THE CROWN-ROYAL PSALM OF DAVID, Part I, a devotion for 14 June 2017 Anno Domini
“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 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.” Psalms 139:1-16 (all scripture is from the King James Version)
This Psalm of David is addressed to the Conqueror, and all who belong to Christ fit that description. The Psalm culminates the encouragement and essence of two other of the most beautiful of Psalms – the 23rd and the 91st. David empties his heart and soul before the Lord his Maker. Revealed in the process is the inimitable truth of God’s omniscience and omnipotence. Though David proclaims his abhorrence of wickedness in the strongest of terms, he has every reason to abhor sin because David was a great sinner saved by grace. If we tried to justify David’s salvation by his works, we would not succeed in justifying an adulterer and murderer in the trial at the bar of justice – David had been BOTH. It was truly the unmerited grace of God that drove David to the Altar of Mercy time and time again. And it was grace alone that saved David at last. This Psalm offers a strong admonition to the wicked and an enduring comfort to the pious.
The shore batteries of God are focused on His people, and fixed upon the wicked – the first to protect, and the second to bring about a devastating judgment from the heights of Heaven. Matthew Henry describes the introduction to this Psalm in the following words:
“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.” — Matthew Henry
In the opening verses we find that God knows the tiniest aspect of our minds, bodies, soul and heart. “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2Thou 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.” What man can comprehend the fullness of the mysteries of God.
In the first twelve verses of this Psalm, David celebrates God’s perfect understanding of all of our ways – our thoughts, deeds, imaginations of our hearts. How came God to know the ways of man in every minute detail? It is simple – the watchmaker knows the movement and workings of the watch, and God is the Maker of us all. His design and plan for each of us is encoded in our DNA. Every tiny capillary and cell tissue is written in His Book of Life. Our talents, our stature, even our characters, are written in that DNA even before our birth. He knew us before we were born because we are the handiworks of His fingers.
God is everywhere at once. He is beyond the most remote stretches of space, in the depths of the deepest ocean, and in the tiniest particle of matter known to man. Matthew Fontaine Maury, founder of the National Naval Observatory and the proponent of the US Naval Academy, is known as the Pathfinder of the Seas. He is the father of the science of oceanography, hydrography and modern sea navigation. He plotted the tropical zones of the sea cutting shipping time to a third of its previous schedules. He got the idea for those Naval Navigation Charts (still in use by the Navy) from the 8th Psalm. “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” (Psalms 8:6-8) Maury maintained that, if God has said there are “paths in the sea”, Maury resolved to find them – and he DID!
There is no darkness with God. What has light to do with darkness? Christ is the Light of the World, and God the Father is all Light without any shadow of darkness. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
On this matter of Light and Darkness, Adam Clarke says: “Darkness and light, ignorance and knowledge, are things that stand in relation to us; God sees equally in darkness as in light; and knows as perfectly, however man is enveloped in ignorance, as if all were intellectual brightness. What is to us hidden by darkness, or unknown through ignorance, is perfectly seen and known by God; because he is all sight, all hearing, all feeling, all soul, all spirit—all in All, and infinite in himself. He lends to every thing; receives nothing from any thing. Though his essence be unimpartible, yet his influence is diffusible through time and through eternity. Thus God makes himself known, seen, heard, felt; yet, in the infinity of his essence, neither angel, nor spirit, nor man can see him; nor can any creature comprehend him, or form any idea of the mode of his existence. And yet vain man would be wise, and ascertain his foreknowledge, eternal purposes, infinite decrees, with all operations of infinite love and infinite hatred, and their objects specifically and nominally, from all eternity, as if himself had possessed a being and powers co-extensive with the Deity! O ye wise fools! Jehovah, the fountain of eternal perfection and love, is as unlike your creeds as he is unlike yourselves, forgers of doctrines to prove that Ithe source of infinite benevolence is a streamlet of capricious love to thousands, while he is an overflowing, eternal, and irresistible tide of hatred to millions of millions both of angels and men! The antiproof of such doctrines is this: he bears with such blasphemies, and does not consume their abettors. “But nobody holds these doctrines.” Then I have written against nobody; and have only to add the prayer, May no such doctrines ever disgrace the page of history; or farther dishonor, as they have done, the annals of the Church!”
In the womb, God gives conception. At that very moment, the child becomes a child of God made in His image and after His likeness. He forms every feature of the child in the womb. The child is fully human and fully the artful work of God. To destroy the work of God is a most serious sin; and the murder of innocent blood more serious than the murder of a culprit full grown. “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.” Did you note that every cell, organ, and bodily feature is artfully formed by God in the darkness of the womb? God made us even before we were not existent. How is that? It is because God created us in His Great Mind long before He created our physical features. God did not haphazardly create the world, the galaxies, the plant and animal life in a single act of abandon – He created them in accordance with His foreordained plan. He knew us long before the worlds were made. Think this over before you ever contemplate murder – especially murder of innocent blood in the mother’s womb.