In The Word Series: Psalms 139
This is the first of many posts with reflections on chapters, verses, and books of the Bible! I think it is important to not only read the word of God as often as possible, but also to reflect on it. For the past few years, I have been trying to make a habit of reading the Bible and writing down reflections, notes, and prayers everyday. Emphasis on trying…
When I was younger, I always assumed I had to read the Bible from cover to cover. So, every new year I’d start reading Genesis and very rarely get past Numbers. I’m not sure where I got this idea that I had to read it in order from Genesis to Revelations. But, there I was trying so hard to get past all the lineages and family trees listed in the Old Testament.
It wasn’t until I got this ridiculous thought out of my head that I actually started enjoying my time reading the Bible. I was so worried about knowing the timeline and history in the Bible, that I wasn't focusing on what was actually important- The verses God uses to communicate to us.
You know, those verses you get chills every time you read them. Or the one chapter that speaks to you so entirely that you cry. The ones you have memorized to help calm you down when you are overwhelmed. Those were the verses I was missing. I was missing the emotional and personal connection with reading the Bible because I was using it as a textbook.
So, in these series of posts, I am going to share what I learned from the passages I gravitate to the most. I’m going to share why certain parts of my Bible are highlighted, underlined, and bookmarked. Some people color coordinate their highlighters, have beautiful typography with hand drawn florals in the margins, or don’t mark up their Bible at all. I am the type of person that grabs the closest writing instrument and marks up the page to find my way back to those words. It’s not pretty, but it’s how I find what I’m looking for!
With that lengthy introduction, here is my reflection on one of my favorite chapters: Psalms 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, 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.
For me, Psalm 139 is all about how well God knows us. It’s about how we may not know ourselves, but God does completely. Verses 1-2 starts off with: “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.”
I turn to this verse probably once a week. No, I do not have it memorized. My memory is reserved for childhood song lyrics and random facts about movies! But seriously, I’ve tried so many times to memorize just one line in this chapter. Nothing. That’s why I read it so much!
Over the footnotes of this page, I have a hot pink sticky note with a list. This list has 4 very important points I look to when I am feeling anxious or out of sorts.
Thought of by God
This list serves as an abridged reminder of the crucial lessons in Psalms 139.
You Are Known
It’s quite comforting to read that you are known. Not just known, but known by the God who created you. He is totally and completely familiar with everything about you. God knows your every movement and every word you are going to speak before you have even thought it. He knows every fear, desire, dream, and worry in our hearts.
I struggle with the concept of God thinking about me. Anyone else? The God who created the universe thinks about you. He thinks about us, therefore knows us. It's still a foreign concept for me… maybe someday I will be able to read about Him knowing when I sit and when I rise and actually comprehend it. The God of the universe thinks about you. Let that sink in (if you can!).
God knows us… but also never leaves us. In verses 7-10 the focus is that we are never out of God’s sight. No matter how far into the darkness we go, God will go there with us. No matter how far away we feel from Him, He is there.
You know the saying “What would you do if you know you would not fail”? Well, what would you do if you knew God was going to be there with you through all of it? What would you attempt knowing God is right by your side?
I very often forget that God is on my side 24/7. Even though we can't see Him or many times hear Him, he is always there.
In verses 13-16, it’s all about how God thought about us even before He created us. It has the ever famous verse of I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My Biology teacher in 8th Grade quoted this verse multiple times. We studied evolution for 3 weeks. Yes, a Christian co-op for homeschoolers taught evolution! Crazy, right?
Well, the reason he taught us about evolution, was so that when we had to learn about it in college it wouldn’t be completely foreign to us. He wanted us to be equipped to defend our beliefs and be confident in them.
We started asking him hard questions as if we were experts in evolution. If he didn't have an explanation, his answer was always “because God made it that way”. He told us he wanted us to be able to defend our faith and understand the other side. But, I think his ultimate goal was for us to understand that it’s okay to not have every answer. We don't know every aspect of our creation, but we know we were created. And that’s what really matters.
Oh, and I did find a great way to not get caught up on all those names listed in the Old Testament. Are you ready?
Alternate from reading a book in the Old Testament to one in the New Testament. For every lengthy boring book, read a fun and exciting one!
Umm…. this might sound terrible, but just skip over all the names! You don't necessarily need to know every person’s name in the Bible. If you ever want to know who is related to who, ask your Pastor (or Siri).