Search Me, O God

by Jerry Senn

1 "O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me;
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?"
— Psalm 139:1-7

The psalmist here seems clearly overwhelmed with thoughts of God’s searching eye and constant awareness of his deepest thoughts and aspirations. His watchful care of each human life isn’t like a scanner that picks up vibrations or records mere data. As Derek Kidner writes: “It is personal and active: discerning us (2b); sifting us (3a) . . . ; knowing our minds more closely (‘altogether’) than we know them ourselves (2b, 4; cf Amos 4:13); surrounding us…, handling us (5).”

Maybe this is why his reaction to these wonders of God’s knowledge is “how could I possibly escape this” (v 7). “Admittedly the talk of flight may be a purely literary device to dramatize the fact of God’s [vagueness]; but there seems to be at least an ambivalent attitude to him here, like that of a child running from a parent.” (DK).

It may be a purely human reaction that resists submitting to another merely because we all desire freedom and independence. However, submission is a choice we each possess, and the more we know about the love of our Father, the more we’re blessed to trust His intentions actions on our behalf.

Listen to David’s ending of this great psalm:

22 "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts.
23 And see if there be any grievous [wicked] way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
— Psalm 139:23, 24

Welcome God’s ability to know and to guide our wayward spirits!!!