A Short Study of Psalm 139


Do you ever feel like hiding from God? Are there times when, because of sin in your life, or sin in the lives of those around you, you wish you could hide from God’s presence?

Are there times when you feel that God is not with you or that He doesn’t know what is going on in your life? Does it seem as though God is not aware of all the troubles you are facing?

And what about your thoughts and feelings? Does God know the troubles of your heart?

Consider the following psalm of David and the truths it reveals about God, His presence with you and how well he knows you and all you suffer. Consider also what He desires for you.

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. 7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. 13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. 17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. 19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Consider the following questions:

1. How well does God know you? See v. 1-5. Is there anything in your life which God does not know? What does the Bible say God knows about you?

2. Can we understand God’s knowledge of us and of all our thoughts and ways? See v. 6. Cf. Isaiah 55:8-9.

3. Is there anyplace we can flee to escape from God? See v. 7-12. Was Jonah able to escape from the presence of the Lord when he tried to get out of going to warn the people of Nineveh? See Jonah 1.

4. How is God’s omnipresence (being present everywhere) sometimes frightening to us? Cf. John 3:19-20. How is God’s presence with us everywhere comforting to us? Cf. Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 6:31-33.

5. Who formed us in the wombs of our mothers? See v. 13-16. How do these verses describe this? What do these verses say to abortion (in connection with Exodus 20:13)?

6. What kind of thoughts does God have toward us? See v. 17-18; cf. Ezekiel 33:11; John 3:16-18; 2 Peter 3:9; Ephesians 1:3-14. What does God desire for you?

7. How does God feel toward those who persist in their wicked and sinful ways? See v. 19-22. Can Christians love lost sinners and desire that they repent and believe in Jesus as their Savior and also have godly hate for those who continue on in impenitence and unbelief? Can their unbelief and impenitence grieve us? What do these verses say?

8. What does David pray that God would do in verses 23-24? Does David ask that God would reveal to him his sins that he might repent and look to God for mercy in Christ Jesus and then seek to amend his life?

9. How can David’s prayer in verses 23-24 be an example for us? Why is it important that God reveals to us our sinful and wicked ways? Read 1 John 1:7 – 2:2. What would God have us do in regard to our sins?

10. What is the way everlasting in verse 24? Cf. John 14:6; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; 1 John 5:11-12; Mark 16:15-16.

O omnipresent and omniscient God, thank You for creating me and giving me life, for being present with me and watching over me in every situation, for desiring and working for my eternal salvation through faith in Your Son and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world, for preserving me in the true faith by moving me to repent of my sins and looking to Jesus and His cross in faith for Your pardon and forgiveness. Graciously keep me in the way everlasting, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.