You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your sight. As stated elsewhere in the Bible, God's mind is inexpressibly beyond that of any person (Isaiah 55:8–9). Since we cannot escape from this all-knowing, all-present, all-wise Creator, we cannot escape from the need for holiness. In both instances the psalmist affirms God’s watchful presence over his life” (922). As they explain: A merism is a poetic technique that expresses a totality by mentioning two parts, typically polar opposites … Poetically speaking, a merism provides vivid images that are meant to replace more abstract concepts such as “all,” “every,” or “always.” Given this intended usage, a merism is meant to be understood figuratively or metaphorically, but not literally. And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!And you murderers—out of here!— all the men and women who belittle you, God, infatuated with cheap god-imitations.See how I hate those who hate you, God, see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. "Where can I go from your Spirit? He founded THEOKLESIA, which connects the 21st century Church to the vintage Christian faith; holds a Master of Theology in historical theology; and makes the vintage faith relevant at. This leads to difficulty in translation.Furthermore, just about any Christian who is allured by the b… v1 *LORD, when you look at me you know all about me. The supplicant David, then, blends wisdom themes with a complaint in offering his psalm of prayer and worship before the Lord. The verb yada‘, “to know,” occurs seven times in the poem (vv. And they note that this presence and knowledge seems to evoke both “flight and fascination” in the psalmist, both comfort and fear. I'm an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking. Tucker and Davis offer an overview of these four movements: In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham’s obedience by asking him to sacrifice Isaac, his only son. A Psalm of David. Instead, they point to Goldingay here: “‘the person who has nothing to hide has nothing to fear of Yhwh’s binding or the touch of Yhwh’s hand’ [Psalms 3, 630]. Psalm 121 Commentary: Where Does Our Help Come From? even the darkness will not be dark to you; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Know. This Psalms commentary, which is part of the NIV Application Commentary Series, helps readers learn how the message of the Psalms can have the same powerful impact today that it did when they were first written. Long before God “fearfully and wonderfully made” you, he knew what you would be like and what you would do. Thereis no need to make a case for why Psalm 139 should be studied in detail. At the start, they offer a unifying thread that serves as an interpretive key: As in Psalm 138, the writer of Psalm 139 announces the threats that befall him and pleads for God’s action (Ps 139:19–22). Thank You Father that You saw me before I was born. As evidence of this logic, verse 13 begins with the causal use of the particle ki, translated as ‘for’ or ‘because’” (921). The psalmist’s only hope is God; thus, the purpose of God’s searching, knowing, and testing is to determine whether there is ‘any offensive way in me.’” Why? I worship in adoration—what a creation!You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you,The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. This “I-Thou” relationship serves as the “unifying thread” throughout the psalm. Give thanks. And he is so close and intimate that he hems him in. The Psalm is a prayer and brings us right away to a contemplation of Although some readers who come to psalm 139 often infer propositions of God’s omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, Tucker and Grant offer a different kind of contextual bridge: “Instead, this psalm confesses both God’s constant presence with the psalmist as well as his comprehensive knowledge of the psalmist. In this poem, however, the psalmist’s hope rests entirely with the God who knows him, the God with whom he is in relationship. The verb “to hem in” (tsur) or “to bind” is an equivocal term that can mean Yahweh makes him secure, but in some contexts also means “laying siege.” So which is it? He knitted each of us. The God who calls David from the fields to be his anointed king is the same God who chastens David for his pursuit of Bathsheba” (926). Body and soul, I am marvelously made! If I ascend up … Psalm 100 Commentary: Seven Commands and Two Motivations of Our Praise, The Art and Force of Psalm 119:1-8: Part 1, The Art and Force of Psalm 119:1-8: Part 2, Jeremy Bouma (Th.M.) the idea that God is not far off, but is near to each of us. However, “Rarely do hymns remind us of the kind of pervasive presence of God in our lives that might prompt a sense of holy fear. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made” he declares. Psalm 139 is called a psalm of David and is generally thought to be written by King David himself. But what does the psalm mean and how are its four poetic movements connected? Get updates from Zondervan Academic directly in your inbox. 23-24 Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me;Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about;See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. (It is) a psalm of David. Where can I flee from your presence? The authors don’t believe a dichotomy of meaning is warranted. Enter. 2) Psalm 139 was penned by King David. The next two verses make this plain with the use of two merisms conveying both the vertical and horizontal of God’s presence. Pursue a deeper knowledge of God through self-paced college- and seminary-level online courses in Old and New Testament studies, theology, biblical Greek, and more. It’s not a generic psalm; it’s intensely personal, between David and God (note the frequent “I” & “me”). As the psalmist was given pause by the thought of God’s pervasive presence, we too should be inspired and taken aback. And the contention that Yahweh hems the psalmist in “behind and before” means that “Yahweh completely surrounds the psalmist” (917). Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Explanation and Commentary of Psalm 139:16. 139 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. Psalm 139 is classified as an Individual Hymn of Thanksgiving. Because God has known us, fully known us, we can trust in him when the world goes awry and seems to be in open rebellion against his ways (vv. If you have any questions, please review our. That’s worrying, frightening even! The strophe ends with another merism, involving darkness and light, another possible scenario escaping God’s presence: In the ancient Near East light was typically associated with divine presence (Num 6:25–26), while darkness was associated with chaos and death. The final strophe abruptly shifts from hymnic language to more petitionary language. His very presence casts out all darkness (John 1:5). At night I’m immersed in the light!”It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. Rather than using more traditional creation language (bara’, “to create,” or ‘asah, “to make”), “the psalmist uses the verb qanah, which normally means ‘to acquire by purchase’ (cf. “Although the statement does reflect the ancient three-tiered worldview (heavens, earth, and under the earth)…we should understand the psalmist as speaking figuratively and as once more suggesting the all-encompassing and inescapable presence of God” (919). Where can I flee from your presence?” (v. 7) he begins. Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson, The Message (MSG). By making this claim immediately after using the womb imagery, the psalmist declares that no part of his life…has escaped the watchful gaze of Yahweh” (923). 19–22). To know we are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Lord, we need to understand the smallest details of our lives occur according to the plan of the Lord (Ephesians 1:11). Please check errors and resubmit. Nevertheless, there arecountless challenges that the psalm raises which also warrant a detailed study.The psalmist was apparently a very skilled writer, using complex sentencestructures and very rare words. W. Dennis Tucker and Jamie A. Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! Yet he has remained present with us (v. 18). All Rights Reserved. THE BACKGROUND OF PSALM 139 E. J. night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. He has seen our comings and goings, our faithfulness and faithlessness. And he marvels at this, confessing a sense of awe at the vastness of God’s thoughts about him. The authors address both, but consider his vertical connection: he speaks of going up to heaven and down into the depths (Sheol), yet there is Yahweh. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. There is a better way. What’s more, the psalmist uses four verbs of perception, reflecting Yahweh’s attentiveness to the fullness of the psalmist’s life: “to know” (yada‘); “to perceive” (bin); “to discern” (zarah); and “to be familiar with” (sakan). Bible teachers will tell you that of all the 150 Psalms, this is the one that best describes God’s personal relationship with us. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. In verses 13 and 15, the poet invokes images of knitting and weaving to explain the care with which God created him. Unsubscribe from these doctrines a full-orbed look at me you know everything I 'm an open book you... From thy Spirit so to speak, of worshiping a God who has watched us along... Mystery of creation itself wisdom meditation ” label of knowing God ” or wisdom. Merisms follow the Lord: psalm 100 today we ’ re there but these words do not to... 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