Psalm 139:  Search Me

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139:23, 24


Lead Me


Psalm 139  David meditates on the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence of God.  He then applies these truths to the wicked, whom he calls on God to slay, and to himself, whom he calls on God to examine and to lead.

139:1-5 You have searched me:  God is active to search and test His servants.  He knows our motives, desires, and words before they are expressed.  In short, He knows His servants completely.  But as v. 5 makes it clear, the purpose of His intimate knowledge of His servants is protective and helpful, not judgmental and condemning.

1  For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3  You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4  For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 5  You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.

139:10-12 Your hand:  The wording of v. 10 seems protective, suggesting that the psalm speaks of God’s helpful presence.  Darkness:  Here David stretches his imagination to the brink.  Darkness refers to death or the “pit.” This is an expansion of the words of v. 8, “If I make my bed in hell.”  David suggests this as the one place in the universe where God would not be present.  But even though God is opposed to all darkness, God would turn the darkness into light in order to find his servant David.  As in 18:7-12, the Lord would overturn the structure of the universe to save the person who worshipped Him.

10  Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me11  If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; 12  Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

139:13-16 You formed my inward parts:  David affirms that the work of God in his life extended back to his development in his mother’s womb.  You covered me may also be translated as “You wove me together” (Ps. 8).  Skillfully wrought:  The development of the fetus was something quite mysterious to the ancients.  To them, it was as though the fetus were being developed in the middle of the earth.  The Hebrew word my substance indicates the embryo.  In Your book:  The idea is that the life of a person, and the structure and meaning of that person’s life, are all established from the beginning by God.

 13  For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

139:19 slay the wicked:  David desires a world in which there is no more evil, no more distraction, no more destruction.  The enemies of God are David’s own enemies because his life and thoughts are so closely tied to the Lord.

19  Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men   Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my thoughts; 24  And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

139:23, 24 Search me, O God:  These words are similar to those of 19:14.  David asks God to examine his thoughts and purge him of sin so that he might enter into everlasting life.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my thoughts; 24  And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.


** David understood God, being the true God, whose ways are perfect and way beyond our understanding.  God was never a mere abstract concept to David.  He knew and loved God.  So, he takes it personally when God is hated and insulted.  He wrote “I hate them with perfect hatred:  I count them mine enemies” like any good son would about those who hate and insult his father.  This psalm is his personal letter to God expressing his trust and deep love for Him.  I would love back such a person if I were God.

 

139 1  For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3  You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4  For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 5  You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. 7  Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9  If I take the wings of the morning, And 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 fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; 12  Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. 13  For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. 17  How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18  If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You. 19  Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men. 20  For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain. 21  Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? 22  I hate them with perfect 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 is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

 

 

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