Psalm 139 is an excellent psalm for singing or praying. The first eighteen verses read like a confession of faith beginning with the first verse, “O Lord, you have searched me and know me.” J.C McCann Jr (New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 4) suggests that the root word in the psalm is “know” and runs through verses 1,2,4,6,14, and 23. God’s knowing runs through verses 1-18 and forms the basis of verses 19-24. The writer of the Psalm 139 knows that God knows him completely and knows his enemies and is ever present to the petitioner as well as his enemies.
In verses 7-12 the writer articulates that the petitioner cannot escape the presence of God. God is present in heaven above and in Sheol, the place of the dead, and even in “the farthest limits of the sea.” This is a remarkable observation because most of the psalms portray Sheol as a place absence of diving presence. These verses also suggest that even though the petitioner is surrounded by darkness, God will see and be present to him. The writer is telling his readers that God sees all, even light in the midst darkness. The psalmist is proclaiming that God is the judge of all the earth, God sees all.
In verses 13-18 the writer affirms that God is ever present. The psalmist also affirms that God was present at the beginning of the petitioner’s life. God created this worshiper and from the beginning formed all the parts of the human body, so from the beginning God has known the petitioner who is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The petitioner life is written in the book of life, and every day the petitioner finds significance in living the ways of God. The psalmist informs his readers that God is transcendent and yet still very present. He goes on to say that God is beyond comprehension. However, the psalmist portrays a divine engagement with this person of faith and of the divine ways in the world.
In verses 19-24. The psalm begins with a decisive plea for God to act in a certain way. God! Defeat the enemies and remove their injustice from the petitioner‘s world. They seek the lives of the faithful and live lives that speak maliciously of God and are characterized as “bloodthirsty.” Perhaps they speak maliciously of the petitioner and make false accusations about him. The petitioner takes his claim about his enemies to an outrageous height of hating his enemies with “perfect hate.” Perhaps “perfect” carries a sense of full or complete hatred. The psalm ends as it began that this one will be seen by God as faithful and is not among the evil ones who oppose God and will lead the faithful away from God. The petitioner without any uncertainty expresses God as the judge of the earth, and the earth in need of God’s just action. God is the judge of all the earth. Still, the petitioner begs God to “search me.”
What can we take away from this psalm as we continue to respond to God’s Son as his disciples? Remember, God know each of us; God pursues each of us; God created each of us; God has plans just for each of us.
Let me suggest that God doesn’t just set the plan in motion and look the other way. God’s thoughts are on each of us constantly. God greets each of us fresh every morning with mercy and new opportunities, ready to go through hours with each of us. God loves each of us and the church that together we have built. God gave each of us specific plans and individual tasks to fulfill. Can we understand then how God is for us, and not against us? And if there is nothing that can prevent us from completing what God started in each of us years ago; how can we fail now to redevelop Trinity Presbyterian Church and the continuation of the ministry of Jesus Christ in our community, state, country and world. Pray for what God has willed, is willing, and will continue willing! After all, with God what do we have to fear?