I and Thou





Alex Tang



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I and Thou

Dr Alex Tang

Psalm 139: 1-24

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.







Text Box: 1 O LORD, you have searched me 
and you know me. 
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; 
you perceive my thoughts from afar. 
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; 
you are familiar with all my ways. 
4 Before a word is on my tongue 
you know it completely, O LORD. 
5 You hem me in—behind and before; 
you have laid your hand upon me. 
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, 
too lofty for me to attain. 
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? 
Where can I flee from your presence? 
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; 
if I make my bed in the depths, you are 
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, 
if I settle on the far side of the sea, 
10 even there your hand will guide me, 
your right hand will hold me fast. 
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me 
and the light become night around me,” 
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; 
the night will shine like the day, 
for darkness is as light to you. 
13 For you created my inmost being; 
you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
your works are wonderful, 
I know that full well. 
15 My frame was not hidden from you 
when I was made in the secret place. 
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 
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. 
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! 
How vast is the sum of them! 
18 Were I to count them, 
they would outnumber the grains of sand. 
When I awake, 
I am still with you. 
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God! 
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! 
20 They speak of you with evil intent; 
your adversaries misuse your name. 
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, 
and abhor those who rise up against you? 
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; 
I count them my enemies. 
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; 
test me and know my anxious thoughts. 
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting.





























This popular psalm is attributed to David. We do not know when this was written and in what context. All we can say is that this psalm was written by an intelligent man, thinking about the meaning of life and God. He is aware of the hard realities of life. He is also aware of the intimate relationship he has with his God. This psalm can be divided into 5 parts.

A. The Omniscience of God (v.1-6)

You have “examined” or “scutinized” me. God knows me very well. No need to hide or wear our masks. We are become our real self when we are with Him. No need to hide behind masks, No need to pretend to be someone I am not.

God knows my outward action: sit (rest); rise (action, work) and also my inward action: my hidden life; emotional; thinking. He knows what I am able to do because He knows me so well.

God knows my needs better than I do. That is why He hems me in – He is providing close guard or protection for me. He knows what danger I can get myself into if I am allowed to wander along on my own. He blesses my by His laying on of hands.

The Lord knows us through and through. This can be a terrifying thought. It is also a reassuring thought. So let your hair down and be who you are; God knows who you are anyway.

B. The Omnipresence of God (v.7-12)
Spirit and presence speaks of the total presence of God. There is no where I can go where I am out of reach of God. The psalmist uses the vertical reaches of heaven and hell. God is there in heaven. Even in hell, God is there. There is no realm that is outside His domain. From the rising of the sun in the east of the Mediterranean Sea to its setting in the west is the psalmist’s way of saying that in the entire known world, God is present.

C. The Omnipotence of God (v.13-18)
God is also omnipotent. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. I can appreciate the complexity of the human body and mind as a doctor. We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. What is more reassuring is that God knows me even before the foundations of creation was laid. He knows of when I am being formed and all the things I will do and be, even before I am born. It is a powerful reminder to me that in spite of what God knows about me, He still loves me.

D. The Enemies of God (v. 19-22)
Suddenly there is a change in the tempo. The psalmist started by telling about the omniscience, the omnipresence and omnipotence of God. Suddenly he changed and talked about the enemies of God. There are some commentators who believed that this section was added on later. I do not believe so. I believe it is a part of this wonderful psalm. The psalmist was telling about his own experience of the omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence of God. Then he told of people who strayed away from God, people who rejected God and people who hated God. He then stated that he will hate these types of people. There is always a danger of categorizing people as “them and us.” Did he not earlier say how God loves people? Is there not a hint of self-righteousness in his statement. “I am not like that so I can hate them”. A better approach will be “there but for the grace of God, goes I.” I need to have this awareness on how easy I can sin and turn away from God, how easy for me to become “them.”

E. The Way Everlasting (v.23-24)
I believe it is precisely that awareness of our fallen-ness in the presence of the omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence God that the psalmist ends by asking God to seek his heart and dig out the sinful parts. Compared to the beginning where he said that God had searched his heart. We need to be continually searching our lives and motives so that we are aligned with the path of God. The psalmist ended with being led on the way everlasting. The words “way everlasting” appears only once in the Old Testament and it is here. It indicates our journey from the past to the present and onto the future. To walk with this Great Almighty God, I must walk the path of righteousness. So help me, God. Amen

                                                                                                                                                                         Soli Deo Gloria


|posted 29 September 2006|



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 "spiritual forming disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds, hearts on fire and contemplative in actions"  


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