Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Psalm 139

“I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well.” NCV Important to see that David uses wonder and complexity of his own being as springboard for praise to God. Doesn’t see mankind (or any other creature) at top of food chain; looks beyond to Creator, reserves praise and worship for him. Besides, that’s what we were made for: “glorify God and enjoy him forever”.

Psalm is first-class poetry: has multiple layers, complex structure, stimulating concepts and vocabulary. 3-word group begins and ends psalm: search, know, way – v.1,3 & v.23,24; in between much that relates to God’s knowledge of the psalmist, even all things. Not surprise that are 36 references to God in 24 verses. At same time, psalmist refers to himself 50x. Good reminder that while God is self-existent (does not depend in any way on his creation), is distinct from his creation, God also does not exist totally disconnected from his creation.

Yes, is much revealed in God’s word about existence and attributes of God – who and what God is in and of himself. Far more of God’s word reveals truth about God in relationship – with himself, with his creation, with his children. God in his being is relational – triune, relationship and fellowship within persons of Godhead. Because God in himself is relational, we are created in his image, we are relational… with God and one another. Is important to exercise restraint, seek to know God… in relationship… as he has revealed himself to us. Leave speculation that goes beyond where Bible stops for others.

Will consider our text this evening under 4 heads, can take them both corporately and individually: I have been fearfully and wonderfully made by God who knows me; I have been fearfully and wonderfully made by God who pursues me; I have been fearfully and wonderfully made by God who has power over me; I have been fearfully and wonderfully made by God who loves me. Parallel heads: God is omniscient; God is omnipresent; God is omnipotent; God desires worship. By virtue of both richness of text and topics considered, will only barely scratch surface; will leave much for your further meditation.

A. by God who knows us v.1-6OMNISCIENT

my actions v. 2a

my thoughts v. 2b

my travels v. 3a

my R & R v. 3b

my every act and choice v. 3c

my speech v. 4

You know even before I know, I am no match for this sort of knowledge

God’s knowledge – terrifying to the unbeliever, of vast comfort to the child of God; nothing takes God by surprise, there is no escaping his knowledge. As God is immense (immeasurable and unlimited) so is his knowledge; his knowledge is not merely factual, it is relational – God not only knows about us, he knows us. Since his knowledge is all-inclusive, completely surrounding us, there is no outrunning his provision for our needs.

God’s knowledge does not hold only terror for the unbeliever, confronting him with the sure understanding that God knows his every sinful thought and act, it has in it a measure of cheer. Since God knows even the sinner perfectly, he is thus able to prepare a perfect salvation for them through faith in his Son, the Lord Jesus.

B. by God who pursues us v.7-12OMNIPRESENT

rhetorical question, obvious answer v. 7

heaven or hell v. 8

eastern horizon or western limits v. 9-10

dark of night or darkness of a cave v. 11-12

Of course you know where to find me, You made me! See Jer 23:24 “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” ESV

God’s presence – a source of fear to the wicked and comfort to the righteous. Those that hate him desire to find a place where God is not, offended and yet threatened as they are by his holiness. For the child of God, a constant awareness of God’s abiding presence provides confidence of safety from sin and danger.

“This makes it dreadful work to sin; for we offend the Almighty to his face, and commit acts of treason at the very foot of his throne. Go from him, or flee from him we cannot: neither by patient travel nor by hasty flight can we withdraw from the all-surrounding Deity.” Spurgeon, Treasury of David

“What a comforting thought to a believer! If God’s eye is on me, then I am blessed, though I be obscure, and though I suffer unheeded by man. He is with the prisoner in the Inquisition, with the soldier, the sailor, the miner; yes, he is so truly with his saints, that wherever their dust may be laid, he will find it, and gathering every particle from the dark grave, will raise up therefrom a glorious body.” Andrew Bonar, Christ and His Church in the Psalms

It is the same presence which causes the wicked to fear that will prove a great blessing to those who seek him. Remember what the Apostle Paul declared to the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Athens: “From one man He has made every nation of men to live all over the earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live,so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:26-27HCSB God is not far away, he is not remote and hidden, impossible for anyone to find, which is intended to give hope to the sinner who seeks salvation in God’s only Son.

C. by God who has power over us v.13-18OMNIPOTENT

created mind and heart v. 13a

knit together – covered over v. 13b

remarkably and wonderfully made – made in a way that should engender awe and respect, distinct and different, set apart v. 14

“We are so wonderfully made, that our organization infinitely surpasses, in skill, contrivance, design, and adaptation of means to ends, the most curious and complicated piece of mechanism, not only ever executed ‘by art and man’s device, but ever conceived by the human imagination.” — Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms

formed by God v. 13-15

assigned a life span v. 16

appointed a life plan v. 17-18

See Jer 1:5 Isa 49:1

God’s power – causing a sense of frustration for the wicked and safety for the righteous. Those who naturally rebel against God’s authority are angered when he thwarts their plans, when they fail to get their own way. The righteous take great comfort from knowing that God has the power to guard them and bring them safely home to their eternal inheritance.

God’s power and his use of it are so absolutely certain that he could speak of knowing Jeremiah before he was even formed in the womb, of setting him apart for ministry before birth. God’s purpose extended to determining the precise number of days making up the psalmist’s life with no possibility of altering their number or purpose. God’s omniscience, his knowing all things including the future, is intimately connected with his omnipotence. The only way God can certainly know all things is if he also exercises authority over all things so as to bring about his purpose.

It is this awesome power of God that raised Christ from the dead and enthroned him at the place of honor beside his Father in heaven ( Eph. 1:19-20 ). The same power is at work in sinful man – making him alive in Christ and empowering him to live in a way pleasing to God ( Eph. 2:4-6 ). God’s immeasurable power is what is required to rescue hell-bound sinners from certain destruction.

D. by God who loves us v.19-24WORSHIP

This has not been simply an intellectual exercise for David, playing a sort of mind game as he meditated on the attributes and perfections of God. In reality it was a prelude to worship, the purpose for which God made us – to glorify God and enjoy him forever – and the end to which God exercises his omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence. The more David meditated on the things of God, the more he desired to be like God, holy and pleasing to him. As he drew closer to God, he became less tolerant of sin and willful sinners, expressing his dislike for the rebellious in terms of hatred and loathing.

What sort of men are God’s enemies? Those who:

speak of God with evil intent v. 20a

call on Him deceitfully v. 20b

swear by Him falsely v. 20b

hate God v. 21a

rebel against God v. 21b

David’s strong emotion was not the result of personal malice against his own enemies but rather indignation against the enemies of God. So his prayer was twofold – God, deal with your enemies, put an end to their rebellion and make sure I don’t become like them. Today, the prayer of a committed child of God should be, Lord, put an end to rebellion, preferably by converting your enemies and drawing them to yourself; Lord, put a hedge around me to keep me from rebellion and keep my heart pure. If you are one of the rebellious ones, make this your prayer: Lord, put an end to my rebellion; save me and lead me in the everlasting way.

Bottom line: God both deserves and desires worship. He deserves worship from all rational creatures. He desires worship from those who love him, who are devoted completely and irrevocably to God and his use. Worship should be a delight not drudgery. Truths emphasized in this psalm should fuel our worship; should also shape thoughts and actions in all of life. Faced with decision? Need to cope with situation? Since God has all power – what should you decide, how should respond? Omnipresent? Omniscient? Since God loves you his child, how should you respond?

For us to give God what he deserves and to delight in it: must be on good relations with him. Prepare well for worship, whether private or public, then put whole heart into it. Commit to living each moment of each day pleasing to God; then with his help by his grace, follow through.

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