labeling “is not petty name-calling by the psalmist; instead, it is indicative of the grave threat he perceives. Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! He founded THEOKLESIA, which connects the 21st century Church to the vintage Christian faith; holds a Master of Theology in historical theology; and makes the vintage faith relevant at. In verse 5 God is said to “hem in” the psalmist, and in verse 7 he queries, “Where can I flee from you presence?” Both images (being hemmed in and fleeing) nearly always carry a negative connotation. No reason is provided or justification offered for the divine hand that has befallen the psalmist. Psalm 139 For the choir director: A psalm of David. 139 1 God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. These seven commands form the backbone of one of the most instructive psalms on giving grateful praise to the Lord: Psalm 100. That’s great! 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. Here’s why: The God who has known us from our very beginnings is the God who has watched us all along. Tucker and Grant note several verses that seems to suggest the weightiness that comes with the nearness of God’s presence in offering comfort: Then there are the images of God’s hand that further illustrate this “flight and fascination” with God’s presence in the psalm: This tenuous balance between “flight and fascination” exists throughout Scripture. The writer of Psalm 139 suggests that if he were in the darkness, the place of chaos and death, the place that is absent of light, then perhaps finally he would find a place apart from God. There is a better way. Enter. Body and soul, I am marvelously made! “Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord?” the Psalmist asks. It helps bring both halves of the interpretive task together—the passage’s original meaning and contemporary application—explaining not only what the Psalms meant but also how they speak powerfully today. A David Psalm GOD, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. Give thanks. God is always with us. how I was sculpted from nothing into something. This extends to everything a person does, thinks, and says, even before those actions occur. Keep reading for an insightful portrait of this powerful psalm. Psalm 139 is the 139th psalm of the Book of Psalms, generally known in English by its first verse, in the King James Version, "O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. How well do you know God? Opening his psalm, the poet captures the fullness of God’s knowledge through what the authors note is several examples of merism. Let's join David and exclaim: How wonderfully our God works! But what does the psalm mean and how are its four poetic movements connected? Through his petitions the psalmist aligns himself with God and asks for God to redress his present circumstances. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. (It is) a psalm of David. The final strophe, however, shifts both in focus and tenor. This attribute is also referred to as omniscience. Praise him. Thebeauty of its content alone is enough to inspire fascination. And he knows all our days. If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. all the men and women who belittle you, God. See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—. That is the message of the beautifully-crafted Psalm 139. 2 I'm an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking. What is your source for the confidence you need to face the headwinds of life? Psalm 139 reflects on the human condition, and specifically God’s interaction with the individual human experience. Psalm 139 is a psalm of David. Others insist the psalm is a prayer of an unjustly accused person, given the final strophe, while some have suggested it is a complaint uttered by a psalmist in the midst of hostility. Upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus, and access the, The Message, Large Print, Brown Trio Leather-Look, NIV and The Message Side-by-Side Bible, Two Bible Versions Together for Study and Comparison, Large Print, The Essential Evangelical Parallel Bible (NKJV/ESV/NLT/, Message Slimline Bible--soft leather-look, black/spring wildflowers, The Message Deluxe Gift Bible--soft leather-look, crosshatch denim. (916). And he marvels at this, confessing a sense of awe at the vastness of God’s thoughts about him. It clearly divides into 4 stanzas of 6 verses each in our English text. 19–22). Tucker and Grant coordinate both tasks in their commentary on Psalm 139. Grant provide insight into the meaning and composition of this magisterial psalm in their new commentary Psalms, Volume 2 (NIV Application Commentary). Gen 47:19; 49:30; Lev 22:11; Jer 32:7). 2) Psalm 139 was penned by King David. Psalm 139 God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. In Psalm 139:13-16 David praises God as he reflects on God’s special role in David’s own creation even in his mother’s womb. “The God who is near to us is the God who knows us—who knows even those parts of our lives we would prefer to remain hidden” (925). Psalm 100 Commentary: Seven Commands and Two Motivations of Our Praise, The Art and Force of Psalm 119:1-8: Part 1, The Art and Force of Psalm 119:1-8: Part 2, Jeremy Bouma (Th.M.) Instead, they point to Goldingay here: “‘the person who has nothing to hide has nothing to fear of Yhwh’s binding or the touch of Yhwh’s hand’ [Psalms 3, 630]. This “I-Thou” relationship serves as the “unifying thread” throughout the psalm. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! Even there, God is present in his life. 1, 2, 4, 6, 14, 23 [2x]), thereby repeatedly reinforcing the “I-Thou” relationship between the psalmist and God. And because God has known us, fully known us, we should be compelled to ask God to search us to see whether there is any offensive way in us (vv. You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit. even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. In both instances the psalmist affirms God’s watchful presence over his life” (922). " … and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? "I am fearfully and wonderfully made” he declares. There is a better way. This psalm speaks of the pervasive presence of God, and his intimate knowledge of us, which offer us an outsized measure of hope and comfort in the face of adversity and trial. Since we cannot escape from this all-knowing, all-present, all-wise Creator, we cannot escape from the need for holiness. You hold me safe in your hand. Psalm 139 reflects on the human condition, and specifically God’s interaction with the individual human experience. AMEN. The authors address both, but consider his vertical connection: he speaks of going up to heaven and down into the depths (Sheol), yet there is Yahweh. even the darkness will not be dark to you; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. As stated elsewhere in the Bible, God's mind is inexpressibly beyond that of any person (Isaiah 55:8–9). Admonition to the wicked and comfort to the pious are alike implied inferences from these doctrines. Psalm 139 God knows all about me – what is our response? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?. and today we’re looking at Psalm 139. the idea that God is not far off, but is near to each of us. For Instructors and School Administrators. The first three strophes praise God for his comprehensive knowledge of the psalmist, the fullness of his presence in the world, and his power as Creator. He simply understands that even God’s corrective action is expressive of his pervasive presence. If I ascend … Psalm 139 (This is) for the music leader. The emphasis here is not on workmanship, but on the mystery of creation itself. In the first strophe "you" serves as the subject of nearly all the verbs, while in the second strophe, "I" dominates throughout. Each person has existed in the mind of God eternally. “The verb ‘to search’ (haqar) can refer to searching out land (Judg 18:2) or searching out a city (2 Sam 10:3), but often, especially in the wisdom literature, the verb means ‘to search’ in the sense of ‘to examine’” (917). night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. Yet as the poem draws to a close, it is the psalmist’s nearness to God (v. 18b) that gives him cause for hope even in the face of impending threats. You know when I leave and when I get back; your reassuring presence, coming and going. 139 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. Psalm 139 is composed of 24 verses and the first verse reads as follow: “O LORD, You have searched me and known me.” Sounds like a simple statement about God’s concern toward us, right? 23-24 Investigate my life, O God,    find out everything about me;Cross-examine and test me,    get a clear picture of what I’m about;See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—    then guide me on the road to eternal life. Psalm 139:8 "If I ascend up into heaven, thou [art] there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou [art … In Psalm 139 the psalmist’s anxieties are due to the threat posed by the enemies mentioned in verses 19–22. high to get to the top! Let Tucker and Grant show you ways to walk in "the way everlasting" through their careful exegetical work of this psalm, and every psalm, covered in this volume. If I ascend up into heaven, you are there. 139 1-6 God, investigate my life;    get all the facts firsthand.I’m an open book to you;    even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.You know when I leave and when I get back;    I’m never out of your sight.You know everything I’m going to say    before I start the first sentence.I look behind me and you’re there,    then up ahead and you’re there, too—    your reassuring presence, coming and going.This is too much, too wonderful—    I can’t take it all in! “In Babylonian Aramaic, the term refers to a formless mass or an incomplete vessel. It has the characteristics of both the didactic psalm and the wisdom psalm. Thereis no need to make a case for why Psalm 139 should be studied in detail. Know. Psalm 139 The Message Bible << Psalm 138 | Psalm 139 | Psalm 140 >> God's Omnipresence and Omniscience. 1 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. He continues with a full-orbed look at that presence from birth. Tucker and Grant explain that in the Old Testament, “‘anxious thoughts’ can be the result of night visions (Job 4:13) or defamatory rhetoric (Job 20:2), as well as the fear of being mistreated by others (Ps 94:19). W. Dennis Tucker and Jamie A. And by beginning he really means beginning—as in the embryo stage! Tucker and Davis offer an overview of these four movements: In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham’s obedience by asking him to sacrifice Isaac, his only son. The darkness quickly ceases to be darkness because of the radiant light of God. “In Psalm 139:14 the psalmist describes his own creation using two words frequently employed in reference to God’s great acts in Israel’s history… Thus, the birth of a human is described in terms reminiscent of the birth of the nation, with both being awe inspiring” (921). The next two verses make this plain with the use of two merisms conveying both the vertical and horizontal of God’s presence. “The hymnic nature of the first eighteen verses seems to support the claims of Hermann Gunkel and Claus Westermann” (915). Rather than using more traditional creation language (bara’, “to create,” or ‘asah, “to make”), “the psalmist uses the verb qanah, which normally means ‘to acquire by purchase’ (cf. In this context, golem parallels “my frame” (‘otsem) in verse 15a, “with both terms referring to a human in its embryonic state. At the start, they offer a unifying thread that serves as an interpretive key: As in Psalm 138, the writer of Psalm 139 announces the threats that befall him and pleads for God’s action (Ps 139:19–22). Psalm 139 is a most beautiful sacred song, which brings our rapt attention to the hallowed essence of the child in utero, and of God's sovereign role in each little life. Get updates from Zondervan Academic directly in your inbox. Worship. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you. Psalm 121 encourages us i... Get expert commentary on biblical languages, fresh explorations in theology, hand-picked book excerpts, author videos, and info on limited-time sales. “Consequently, the enemies of God are the enemies of those who side with God (v. 22)” (924). But first – How well do you know God? I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. For that reason,it is one of the most beloved psalms in the psalter. The use of barah (“flee”) and the rhetorical questions are “meant to suggest the comprehensive and pervasive sense of God’s presence—it is coming at him all the time” (919). Understands that even God ’ s searching of the radiant light of God ’ s life is truly,... By expressing the infinite knowledge of God embryo stage of your sight? if I ascend into., it is one of the radiant light of God ’ s:! 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