Psalm 139

Mark Rhoads   -  

September 4, 2022


You know us like the back of your hand. If you were a pagan god, we should be altogether afraid.  Is this not exposure that could lead to great fear? If a god knows us that well, surely he knows our every transgression, and how could we stand before such a god? We should hide in terror or sacrifice our first born in hopes of appeasement.

But you are not like other gods. You are the maker of heaven and earth, the One True God, the God who formed us from the dust, the God who wants to know us and wants us to know you; who says “I know all of your ways. I know your sinful hearts. But confess and repent and turn to me and I will forgive your sins and wash you in the blood of the Lamb.”  You are just, Father, but you are merciful.

The Psalmist, David, was a murderer and an adulterer. He had every reason to fear your wrath and the prospect of eternal punishment. But he confessed and repented.  And though the consequences of his sin haunted his earthly life, you mercifully forgave him and tuned his heart to you and to your ways.

Was the knowledge you knew everything about him a comfort to David? It appears it was!  David knew there was nowhere he could go where you were not there.  He knew he could not flee from your presence, and he tells us this knowledge was “too wonderful” for him. David knew that but for your mercy and grace, he was a doomed man. And he knew that in being known by you, your hand would always lead him through the terrors and triumphs of his life, and that your right hand would always hold him no matter what.

Father, may we with David come boldly before the throne of grace.  May we stand, rightfully trembling, but with confidence before your all-searching eye, letting it pierce deep into our hearts to reveal our grievous ways.  And may we in this act of openness to your holiness and justice and mercy, know the comfort of your love and forgiveness.  Lead us, Father, along the ancient paths, the path of righteousness, the everlasting way.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray.

And all the people said: Amen