Psalm 139:6

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. I cannot grasp it. I can hardly endure to think of it. The theme overwhelms me. I am amazed and astounded at it. Such knowledge not only surpasses my comprehension, but even my imagination.

It is high, I cannot attain unto it. Mount as I may, this truth is too lofty for my mind. It seems to be always above me, even when I soar into the loftiest regions of spiritual thought. Is it not so with every attribute of God? Can we attain to any idea of his power, his wisdom, his holiness? Our mind has no line with which to measure the Infinite. Do we therefore question? Say, rather, that we therefore believe and adore. We are not surprised that the Most Glorious God should in his knowledge be high above all the knowledge to which we can attain: it must of necessity be so, since we are such poor limited beings; and when we stand a tip toe we cannot reach to the lowest step of the throne of the Eternal.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, etc. When we are about to look upon God's perfections, we should observe our own imperfections, and thereby learn to be the more modest in our searching of God's unsearchable perfection: Such knowledge, saith David, is too high for me, I cannot attain unto it. Then do we see most of God, when we see him incomprehensible, and do see ourselves swallowed up in the thoughts of his perfection, and are forced to fall in admiration of God, as here. "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it." -- David Dickson.

Verse 6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. Compared with our stinted knowledge, how amazing is the knowledge of God! As he made all things, he must be intimately acquainted, not only with their properties, but with their very essence. His eye, at the same instant, surveys all the works of his immeasurable creation. He observes, not only the complicated system of the universe, but the slightest motion of the most microscopic insect; -- not only the most sublime conception of angels, but the meanest propensity of the most worthless of his creatures. At this moment he is listening to the praises breathed by grateful hearts in distant worlds, and reading every grovelling thought which passes though the polluted minds of the fallen race of Adam ... At one view, he surveys the past, the present, and the future. No inattention prevents him from observing; no defect of memory or of judgment obscures his comprehension. In his remembrance are stored not only the transactions of this world, but of all the worlds in the universe; -- not only the events of the six thousand years which have passed since the earth was created, but of a duration without beginning. Nay, things to come extending to a duration without end, are also before him. An eternity past and an eternity to come are, at the same moment, in his eye; and with that eternal eye he surveys infinity. How amazing! How inconceivable! -- Henry Duncan (1774-1846), in "Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons."

Verse 6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. There is a mystery about the Divine Omnipresence, which we do not learn to solve, after years of meditation. As God is a simple spirit, without dimensions, parts, or susceptibility of division, he is equally, that is, fully, present at all times in all places. At any given moment he is not present partly here and partly in the utmost skirt of the furthest system which revolves about the dimmest telescopic star, as if like a galaxy of perfection he stretched a sublime magnificence through universal space, which admitted of separation and partition; but he is present, with the totality of his glorious properties in every point of space. This results undeniably from the simple spirituality of the Great Supreme. All that God is in one place he is in all places. All there is of God is in every place. Indeed, his presence has no dependence on space or matter. His attribute of essential presence were the same if universal matter were blotted out. Only by a figure can God be said to be in the universe; for the universe is comprehended by him. All the boundless glory of the Godhead is essentially present at every spot in his creation, however various may be the manifestations of this glory at different times and places.

Here we have a case which ought to instruct and sober those, who, in their shallow philosophy, demand a religion without mystery. It would be a religion without God; for "who by searching can find out God?" --James W. Alexander, in "The (American) National Preacher", 1860.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 6.

  1. God imperfectly known to man.
  2. Man perfectly known to God. It has been said that wise men never wonder; to us it appears they are always wondering.

--G.R.

Verse 6. Theme: the facts of our religion, too wonderful to understand, are just those in which we have most reason to rejoice.

  1. Prove it.

    1. The incomprehensible attributes of God give unspeakable value to his promises.
    2. The Incarnation is at once the most complete and most endearing manifestation of God we possess, yet it is the most inexplicable.
    3. Redemption by the death of Christ is the highest guarantee of salvation we can conceive; but who can explain it?
    4. Inspiration makes the Bible the word of God, though none can give an account of its mode of operation in the minds of those "moved by the Holy Ghost."
    5. The resurrection of the body, and its glorification, satisfy the deepest yearning of our soul ( Romans 8:23 2 Corinthians 5:2-4 ); but none can conceive the how.
  2. Apply its lessons.

    1. Let us not stumble at doctrines simply because they are mysterious.
    2. Let us be thankful God has not kept back the great mysteries of our religion simply because there would be some offended at them.
    3. Let us readily receive all the joy which the mysteries bring, and calmly wait the light of heaven to make them better understood.

--J.F.