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  • Chad Werkhoven

Psalm 139:1-12 - Wonderful Lofitness

You can't fully understand God's wisdom, but He does expect you to imitate it.



Psalm 139:1–12 (NIV)

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.


1 You have searched me, Lord,

and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue

you, Lord, know it completely.

5 You hem me in behind and before,

and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.


Listen to passage & devotional:


 

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 1


We all believe in our hearts

and confess with our mouths

that there is a single

and simple spiritual being,

whom we call God—


eternal,

incomprehensible,

invisible,

unchangeable,

infinite,

almighty;


completely wise,

just,

and good,

and the overflowing source of all good.

 

Summary

King David, more so than any other person in history, had an awesome ability to communicate deeply profound theology with beautifully accessible poetry so that the rest of us could know God as well. In this familiar Psalm, David keys in on God's omniscience, that is, His knowledge of all things, and His omnipresence, which is God's unique ability to be in all places at all times.


The volume of information that God knows is staggering as a whole; He understands the intricate complexities of the smallest microscopic organism to the forces holding galaxies together, as well as every detail of everything in between. Yet David doesn't approach God's omniscience on this transcendent scale. Instead, he showcases God's immanence - the intimate relationship and knowledge God has of each us.


Not only does God know every detail of the universe, He knows the seemingly meaningless things about you: when you sit and rise, what you're thinking, where you'll go today, and even the very next word you'll speak. "Such knowledge," David appropriately concludes, "is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."


Not only does God know exactly where you'll go and what you'll do when you get there, but wherever 'there' is, you can be certain that God's will be present as well, whether that be the heavens, the depths, or the other side of the chaotic sea, "even there God's hand will guide you, His right hand will hold you fast."



Dig Deeper


These last few months I've gotten quite familiar with AI tools like ChatGPT. What an amazing thing, to be able to harness nearly every bit of recorded knowledge and report it on demand in seconds. Yet as impressive as it is, it's nowhere close to having the omniscient knowledge God has.


For one thing, ChatGPT is often incorrect (what's scarier is that it's not just mistaken at times, it's confidently wrong). All it knows is what it's been told. It has no idea what will happen in the future, and no way of morally discerning right from wrong. Even though it can report millions of historical facts, it really doesn't know the individuals recorded in history. Not the way David describes God knowing us, at least.


You may have noticed that our confession doesn't use words like omnisciecent or omnipresent, even though it communicates those ideas. Rather it simply says that God is "completely wise, [and] just."


It's this wisdom that ChatGPT and the world in general miss out on. Here's how theologian John Frame puts it:

God has not only knowledge but also wisdom. Wisdom is a heightened form of knowledge that understands the deep significance of something and its practical relevance (Pss. 104:24; 136:5; Rom. 11:33). Wisdom is knowledge in depth, knowledge going to work. Sometimes in Scripture wisdom can be translated “skill.”

This is the wisdom that "searches you" and "hems you in" as it "guides you." This is the wisdom that, as one created in God's image, you must seek to reflect in the way you live.



  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who knows all things and is present in all places, overseeing all things in His perfect wisdom;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that your wisdom would reflect the one who created you;

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Mark 8

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