You Hem Me In

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Psalm 139:1-24

Text: Psalm 139:1-24

In this 2-week reading plan, we are assuming a posture of thanksgiving before the Lord by meditating on ten Psalms of Gratitude. Rather than provide a written response to each Psalm, we have offered a simple yet meaningful activity designed to help us recall God’s mercies to us and through time. So grab a journal, and let’s create our own songs of thanksgiving to God.

Psalm 139
The All-Knowing, Ever-Present God
For the choir director. A Davidic psalm.

Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up;
You understand my thoughts from far away.
You observe my travels and my rest;
You are aware of all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue,
You know all about it, Lord.
You have encircled me;
You have placed Your hand on me.
This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me.
It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.

Where can I go to escape Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to heaven, You are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.
If I live at the eastern horizon
or settle at the western limits,
even there Your hand will lead me;
Your right hand will hold on to me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me,
and the light around me will be night”—
even the darkness is not dark to You.
The night shines like the day;
darkness and light are alike to You.

For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.
My bones were not hidden from You
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began.

God, how difficult Your thoughts are
for me to comprehend;
how vast their sum is!
If I counted them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand;
when I wake up, I am still with You.

God, if only You would kill the wicked—
you bloodthirsty men, stay away from me—
who invoke You deceitfully.
Your enemies swear by You falsely.
Lord, don’t I hate those who hate You,
and detest those who rebel against You?
I hate them with extreme hatred;
I consider them my enemies.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my concerns.
See if there is any offensive way in me;
lead me in the everlasting way.

Dig Deeper:

What a privilege to know the God who knows us! Use the questions below to meditate on Psalm 139, giving thanks for the Almighty God who knows His children through and through.

1. How does God know us? (verses 1-6)

2. How does God go with us? (verses 7-12)

3. How does God create us? (verses 13-16)

4. Does God’s knowledge of us require any action on our part? (verses 17-24)

5. What does this teach me about the character of God?

6. Notice how verse 23 parallels verse 1. Why does David ask God to do what he knows God has already done?


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157 thoughts on "You Hem Me In"

  1. Katie L says:

    Thank you AZ – your story of victory is so encouraging to me!!!! I don’t know anyone who can relate to how I’m feeling so it is so comforting to know you have walked through it and are able to rejoice on the other side! Working on my faith to rejoice even now.

    Thank you all for lifting us up, especially the safety of my sweet boy and my mama heart, during an uncertain time ❤️

  2. Heidi says:

    It is 1:02am and I am finished. There is one thing I wanted to get completed that I didn’t have time for, but when I add up my grade/weights of each thing, I think it will still be fine having not turned it in.

    Thank you all for your prayers. I had such focus last night and tonight when usually I would have gotten too tired to process and function.

    Looking forward to Psalms of Rest next week as they could NOT be coming at a better time for me!! lol! :) :) :)

    HAPPY WEEKEND SHE’S!!!!!! Seriously praying God’s blessings of rest, recovery, and restoration over these next days!!! ❤️

  3. Searching says:

    HEIDI – if you have finished the semester, Praise the Lord for guiding & strengthening you!
    If you are in the final stretch of completing the writings & exam, I am praying these next “just under 3 hours” will be your most energized & productive yet. Love you, sister ❤️

  4. Cee Gee says:

    AZ WALKER – You are most welcome. Good to see you!

    MERCY – I have missed you; glad to see you back!

    LEHUA K – I am late seeing your reply to my post on the Exodus commentary a couple of days ago. Glad it blessed you!

  5. Mercy says:

    Happy Friday dear she’s, I am a few days behind. Oh boy.. I am catching up with reading and praying over your comments and rejoicing over the heartfelt insights and loving words we are extending to one another. I hop on here to wish you all a lovely weekend, and I have a lot of reading to catch up. God bless you all. Hugs and Love. Be blessed dear sisters.

  6. AZ Walker says:

    Katie L, I am praying for your situation and pray for wisdom and wise council along with others here. I prayed for this during a custody battle over my daughter many years ago. In court it turned out our lawyers and the judge were friends, they put my ex and I in separate rooms and listened to me and tricked my ex and his nonsense was revealed. It was a semi Esther moment! My ex didn’t end up in the gallows but I got everything I wanted. I remember the journaling and pacing and worrying but all things are possible with God. For those who like podcasts, I listened to Lisa Whittle interviewing Adrienne Camp (Jeremy’s wife) and she wrote a Bible study about the psalms and has the sweetest Australian accent. Praying for you all: Heidi’s endeavors are so exciting, Sarah D’s interview, Pan C’s mom, Searching’s neighbors, Michelle Pattire and all those needing peace and rest and our unsaved loved ones. Thank you Cee Gee for sharing on Psalm 139 ❤️

  7. LindaK says:

    God knows us completely. We are His marvelous creation! Michelle Patire I have been reading along with this smaller group. Rhonda praying for your appointment with the pain specialist on Monday. Sarah D praying for your interview Monday. Heidi praying for you to finish well with all that’s on your plate. Prayers for the unspoken requests as well❤️

  8. CEE GEE says:

    HEIDI – You are most welcome! God has got you in this; what a testimony this has been from your reservations about starting this term to where you are now (or will be in about 12 hours!). Hugs!!!

    I apologize, girls, that this is long, but it is what I wanted to share earlier and could not copy and paste on my Kindle. It’s way better than any thoughts I could post and is found under the “Explain Verse” section of the Scripture read. This is so fitting since I chose Omniscience as a praise exercise for this week and have reviewed these verses for that. I did not have a clue we were reading that today!

    It’s Personal
    In Psalm 139, David takes the theology of “omniscience” off the top shelf and brings it down to a personal level. To David, God’s omniscience is not theological or philosophical—it’s relational and personal. Notice the personal pronouns here: “Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thought afar off” (Psa 139:1–2). David doesn’t say, “Lord, you know all things and you’ve searched all things”; instead, he says, “You know me, you’ve searched me” (emphasis mine).
    What David does in this psalm is what we must do with all difficult truths we try to comprehend, like “what is the meaning of life?” or “who is God?” We must not be content to leave these questions on a page of a book or discuss them with our friends over coffee. We have to follow David’s lead and find a way to bring them to a personal level.
    For example, “You understand my thoughts” (Psa 139:2) could be expressed, “God, you know what I think before I even think it.” What that means to us is this: God knows what we really believe about Him, not just what we say about Him. He knows where we stand, and He knows what our real opinions are.
    We Can Never Be Know-It-Alls
    When David says “Search me, O God, and know my heart” (Psa 139:23), it’s a prayer. He’s inviting God to know more (even though that’s not possible). He’s saying, “God, I can’t wrap my mind around this. I’ll blow a fuse trying to figure this out, so I just surrender to it. Search me, know me, lead me, direct me.”
    And that’s where we ought to leave off in dealing with God’s omniscience and all His divine attributes. I like to put it this way: since God’s ability transcends my reality, it’s best for me to bow at His immensity. God is always greater than our present knowledge of Him. If God were small enough for our brains, He wouldn’t be big enough for our needs.
    God indeed “knows it all.” By His very nature, without having to learn anything, He already knows everything—past, present, and future. Faced with that, what else can we do but bow to Him in worship and adoration?
    Skip Heitzig

    John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016).