This is from a sermon on repentance delivered by my husband and reprinted with his permission.
You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. Psalm 139:1
The 139th psalm is one of the best known parts of the Psalter. It is a psalm of thanks and praise to God and it contains memorable passages that lots of us carry around in our heads. The psalmist says, for example, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And indeed that is, as Luther would have put it, most certainly true. Our bodies are composed of billions of cells and trillions of molecules, they function so very perfectly that they must have been designed by One who is greater than any man or any creation of man. Our eyes blink so they can stay moist. Our brains take electricity and turn it into thoughts. Our teeth are designed for biting and chewing a wide variety of foods, unlike most animals. We are without any doubt fearfully and wonderfully made by One who saw us when we were intricately woven in our mother’s wombs.
But the phrase I want to focus on this morning is in the very first verse, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me.” Searched me and known me.
God has searched you out. He has not only made you, but He has paid attention to every detail of your life. He knows not only who you are, but He knows what you are. Jesus tells us God knows even the number of hairs on our heads. The psalmist goes through the many ways we might try to avoid the God who knows everything about us: if you go to sleep He knows not only that but what your dreams are; He knows all the words you will say when you speak next; His presence surrounds you. Not even in death can we escape Him—He is in heaven and, He is also in hell. There is nowhere that we can go that God is not present. He knows our movements and He knows our motives Death can’t hide us from God, distance can’t hide us from God, darkness cannot hide us from God. He is ever present and ever vigilant in the ways of His creation.
I rather think this is one of the reasons so many people want nothing to do with God—they can’t hide anything from Him so they think if they ignore Him, if they deny His existence, if they pretend they are without divine constraint, they can do whatever they want without impunity. I’ve told this story before so bear with me if you remember it. But I knew a fellow who was a member of the Frederick City police department. He told me that he noticed some teenagers sitting in front of a closed warehouse one day and went over to see what they were doing. They saw him coming and then wouldn’t look at him, as if their refusal to recognize him meant that he wasn’t really there. That is what unbelievers do with respect to God. As R. C. Sproul says, atheists aren’t people who don’t believe in God, they’re people who just don’t like Him.
But don’t we often behave as if God doesn’t see what we’re doing, hear what we’re saying, know what we’re thinking? We go right along in our lives sinning away thinking that God isn’t paying attention. We think we’re going to get away with something with God because the guy who lives next door or the spouse who sleeps next to you doesn’t know about it. Yet the psalmist here tells us that God has searched us and known us—and that means in every single moment of our lives, from conception to death.
to be continued ….