Pslams at Coffee break 21
Psalm 139 If you think the Old Testament speaks of a strange and remote God then read this Psalm. It shows how personal God is to us.
Of course, there is truth in saying that God is completely above and beyond human understanding but that does not prevent Him from being closely engaged with our lives.
You know when I sit and when I rise; You are familiar with all my ways. v2
This is quite astounding to contemplate - today we would say “It blows my mind”. The Psalmist is in awe. He then proceeds to show that we cannot be hidden, or hide ourselves from God, whether ‘up in the heavens’, ‘in the depths’, or in any darkness. Because God knows us from before our birth and knows how wonderfully we are created and constructed.
Now this is where there will be a different reaction in people, for those out of harmony with God it may be a source of resentment, as if we were under some sort of cosmic microscope. But if we have yielded our lives to God such knowledge is precious; and a wonderful source of comfort and assurance.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them. v17
We are not neglected strangers in the world, we are known and loved and we have in the Son of God Someone who also was tested and tempted (Hebrews 4 : 15). Therefore now that we have the fuller picture given by the New Testament we can go even further than this Psalm and say that God’s knowledge is certainly not just theoretical, He has ‘walked the walk’ with us.
Then we notice that this is a Psalm ‘of two halves’. The mood changes at verse 19, and seems to become vindictive. But there is a world of difference between personal hatred for someone who has hurt or thwarted me and hatred of evil as such. Because the writer, in this very personal Psalm, has come very close to God he sees, and rejects, evil all the more keenly. Not always a distinction that Christians make.
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you ? v21
This sense of the righteousness and holiness of God is a long way from the glib ‘Oh my God’ that seems to serve as a newly discovered punctuation mark nowadays.