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Psalm 139 - Search Me O God

INTRODUCTION: This Psalm has some verses that are often quoted by those who draw great comfort from individual statements about God's intimate knowledge and love for those who love him. The praise to the LORD can become even more abundant if the entire Psalm is read with an attempt to place oneself personally into the sum of all thoughts expressed throughout the Psalm to gain a balanced view of the great mercy of the LORD.

NOTE: Scripture passages are from the King James 21st Century Bible.


Psalm 139 "1 [To the chief musician: A Psalm of David.] O LORD, Thou hast searched me and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, but lo, O LORD, Thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it."

COMMENTS: The LORD examines every minute detail of each person's life and nothing can be hidden from him. Job 31 "4 Doth not He see my ways, and count all my steps?" We must place our complete confidence in him if he is to guide us when we are being still or when we are engaged in activity. He knows where our thoughts will lead us before we act upon them. Therefore he knows the words we will speak before they are on our tongue. Even the smallest deviations from righteous living that we may conceal from the closest of any person to us, will always be seen within the depth of our heart by the LORD. Jeremiah 17 "7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be disquieted in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart; I try the inmost being, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."

he has the believer hemmed in on all sides and has laid his hand upon us for proper direction, or for correction when needed. All of this is far above our comprehension because these are attributes of the living God, and other passages both in the Old and in the New Testament affirm this fact. Isaiah 55 "8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." Romans 11 "33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor? 35 Or, who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever. Amen."


Psalm 139 "7 Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me," even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee, but the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee."

COMMENTS: The truth that there is no place where the presence of God cannot reach us can be a comfort to the believer who is bearing fruit before the LORD, but if also is a reminder not to be tempted to sin. If there would be some reason that we would want to flee from the presence of the LORD or hide ourselves from him, we should remember that is not possible. Proverbs 3 "11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD, neither be weary of His correction; 12 for whom the LORD loveth, He correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth." We can also be assured that those who reject the LORD will have no way of escape. Job 34 "21 For His eyes are upon the ways of man, and He seeth all his goings. 22 There is no darkness, nor shadow of death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves." The LORD sees all of the evil and all of the good. Proverbs 15 "3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."

When the period of the kings in Judah was drawing to an end, the LORD gave this word to his chosen prophet. Jeremiah 23 "23 "Am I a God at hand," saith the LORD, "and not a God afar off? 24 Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him?" saith the LORD. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" saith the LORD." The LORD certainly continues to know all things that take place in heaven and earth. Hebrews 4 "13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."

This can be a tremendous blessing available to us if we will turn to the LORD each day for the benefit of the words that follow verse 13. Hebrews 4 "14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed into the Heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our profession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."


Psalm 139 "13 For Thou hast possessed my inmost parts. Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. 14 I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from Thee when I was made in secret, and intricately wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuity were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them."

COMMENTS: Centuries before the Psalm was written, Job was aware that all people without exception are made by God and fashioned as individuals in the womb, as stated in a similar manner to that of verse 16 above. Job 31 "13 If I have despised the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant when they contended with me, 14 what then shall I do when God riseth up? And when He visiteth, what shall I answer Him? 15 Did not He that made me in the womb make him? And did not One fashion us in the womb?"

The LORD has also specifically appointed some for a special purpose such as Samson, and that was planned for him even before he was conceived in the womb. Judges 13 "2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and bore not. 3 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren and bearest not; but thou shalt conceive and bear a son. 4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing. 5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite unto God from the womb. And he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines."

Scripture records a very clear statement about the preordained purpose for one of the prophets of the LORD. Jeremiah 1 "4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a child. 7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child, for thou shalt go to all whom I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak."

As psalm 139 has an element of prophecy within some verses, Malachi by the Spirit saw the use of a book of remembrance. Malachi 3 "16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke often one to another, and the LORD hearkened and heard it. And a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared the LORD and who thought upon His name. 17 "And they shall be Mine," saith the LORD of hosts, "in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son who serveth him. 18 Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not."

The New Testament verifies the tremendous blessing that God has chosen each believer to be His adopted child by Jesus Christ, according to His will, even before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1 "3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ, even as 4 He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. 5 He hath predestined us to be His own adopted children by Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved."


Psalm 139 "17 How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with Thee. 19 Surely, Thou wilt slay the wicked, O God. Depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against Thee wickedly, and Thine enemies take Thy name in vain. 21 Do I not hate them, O LORD, that hate Thee? And am I not grieved with those that rise up against Thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them mine enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts. 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

COMMENTS: If the thoughts of the LORD are so precious to us that we value nothing higher, and they are infinitely past all possibility of numbering, then it should be little wonder that every day the believer should awake with some thoughts of the LORD and his Word. As the psalmist had reviewed in his mind that the LORD knows every detail of the life of every person, he considered how he should align his attitude with the LORD toward those who reject God. That is not a simple matter when other scriptures are considered together to try to understand the judgment and mercy of God. Psalm 7 "9 O let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just; for the righteous God trieth the hearts and souls. 10 My defense is of God, who saveth the upright in heart. 11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day."

But God also has great mercy and patient restraint. Exodus 34 "4 And he hewed two tablets of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning and went up unto Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tablets of stone. 5 And the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children unto the third and to the fourth generation."

So we need to ask wisdom of the LORD to properly take our position with him in these matters of being separate from those who reject the call of God. Jesus taught that we need to seek an unusual balance in our treatment of others even though this may seem illogical to those who cannot grasp the mercy and grace of the LORD. Matthew 5 "43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that ye may be the children of your Father who is in Heaven. For He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect."

David stated in the opening of the Psalm that the LORD searches every detail of our lives, and then he closed this Psalm by asking the LORD to search his own heart to purge any wicked way that might still be in him. His foremost desire was that the LORD would lead him along that narrow path to eternal life. Every believer must continually seek guidance from the LORD to stay on the heavenward path through all adversity and temptations. 1 Peter 5 "8 Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world. 10 But after ye have suffered a while, may the God of all grace, who hath called us into His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."


LORD, I thank you for revealing through your Word that everything about me is open and bare before your eyes. This is a very sobering thought to me for I know that I have often been far from the ways you desire for those who are called by your name. I cannot truly comprehend the way you know where I have been and where I will go in the future, but I accept that it is a small matter for you. You know even my innermost thoughts to the most minor detail with none of them hidden from you. If I might try to find some place away from your presence, it is a foolhardy attempt because there is no such place even though my imagination might try to convince me otherwise. By your Word, your complete knowledge of my life goes so far as to be true even before I was brought into existence through the reproductive line of all mankind that you established through Adam and Eve.

LORD, I am overwhelmed as I struggle to contemplate just how I should be opposed to those who reject you, especially as I consider that your grace was the only thing that separated me to have a place in your kingdom. Guide my thoughts and my actions so I will take a strong stand against those who bring reproach to your name, while being willing to be a light to your truth in whatever way you have planned for me. I want to be willing to submit to any needed redirection in my path of life because I want to be steadfast in my faith and I know that is only possible by your hand upon me. I agree with Peter that my desire is that the God of all grace, who hath called us into His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, will make me perfect, establish, strengthen, and settled. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Published 19 October 2014