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.
Who is this God? No one on earth knows me like that. Even my own family, the people who know me best, do not know me that well. My fiancée, Madison, is starting to understand me. She has a pretty good idea of my routine and has an uncanny ability to know how I am feeling long before I have taken the time to put words to it. Yet, even she does not make claims anywhere as strong as the ones made in the beginning of Psalms 139. Even the first verse speaks of a God that is intentional beyond any person I have ever met.
You know that feeling you have after meeting someone special? Certain people, after only talking to them for a few minutes, have a way of making you feel felt and cared for. It feels freeing to be known and to have someone take time to care about what is going on in your head. God was the one who did that first. Not only that, He does it better. He doesn’t just care enough to ask me how I am feeling or what I am thinking about, He knows me. Verses 1-4 echo an intentionality that we cannot comprehend. The writer of this Psalm acknowledges it too, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.” Part of this wonder has to come from the fact that God does not just know us; He touches us in a way that communicates, “I choose you.” Verse 5 says that God lays His hand upon me. He sees me in all my self-sufficiency, in all my selfishness, and in all my human weakness. Despite all that, He chose to put me on this earth, He asked me to be a part of His story, and He affirms me as His child. That last part, in reference to His laying His hand upon me, makes me think of times when I’ve decided to do something really hard, and my mom or dad has put their hand on my arm. They don’t even have to say anything. Just by letting me know that they choose me and are standing by me, that makes me feel like I could fly. By noticing that God has laid His hand upon us, what couldn’t God do in our lives?
The reason I chose to reflect on this verse is because I need to be reminded that my success and identity is found in His choosing me as His child. Right now, in life, I am in the process of applying to medical school and preparing to enter into married life. There are a lot of changes going on and a lot of unknowns. These things have a way of tempting me to feel like I must be sufficient on my own. When I allow these things to take my eyes off Christ, I feel alone. A false identity can take over in those moments. Praise God for a verse like this that dispels those false mindsets. In times like these, I’d encourage you to ask yourself, “Why am I being drawn to self-sufficiency?” “Why am I forgetting that I am not alone?” When you have identified those areas, take a moment to hear the words of these verses once again. Let God, who IS actually present with you, touch your arm and remind you that He not only knows you, but He has chosen you.
Dear Lord, remind us with your gentle touch that you created us intentionally. Remind us that you have a purpose for our lives and that you have promised to hold us up through all of life’s seasons. Thank you for being our identity and taking the burden off of our shoulders. We love you God. Amen.
– Matias Malkamaki