A Psalm for Your Calm: Psalm 139

A Psalm for Your Calm: Psalm 139

The isolation brought on by the strict quarantines our nation has enacted has disconnected many from the social life with which we are familiar. In many ways we are blessed to live in the day and time that we do; technology affords us opportunities to stay connected despite our lack of physical presence. Still, it’s easy to feel forgotten; to ask, “Is anyone thinking of me? Does anyone care?”

Into this loneliness, Psalm 139 reminds us of God’s intimate knowledge of us:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it. (1-6)

The Hebraic concept of “known” in v. 1 is much more intimate than our common understanding. Although it includes an extensive understanding of the particular habits which shape our life, it further speaks to the personal knowledge which God has of someone he loves. It’s the same language used when a husband and wife experience the intimacy of marriage and “know” each other (Gen. 4:1). That is, just as a husband and wife experience a shared knowledge of each other that others will never know, God knows you—his child—in a special and intimate way that is unknown to others.

This isn’t to say that you are the only one who realizes this relationship; rather, it means that your relationship with God, and his knowledge of you, is unique. He knows whether you’re a night owl or an early bird; he knows whether you eat Lucky Charms or oatmeal; he knows whether you prefer slippers or tennis shoes. He also knows what you fear and what stresses you out; he knows what keeps you up at night and what you rejoice in when you wake up. The reality of this knowledge shouldn’t frighten but comfort. Everyone else might forget me, but God won’t; everyone else might not care about what I do, but God does.

If we stopped to try and grasp the depth of God’s knowledge of the world and of us, we would be absolutely overwhelmed (v. 6). His knowledge is eternally exhaustive. In times of upheaval—like we are experiencing right now—this should bring us overwhelming peace. This virus didn’t take God by surprise—he knew it was coming and he knows when it will end. Yet, even more important is that, even if everyone else forgets you in the midst of this hectic upsetting of our society, our Lord never will. He knows you better than anyone could and loves you more than anyone can.