Message by: Pastor W. F. Kumuyi
The psalmist expresses the consciousness of God’s presence and omniscience in this passage. All believers ought to know that God watches our steps, words, ways, thoughts, plans and actions. No wonder the psalmist said, “Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways”. He, therefore, pleaded with God to search him to know his heart. Having been tried, pardoned and cleansed, He was certain that God would lead him “in the way [of] everlasting [life]”.
God is present everywhere: He sees and knows everything about everyone. Sinners are not conscious of His presence because they are dead in sins and trespasses. But when a sinner becomes born again, he receives eternal life that activates his spirit to be conscious of the presence of God every time.
1. THE AWESOME PERCEPTION OF THE OMNISCIENT GOD
God is omniscient and He has an awesome perception of all things. He knows and understands all things – our motives, plans, actions – and records them all in His book.
(i).God’s Penetrating Knowledge of Our Ways
Psalm 139:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9,10; Hebrews 4:13; John 2:24,25; Acts 1:23
“O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.” The x-ray can see what the flesh covers; but more than that, God has the penetrating knowledge of all our ways. Despite the distance between Him and us, He still understands our thoughts. He is “acquainted with all [our] ways” and “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do”. If He knows everything about us, then there is no hiding place for anyone in His immediate presence at the final judgment.
(ii). God’s Profound Knowledge of Our Words
Psalms 139:4; 50:19-22; Malachi 3:13-16; Matthew 12:36,37; James 3:5,6
“For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.” God has profound knowledge of our words – be it proud, belittling, slanderous, malicious words or words that help, energise and encourage people to make progress. The psalmist makes it clear that we will give account of everything we say on the reckoning day. But God will help us as we set everything right in the daily usage of our tongues before that final day.
(iii).God’s Peerless Knowledge is Wonderful
Psalm 139:5,6; Job 11:7-9; 42:2-6; Romans 11:33; Isaiah 40:28
The infinite, peerless and perfect knowledge of God “is too wonderful…” Therefore, we should consider and find comfort in the fact that God, our Father, knows what we need even before we pray. That same knowledge should instil anxiety in the heart of unbelievers because God sees and knows everything about their secret and open atrocities. He will recompense everyone according to their works.
2. THE ACTUAL PRESENCE OF THE OMNIPRESENT GOD
The presence of God is not imagined, supposed or theoretical. It is actual and “omni” (that is, everywhere). Therefore, there is no place as high as the sky, deep as the sea, far to the east or west, in light or darkness where you cannot find Him or where He cannot detect you.
(i). No Hiding Place from the All-seeing God
Psalm 139:7-10; Jeremiah 23:23,24; Proverbs 15:11; Amos 9:2,3
“Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD”. If man can make security gadgets that capture and record pictures, actions and words without the targeted persons knowing it, the almighty God can do much more. Prophet Jonah thought He could successfully travel a different direction from where God sent him and hide there. But God used a fish to pick him up and bring him back to the gates of Nineveh. He knows and sees the evil things people say and do secretly in their homes, churches, schools or workplaces. Hence, there is no hiding place from His all-seeing eyes.
(ii). No Hidden Person before the All-knowing God
Psalm 139:11,12; Job 12:22; Isaiah 29:15; Daniel 2:22
The all-knowing God knows every person; and no one can hide from Him in the crowd. He knows our intentions, actions, inactions, laziness and dutifulness. Even “the darkness hideth [nothing] from [Him]”.
(iii). No Hurried Product Made by the Almighty God
Psalms 139:13-16; 104:24; Isaiah 44:24; Jeremiah 1:5
God created everything in a wonderful way. He did not create us in a hurry. Thinking about our bone structure, organ compactness, movement and the working of our body, the psalmist concluded: “marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well”. Thus, he gave glory to God because of the wonderful creation of man. If He has done such a wondrous work in the physical, He will create in us all that we need to be alive spiritually and serve Him acceptably.
3. THE ACCEPTABLE PURSUIT OF THE OVERCOMER’S GODLINESS
God and godliness go together; sin and Satan go together. A sinful life that ends in sin will spend eternity with Satan. A godly life that ends in godliness will spend eternity with God. Thus, godliness should be the acceptable pursuit of every believer.
(i). The Thoughtful Promises of God
Psalms 139:17,18; 31:19; 40:5; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Jeremiah 29:11
“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” Like the psalmist, we must honour God who is always the same in the day and in the night. We cannot number all His good thoughts concerning us. He has given innumerable promises to address every situation, predicament, problem or challenge that we may face, which will be fulfilled in our lives.
(ii). The Terrible Punishment of the Godless
Psalms 139:19-22; 9:17; 94:23; Matthew 25:41; Jude 1:13-16
From generation to generation, good things will keep happening to the godly. But judgment will come upon the wicked. The Lord will “slay the wicked”. Therefore, we must separate ourselves from people who the psalmist described as “bloody men”. They speak against God – slander and belittle Him – and take “[His] name in vain”. Believers do not encourage such blasphemers who hate God and are outrageously evil and wicked by associating with them because “the LORD our God shall cut them off”.
(iii). The Threefold Prayer of the Godly
Psalm 139:23,24; Jeremiah 17:10; Job 34:31,32
The psalmist prayed to God at the conclusion of this psalm, first, to “Search” and “try” him (Psalm 139:23; Jeremiah 17:10,11; Revelation 2:23b). God can search and try anyone; and when He does, His blessings rest upon those who open up to Him for correction and cleansing. Second, he prayed the Lord to “know [his] heart… and… thoughts” (Psalm 139:23; Job 34:31,32; Philippians 3:15b) and reveal how unclean and unacceptable he was. This is because he could not discern or decipher the consequences of his thoughts. He acknowledged that only the Lord could search and know anyone truly. Third, he asked the Lord to “see if there be any wicked way in [him].” Though his sins were forgiven, God knew more. If He found anything that was contrary to His expectation, he pleaded that He should “lead [him] in the way everlasting” (Psalms 139:24; 51:2,7; 1 John 1:9; Psalm 143:10).
Believers still have the opportunity to pray like the psalmist. As we do so sincerely, the eternal, all-knowing God will cleanse, refine, reform and make us new enough to be in His presence forever.