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  • Writer's pictureBrian Eaton

Our Vast and Intimate God (Psalm 139:4-5)


Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. ⁵You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. —Psalm 139:4-5

If you don’t believe in the sovereignty of God, what do you do with Psalm 139? It's poetic, it's beautiful, and it’s mind blowing. But is it true? If David somehow overinflated God's capabilities and capacities, then it could be neither beautiful nor mind-blowing, only fanciful at best, or evil.


I hope you do believe in the sovereignty of God, but before agreeing, consider what David is saying: namely, that God knows the words we speak before we speak them. If the average person speaks around 13,000 words a day, and you multiply that by the world’s 7.7 billion people, the result is staggering: 100,100,000,000,000 words.


God knows more than one hundred trillion words that will be spoken per day around the globe! "Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether."

This massive number that we cannot truly grasp, does not tap the capacity of God.


I don’t know of any studies on the average number of times a person sits down and rises up each day, but add that to what God knowsnot to mention that He discerns our thoughts from afar, knows all of our ways (and days), and has counted the very hairs on our head. Is it any wonder that David concludes, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6)?


To the one who says that there is no God (Psalm 14:1), such things are no wonder. It is no wonder that the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. If God doesn’t open their eyes to see Him for who He is, they will simply dismiss His capabilities as foolishness.


At the Feast of Dedication, the Jews gathered around Jesus and said, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly” (John 10:24). Jesus answered, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish,” (John 10:27-28a, emphasis added). Psalm 139 shows us the depth at which Jesus knows us.


Be amazed with me at the vastness and immeasurability of God. Be amazed that Jesus intimately knows each soul. And consider that even though He knows our words, our thoughts, and our actions, He loves us anyway. Amazing! On my best days, I wouldn’t want many of my 13,000 words—let alone my thoughts—to be publicly replayed. Thanks be to God that He “...shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).


Surely “such knowledge is too wonderful” for us to grasp! Believer, God has you. He is protecting you. He is “hemming in” your soul. He is laying His good and precious hands on you. Praise be to God and to His glorious Son, Jesus Christ.


If you have yet to embrace Jesus’ work on the cross for you, may God open your eyes through His Word and give you faith. He is more than you can imagine!

 

For Reflection

  1. What are some implications of this passage? Have you taken time to grasp them?  Set aside five minutes (or a whole day) to think about and consider each life-changing one.

  2. How are you sobered by the reality that God knows all of your words, thoughts, and actions?

  3. If our salvation relied on our abilities, how could we stand? Meditate on the preciousness of the gospel.

 

Brian Eaton is director of operations for Truth78. He enjoys teaching children and youth in the classroom and he seeks to encourage Bible memorization through the Fighter Verses Program.

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