Knowing the God Who Knows You
A study of Psalm 139
Have you ever asked yourself how many times you are photographed in a day? When you walk into the bank or return your cart to the corral in the parking lot, somewhere there is a camera marking your every move. Our world is full of blue lights on street corners and whirring cameras mounted on walls. Yet David tells us here in Psalm 139 that at every moment of the day, we are under a much higher scrutiny. He reveals that the secret to understanding ourselves is to know the God who knows us. We shouldn't be surprised.
God knows us inside and out.
The Psalmist begins by acknowledging that God knows us better than we know ourselves. He is aware of every action and anticipates our innermost thoughts. What is more, David describes this as an active, rather than a passive, knowledge.
Verse 1 begins: "O Lord, you have searched me and you know me." I think it's important to note that David isn't addressing us. He is addressing God. This is David's way of saying that he knows that God knows him. As David continues, he describes the extent of God's knowledge. He points out that God's knowledge of him is expansive. David pictures God watching from a distance: "You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways." Is it possible that in this age of security cameras and satellite images, the wonder of this truth is lost on us? To be honest, I think we are so used to being under surveillance that we hardly notice anymore.
But the knowledge God has of us is not only expansive, it is also deeply personal. David describes God as seeing us from afar, but that doesn't mean that he thinks that God is far off. This God who knows us knows ...
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John Koessler is professor and chair of the Pastoral Studies Department at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois.