Psalms 139

1 O LORD, you have examined me, and you know me.
2 You alone know when I sit down and when I get up. You read my thoughts from far away.
3 You watch me when I travel and when I rest. You are familiar with all my ways.
4 Even before there is a [single] word on my tongue, you know all about it, LORD.
5 You are all around me--in front of me and in back of me. You lay your hand on me.
6 Such knowledge is beyond my grasp. It is so high I cannot reach it.
7 Where can I go [to get away] from your Spirit? Where can I run [to get away] from you?
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in hell, you are there.
9 If I climb upward on the rays of the morning sun [or] land on the most distant shore of the sea where the sun sets,
10 even there your hand would guide me and your right hand would hold on to me.
11 If I say, "Let the darkness hide me and let the light around me turn into night,"
12 even the darkness is not too dark for you. Night is as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same [to you].
13 You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother.
14 I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.
15 My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop.
16 Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus. Every day [of my life] was recorded in your book before one of them had taken place.
17 How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God! How vast in number they are!
18 If I try to count them, there would be more of them than there are grains of sand. When I wake up, I am still with you.
19 I wish that you would kill wicked people, O God, and that bloodthirsty people would leave me alone.
20 They say wicked things about you. Your enemies misuse your name.
21 Shouldn't I hate those who hate you, O LORD? Shouldn't I be disgusted with those who attack you?
22 I hate them with all my heart. They have become my enemies.
23 Examine me, O God, and know my mind. Test me, and know my thoughts.
24 See whether I am on an evil path. Then lead me on the everlasting path.

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Psalms 139 Commentary

Chapter 139

God knows all things. (1-6) He is every where present. (7-16) The psalmist's hatred to sin, and desire to be led aright. (17-24)

Verses 1-6 God has perfect knowledge of us, and all our thoughts and actions are open before him. It is more profitable to meditate on Divine truths, applying them to our own cases, and with hearts lifted to God in prayer, than with a curious or disputing frame of mind. That God knows all things, is omniscient; that he is every where, is omnipresent; are truths acknowledged by all, yet they are seldom rightly believed in by mankind. God takes strict notice of every step we take, every right step and every by step. He knows what rule we walk by, what end we walk toward, what company we walk with. When I am withdrawn from all company, thou knowest what I have in my heart. There is not a vain word, not a good word, but thou knowest from what thought it came, and with what design it was uttered. Wherever we are, we are under the eye and hand of God. We cannot by searching find how God searches us out; nor do we know how we are known. Such thoughts should restrain us from sin.

Verses 7-16 We cannot see God, but he can see us. The psalmist did not desire to go from the Lord. Whither can I go? In the most distant corners of the world, in heaven, or in hell, I cannot go out of thy reach. No veil can hide us from God; not the thickest darkness. No disguise can save any person or action from being seen in the true light by him. Secret haunts of sin are as open before God as the most open villanies. On the other hand, the believer cannot be removed from the supporting, comforting presence of his Almighty Friend. Should the persecutor take his life, his soul will the sooner ascend to heaven. The grave cannot separate his body from the love of his Saviour, who will raise it a glorious body. No outward circumstances can separate him from his Lord. While in the path of duty, he may be happy in any situation, by the exercise of faith, hope, and prayer.

Verses 17-24 God's counsels concerning us and our welfare are deep, such as cannot be known. We cannot think how many mercies we have received from him. It would help to keep us in the fear of the Lord all the day long, if, when we wake in the morning, our first thoughts were of him: and how shall we admire and bless our God for his precious salvation, when we awake in the world of glory! Surely we ought not to use our members and senses, which are so curiously fashioned, as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. But our immortal and rational souls are a still more noble work and gift of God. Yet if it were not for his precious thoughts of love to us, our reason and our living for ever would, through our sins, prove the occasion of our eternal misery. How should we then delight to meditate on God's love to sinners in Jesus Christ, the sum of which exceeds all reckoning! Sin is hated, and sinners lamented, by all who fear the Lord. Yet while we shun them we should pray for them; with God their conversion and salvation are possible. As the Lord knows us thoroughly, and we are strangers to ourselves, we should earnestly desire and pray to be searched and proved by his word and Spirit. if there be any wicked way in me, let me see it; and do thou root it out of me. The way of godliness is pleasing to God, and profitable to us; and will end in everlasting life. It is the good old way. All the saints desire to be kept and led in this way, that they may not miss it, turn out of it, or tire in it.

Chapter Summary

Psalms 139 Commentaries

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