Lent Devotional: Psalm 139
by Jonathan Haefs
Psalm 139 (click here)
O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139:1-6)
Often, as I read through Scripture, I find myself asking if I really believe what I’m reading. If I did…it should change me more than it seems to. I mean…do I really believe the Lord sees all I do? That he searches me and knows me better than I know myself?
Do I really believe he knows my thoughts and words before they are formed. How does such knowledge not reduce me to a shaking leaf, exposed before the holy one in all my un-holiness?
I think the Psalmist answers my question in verse 6, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.”
It’s not that I don’t believe these things are true, they are just such lofty truths my brain cannot possibly hold on to every aspect at once. I can’t wrap my mind around something so fathomless…something so far outside my own experience.
I cannot fully grasp the vastness of God. No one can, but God himself.
So what should be the effect of such unattainable truth in my life? Why does the Psalmist spend so much time pondering things he can never fully grasp? One word…worship.
The Psalmist stands before the vastness of God much in the way you stand before the ocean, the grand canyon, or the night sky…simply in awe of the vastness you cannot even grasp no matter how long you gaze.
The Psalmist wants a glimpse of God…and even a glimpse is beyond anything he can handle. Is God this big to us? Is he this beyond us? Is he this worthy of our worship? If he’s not…then are we even attempting to look at him?…or have we satisfied our spiritual curiosity with a vision of something much smaller than the real thing…an idol?
True worship of the true God should always leave our hearts beating with the same awe-filled words… “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.”
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.