Psalm 139: Praise to Our God

Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
  and you know me.
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.
Before a word is on my tongue
  you, Lord, know it completely.
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.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
  Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
  if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
  if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 even there your hand will guide me,
  your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
  and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
  the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
  you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
  your works are wonderful,
  I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
  when I was made in the secret place,
  when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
  all the days ordained for me were written in your book
  before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, a God!
  How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
  they would outnumber the grains of sand —
  when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
  Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! 
They speak of you with evil intent;
  your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
  and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
  I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
  test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
  and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139
King David recognized that the days of his life were written in God’s book before he was even born. He acknowledged that God knows everything, is everywhere, and is the Creator and Author of all life.

Each of us exited the womb uniquely equipped. David states it this way: “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:15–16).

David emphasizes the pronoun “you” as if to say “you, God, and you alone.” “Made in . . . secret” suggests a hidden and safe place, concealed from intruders and evil. Just as an artist takes a canvas into a locked studio, so God took you into his hidden chamber where you were “woven together.” Moses used the same word to describe the needlework of the tabernacle’s inner curtains—stitched together by skillful hands for the highest purpose (see Exodus 26:1; 36:8; 38:9). The Master Weaver selected your temperament threads, your character texture, the yarn of your personality—all before you were born. God did not drop you into the world utterly defenseless and empty-handed. You arrived fully equipped.

“The days ordained . . .” Day of birth and day of death. Days of difficulty and victory. What motivates you, what exhausts you? God authored—and authors—it all.

You Are Uniquely Created by God

My hands have never embroidered a stitch, but my mom’s have. In pre-dishwasher days when mothers drafted young sons into kitchen duty to dry dishes, I grew too acquainted with her set of embroidered dishtowels. She had embellished sturdy white cloths with colorful threads: seven towels, each bearing the name of a different day. Her artisan skills rendered common towels uncommonly unique.

God did the same with you!

You are more than statistical chance, more than a marriage of heredity and society, more than a confluence of inherited chromosomes and childhood trauma. More than a walking weathervane whipped about by the cold winds of fate. Thanks to God, you have been “sculpted from nothing into something” (verse 15 MSG).

In the scheme of nature, homo sapiens are not unique. We aren’t the only creatures with flesh and hair and blood and hearts. What makes us special is not our bodies but the signature of God on our lives. We are his works of art. We are created in his image to do good deeds. We are significant, not because of what we do, but because of whose we are.

Praise Him

What is your life story to this point? Consider writing a psalm acknowledging the Creator and Author of your life and how he has shaped and guided you. Thank him for designing you in a unique fashion.

Article from study content by Max Lucado from the Lucado Encouraging Word Bible, NIV Edition.

The Lucado Encouraging Word Bible, NIV Edition

The Lucado Encouraging Word Bible, NIV Edition offers encouragement in God’s Word with a masterful collection of Max Lucado’s encouraging words curated from his more than forty years of sermons, books, and articles interspersed in Scripture. Learn More >

Sign-up to receive new articles each week by email >

Back to the NIV Main Blog Page