Posted by: davidlarkin | June 16, 2017

God Knows Everything – Psalm 139

Old Man Praying” Rembrandt 1661.

In Psalm 139, a psalm of David, David speaks to God in prayer, acknowledging God’s omniscience.  “Omniscience” is an attribute of God which means He has complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things, both in the past and in the future.  Here in Psalm 139, David marvels that God knows David’s own thoughts, and every part of his physical being, which was made by God as God determined:

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. v. 1-2

For you formed my inward parts;
     you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;  v. 13-14

And God’s foreknowledge of David’s days on earth:

Even before a word is on my tongue,
     behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. v. 4

And in verses 17-18, David’s realization that the “thoughts of God” are “more than the sand,” a Biblical image for the infinite.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
     How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
     I awake, and I am still with you.

Here are the words of David, the King of Israel, and warlord, the former shepherd and King Saul’s court musician, from Psalm 139, verses 1 through 18. I picture David as Rembrandt’s old man above praying his Psalm in seclusion.

Psalm 139:1-18 (ESV)

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

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.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
     Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
     If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
     and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
     and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
     and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
     the night is bright as the day,
     for darkness is as light with you.

For you formed my inward parts;
     you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
     my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
     intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
     the days that were formed for me,
     when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
     How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
     I awake, and I am still with you.

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