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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

God’s Unfathomable Love in Psalm 139 (This Psalm is Balm!)

Okay, I know I am posting a lot lately. I have been very contemplative lately with so much on my heart.

I just got back from a women’s Bible study where we are going through the book of Psalms. My friend, Joanne, is leading the group. Joanne has such a heart that is vulnerable, humble, real and gracious and that desires to know and be known in true Biblical community that honors and reflects the gospel of God. She always challenges me in ways that cause me to grow where the rubber meets the road in my life. The Psalm we studied today was just like a much needed balm to me soothing the raw wounds of life. I have pasted it below. Read it.

Joanne had researched some commentaries and pointed out that this Psalm is broken into five major sections: Verses 1-6 are about being seen by God; Verses 7-12 are about being pursued by God; Verses 13-16 are about being fashioned by God; Verses 17-18 are about David’s love for God’s thoughts; Verses 19-22 are about hating God’s enemies; and Verses 22-24 are an invitation to intimate relationship.

We read the whole Psalm together and began discussing the first section. We talked about our reactions to being seen by God. The NASB translates the ESV phrase “search out” in verse 3 as “scrutinize”. Many of us were uncomfortable with the word scrutinize because it often has a critical and negative connotation in our culture. This led us to consider: what is God’s heart in this kind of knowledge of us?

Yes, He looks us on us just as we are. Nothing about us is hidden to Him. He knows us every detail of our past, present, and future. Not only does He see our actions, but He sees our hearts. He knows our deepest thoughts and motives. He knows our conscious thoughts and our subconscious thoughts, and He knows what we are going to think and say before we do. His knowledge of us is unfathomable to us—it is too wonderful for us. This knowledge is humbling to me, because I know that God knows the ugliest parts of my heart that I try to hide from others and even from myself.

Yet, He looks on me with pure, unadulterated, unconditional love. Because of Jesus, there is no condemnation for me! Jesus absorbed the Father’s wrath for my sin, and now there is only love left for me. As the rest of Psalm 139 tells me—He pursues me! He wants me! He protects me! Because I have been bought with the blood of Jesus and He is Lord of my life, the Father looks at me with love and acceptance--not because of my own righteousness, but because of Jesus’ righteousness.

Are you feeling alone? Are you feeling discouraged by your circumstances? Are you feeling ugly in your soul? I am struggling with all of these things. Yet, as the women in our group discussed today, Psalm 139 truly makes me feel loved, humbled, blessed, safe, at peace, and in wonder at the greatness of our God.

Thank you, Lord!

Psalm 139

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

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

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morningand dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,10 even there your hand shall lead me,and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,and the light about me be night,”12 even the darkness is not dark to you;the night is bright as the day,for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 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.

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

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!20 They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 22 I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting!


Heather said...

Thanks for sharing Bina - I was bummed that I missed yesterday's group, but thanks to your post I feel a little more connected!

Abbey said...

"Because of Jesus, there is no condemnation for me!" Amen! Our hope, our joy, our ability to even approach the throne... Well said.