Psalm 139

Read: Psalm 139:1 – 8; Hebrews 4:12 – 13

Psalm 139 captures the overwhelming sense of awe produced by pondering God’s total control over human affairs.  There is no escape from the eternal scheme, yet the person of faith follows the path laid out by God willingly, aware that it leads to everlasting glory.  Some of the ancient rabbis were of the opinion this Psalm was the most excellent of all the psalms of David.

Think About It:  What does God know about me, according to Psalm 139:1 – 8? What are the implications of this knowledge in the light of Hebrews 4:12 – 13?

Prayer: Praise God for His deep knowledge of me.


Read: Psalm 139:5 – 12; John 3:19; Isaiah 9:1 – 2

The psalmist David realized that God’s omniscience and omnipresence mean there is nowhere to hide.  He said, “You hem me in.” The Hebrew word translated “to hem” indicates confining, binding, and besieging, suggesting that as he first thought about God’s complete knowledge of his life, he was not entirely comfortable with the idea.

Think About It:  Why do people try to hide from God? How do people try to hide from God? Have I ever tried any of these fruitless methods of dealing with God? How should I deal with God’s complete knowledge of me (John 11:10; Ephesians 5:8; 1 John 1:7)? What does it mean to “walk in the light?”

Prayer:  For wisdom and strength to walk in the light.


Read: Psalm 139:6, 10; Psalm 23:4; Jonah 2:1 – 2

Although being “hemmed in” was not a comfortable thought for David, he immediately wrote of the positive aspects of God’s omniscience and omnipresence. David realized God’s constant scrutiny was evidence of His providential love and care. In Psalm 139:6 David said such knowledge was too wonderful for him. The Hebrew word translated “wonderful” means that which is a marvelous, positive mystery.  David said that no matter how high or how low he was, and no matter how far away, God’s hand was there to guide him and hold him.

Think About It: What wonderful things do God’s omnipresence and omniscience mean to me? How do Psalm 23:4 and Jonah 2:1 – 2 relate to God’s omnipresence?  When and how have I experienced God’s hand guiding me and holding onto me?

Prayer: Praise God for His guidance and support.


Read: Psalm 139:13 – 15; Deuteronomy 32:6; Job 10:11; Psalm 119:73.

David expressed awareness that God’s omniscience and omnipresence extended to the origins of his existence in Psalm 119:13 – 15.  David realized that he was not created by accident, that God had His hand in the miracle of his conception and development within the womb.

Think About It: What are the implications for me of the truth that God formed me in the womb? How do Jeremiah 31:3 and Isaiah 43:4 relate to the idea of God being involved in my origins?  What about my “natural” tendency to sin — should I glory in that also (Philippians 3:19)?

Prayer: Praise God for His providential care for me, which began when I was in the womb.


Read: Psalm 139:16; Job 14:5; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 9:27

David expressed awareness in Psalm 139:16 that God’s omniscience and omnipresence meant that He had set his destiny from the beginning, that God had a definite plan for his life.

Think About It:  Rabbi Yehuda ascribed the authorship of Psalm 139 to Adam, saying that in Adam God laid down the outline of all human history, and the destiny of his descendants. Can Psalm 139 be applied to the whole human race?  What does Psalm 139:16 mean for me personally?

Prayer:  Lord, help me to know and follow Your plan for my life.


Read: Psalm 139:19 – 22; Psalm 26:5; Psalm 119:158; Ephesians 5:11

David felt a close identification with God once he understood how God knew all about him, had formed him, and had a plan for his life.  Being closely identified with God, David hated evil and those who hated God.

Think About It: Why did God create the emotion of hatred? How should I regard the faithless and those who hate God? Who are God’s enemies? Can “hatred of those who hate God” be reconciled with Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:43 – 44)? How can “hatred of those who hate God” be righteously expressed?

Prayer:  Lord, may I always be found on Your side, in opposition to evil.


Read: Psalm 139:23 – 24; Psalm 143:10; Jeremiah 6:16

David closed Psalm 139 with complete and willing submission to God’s omniscience and omnipresence.

Think About It:  What would be an example of a “wicked” or “hurtful” way that I would need God’s help in finding out in me?  What is the “way everlasting” in which I should pray God to lead me? How, and when, might I use Psalm 139:23 – 24 in my prayer life?

Prayer:  Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!