Have you ever struggled to feel known, loved, and significant? In the most recent week of our sermon series Playlist, David Marvin uses Psalm 139 to teach us that with God, we are never alone; our lives were designed with a purpose by a Creator who knows us intimately and loves everything about us.
God's Love Never Stops | Psalm 118
The Good Shepherd | Psalm 23
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made | Psalm 139
Jesus is Our Satisfaction | Psalm 16
God is Good in our Trials | Psalm 34
Have you ever struggled to feel known, loved, and significant? In the most recent week of our sermon series Playlist, David Marvin uses Psalm 139 to teach us that with God, we are never alone; our lives were designed with a purpose by a Creator who knows us intimately and loves everything about us.
All right! Well, hey, welcome, friends in the room and everybody joining us online. Like Mickey said, my name is David Marvin. I work with The Porch on Tuesday nights and love getting to jump in. We're continuing this series Playlist where we are journeying through some of the psalms. The reason we called it Playlist is because the book of Psalms was a bunch of songs that made up the Hebrew, or the nation of Israel's, playlist. So I'm going to read the lyrics from this song that we're going to be in tonight. It's Psalm 139.
"You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in [surround me] behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 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.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, a God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!" The lyrics take a turn. "Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive [sinful] way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Now like I said, this is the one of the songs and the lyrics that we're going to look at from the Hebrew Spotify, if you will, which is the book of Psalms. If I were to ask in this room what some of the greatest songs of all time are, well, we'd probably have different opinions. Some of you would think "The Twist" or some Beatles song. Depending on what age you grew up in, maybe you would say a Taylor Swift song.
So I went down the rabbit hole this week of researching, "What are the top songs of all time?" The challenge with that is you can't just say, "Most sales," because then songs that have been around that were released 50 years ago have 50 years on a song that was just recently released. So "White Christmas" would take the crown every single time because it's been around forever and ever.
You can look at what the songs are that had the most success when they were released and stayed at number one for the most consecutive weeks in a row? This puts everybody kind of on a level playing field, if you will. So I put together a release, and if you're watching on the stream because of copyright reasons, you won't be able to hear these.
Here in descending order is the bronze medal, the silver medal, and the gold medal for most successful songs of all time that stayed at number one for the most weeks. Here is number four. Take it back with me.
Hey, you can keep that going, man. That girl is strong!
Man, they don't make them like that anymore. Also around the 90s, that's bronze, here is an oldie but a goodie. Just a classic with the Boyz and Mariah.
Man, they just don't make them like that anymore. The 90s was greatest era of all time. Tied for second place, if you will, was this song. So this is also silver medal. These two: Mariah and "One Sweet Day" and this song tied for second place of most weeks. Here it is.
That's all we can play because… Because the lyrics, while in Spanish, are also inappropriate. That is pretty shocking that that is a song that most of the population doesn't speak the language, and yet it lasted for 16 consecutive weeks. Then most shocking of all, and maybe an offense to music everywhere, is the gold medal or a reflection of our culture. It's the longest…19 weeks at number one spot in a row. It's this.
It's a catchy song, but you put that on a list? You have Whitney Houston, and then you have Billy Ray? It's like, it's an affront, a shame on our culture.
What does that have to do with what we're talking about? Well, if you were to put together the top songs from the Hebrew Spotify, if you will, which is the book of Psalms, undoubtedly Psalm 139 would be in that group. It's an amazing psalm. It's a psalm that many people in this room may have it on their Instagram bio, "I'm fearfully and wonderfully made," or a coffee cup at home. It's just a song that connected with people.
Many scholars have even called it the crown jewel of all the psalms. So we're going to walk through and see why it is a psalm and a song with lyrics that clearly just capture some really important truths and walk through what David had to say about this psalm. It's a psalm that answers some of the most important questions that any of us will ever ask in life: "Who am I? Does anybody know me? Is anybody out there? Do I matter? What's the point of this thing called life?"
Inside, David writes out these amazing, beautiful lyrics that the people of Israel would've sung this song and gone back to. There is no wonder why it connects and is so broadly something that people are maybe familiar with or have just found encouraging and inspirational. Make no mistake. It's not just a psalm that tells us we're fearfully and wonderfully made. The focal point, ultimately, is about God. It tells us who our God is. Then knowing that, we then understand who we are.
We're going to learn who David, who was called, the sweet psalmist of Israel… I love that. Second Samuel, chapter 23, verse 1 says David was, "…the sweet psalmist of Israel…" He wrote a lot of amazing songs. He was the Taylor Swift of his day, if you will. He just got one hit after the next, after the next, coming out.
Of all of them, you would have to say what he captures here answers some of the most important questions any of us will ever ask. We're going to walk through and see who God was to David. David was called a man after God's own heart uniquely. David is going to say, "Man, let me tell you how I think about God. Let me tell you who God is, and if this is not how you think of him, you need to change your understanding of who God is."
So I'm going to walk back through. As I pointed out, this song is song lyrics, and there are four stanzas or four verses, not Bible verses, but sections of the song, if you will. We're going to walk through each of those. Now David, if you're not familiar, likely wrote this psalm toward the end of his life. Really, regardless of when he wrote it, it's still all applicable.
David lived a really interesting life by any standard. If you're not familiar, David was a king in the Old Testament, but he wasn't always king. He was raised in poverty. He was a shepherd. He was one of eight kids. He was such the runt of the litter that when this guy Samuel showed up and said to David's dad, Jesse, "God told me one of your sons is going to be king…"
Jesse is pumped. He gets all of his sons in the room, and he is like, "Which one is it?" He forgot David. Samuel goes through, and he is like, "Nope. Nope. Nope. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Do you have any other sons?" He was like, "I do have another son. Where is he?" He calls him out. "Come inside." Samuel said, "This one will be king."
A little time goes by, and there's a giant terrorist who shows up named Goliath. Goliath comes to the nation of Israel and is like, "Fee, fi, fo, fum. I want all of you, and if you don't defeat me, you will be our slaves, etcetera. Somebody fight me." The whole nation is afraid except for a young shepherd boy who says, "You don't talk to my God and God's people like that."
He gets five smooth stones, a slingshot, throws them at Goliath's head, defeats this enormous giant, and saves the nation. Overnight, he is a hero. It's a mountaintop experience. David didn't just have mountaintop experiences. He also had some low lows. If you're familiar with David's story, you know that David had a problem in that David liked the ladies.
One day, he is out in his palace and is looking around. He sees a woman in a bath naked, ironically named Bathsheba, and he says, "Who is that girl?" Somebody says, "It's Uriah's wife, one of your close friend's wives." He says, "Go get her." David commits adultery and sleeps with her. Then he finds out she is pregnant.
This man after God's own heart makes a decision that would impact him for the rest of his life. He decides to have one of his mighty men, that's what Bathsheba's husband Uriah was, killed, to have him murdered. David had some highs. He had some lows. He had children problems. He was well acquainted with a lot of the human experience and challenges that come in this life.
Understanding that gives you a broader context to exactly who David was and who God was in light of that. So I want to walk through the first verse, and we're just going to look at each of these four different verses and cover some really, really important truths. So the first verse, if you will, which is made up by the first chorus, if you will, says this.
"You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways." "You know my thoughts. You know my conduct. It's all my ways." "Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely." "You know my thoughts, my actions, you know my words." "You hem me [you surround me] in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."
In this first chorus, David points out several different words all hitting at the same idea that he is hammering home in the lyrics of this song that you are known by God. He says, "You searched me God. You know me. You perceive me. You discern. You're familiar with. You know completely. You surround me."
The first truth from this beautiful song that David wrote was with God, you are fully known. With God, you are fully known. We're going to get to why this was so wonderful for David, that he knew everything. He knew all of his thoughts, all of his actions, all of his poor decisions, all of his failures, but because he was fully known, also he was fully loved.
David says, "You fully know and are familiar with all of my ways: my actions, my words." Is anybody a verbal processor here, external processing? I'm a verbal processor. It's the only way to live. You don't know what's coming next. It makes life exciting. You're just figuring out kind of as you go. While you may say something that surprises you, David would say it didn't ever surprise God.
The average person, both male and female, speaks 16,000 words a day, enough to fill up a book. Over the lifetime, it would be an enormous library. It's like David says. He knows every word you've ever said. He knows ever thought you'll ever have. The average person, again I was just studying this week, has 6,000 thoughts a day, ranging from selfish to positive to negative to lustful, all across the board.
David says, "God knows all of them." He knows everything about you. He knows you better than you known you. He knows your actions. He knows what you did last summer, last week, next Monday, and he knows why. He knows the motives. In other words, sometimes you do things, and you're like, "I don't even know why I did that."
In Jeremiah, chapter 17, verse 9, it says, "The heart is deceitful…" We can deceive ourselves and be fooled. David would say, "You may fool yourself, but you don't fool God. God knows. He knows all about you." In Psalm 56, verse 8, we're told that God knows every tear that you cry, and he stores it in a bottle. That's a pretty powerful thing to think about. He knows all of them.
Jesus would show up in Luke, chapter 12, and he says God has numbered the hairs on your head. He knows how many hairs. Even if it's a diminishing number, he knows all of them. That's how intimately… David, this leads him to say, "Man, I am known, I am loved, and not just that. God lays his hand on me."
It's the image of a father with a child. "God you know everything about me. You know the messed up things that I did toward Bathsheba and her husband, and you don't move away from me. You are near." Like a child when they're sick, a parent will come and put their hand on their back. David says, "This is who God is. This is my God. I am fully known, and I am fully loved." He paints a picture of God seeing everything, and it leads him to worship.
Oftentimes, we can feel skeptical. I mean, we live in an age that… It's kind of interesting with all the technology, things like Alexa and things that… You can feel like you're constantly being surveyed. Does anybody have somebody in their life that they know who is like, "Will you not have the Alexa? If we're going to talk, we're going to hit the red button because they're listening."
That person is out there and, understandably, because they're skeptical of, "Oh man, I'm always being watched. This makes me uncomfortable." So we understand that. There's also a type of somebody watching that is a reflection of care and comfort and love. In my house, this plays itself out with we have a baby monitor in my daughter's room where my wife is watching, not to catch or not to be creepy, but because she loves her daughter.
David says, "That's what God is like. He is always there." I am known. Does anybody know me? David would say, "God, you do. You don't just know the bad me. You don't just know the good me. You don't just know the social media perfectly manicured me. You know all of me, God. You put your hand on me like a father to a child." No wonder David was moved just to worship. One of our greatest desires in life is to be known.
David says, "You're known. You're known and you're loved." Maybe at the end of his days, or as he is writing this psalm, he is singing, happy, "God, I am known and I am loved." Tim Keller said, "To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial." ("Man, I love you!" "You don't really know me." It's comforting, but superficial, kind of shallow.)
"To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us…" This is how God loves us. No wonder David was moved to worship as he was writing this psalm. "I am fully known and I am fully loved because with God I am known."
He then goes into the next verse, if you will, or chorus of our song, where he brings up another topic. Not only am I just fully known, but, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" "You're always with me. You're always there, God. I am never alone. I'm not just known. I'm never alone." He says, "If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths…" In the deepest place. "…you are [still] there. If I rise…"
He makes up a metaphor of like, "If I sprouted wings and I became a bird and I flew to the middle of the ocean, you are still right there, God." "…even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." "No matter where I go," David says, "God is holding my hand, walking right alongside of me." "If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."
He is talking about, "No distance removes me from God's presence and no darkness…" speaking literally of physical darkness, but it also applies to spiritual darkness. David is saying, "In my worst moment, you saw me. In my darkest place, you were there. Darkness isn't dark to you. You see right through it. Because with you, I'm not just fully known and fully loved, I'm also never alone."
The second idea he brings up is no matter where you go, with God you are never alone. There's no distance or darkness that move me out of being near to you. David is singing, "Man, I am never alone. Even when I can't see him. Even when I can't always feel God. It doesn't mean he is not there. He is always there."
My daughter is 3 years old and because she is 3, we'll play games of hide and seek. When you're 3 years old, you don't understand that just because you can't see the person, doesn't mean they can't see you. So she will go hide, and she will hide behind a plant. As a dad… We've all seen kids who will come, and you're like, "Hey, go hide," and they're hiding there.
If you have kids, you've been there before. When you're like, "Go hide," and they go hide and you can clearly see them. They're just shutting their eyes. In order to extend the game, you have to pretend like, "Oh, where could she be? I don't see her! Oh man, maybe she is over here or on the ground." Because you get that she doesn't understand that just because she can't see you doesn't mean that you're not there. That's how she thinks.
David is saying, "Don't ever buy the lie. Just because you can't see him, that doesn't mean he is not there. He is right there. He is holding your hand as you walk through life. Just because you can't see it always, just because you're not totally aware of it doesn't mean he is not right there. My God is always with me. With God, I am fully known, and with God I am never alone." It's pretty beautiful. One of some people's greatest fears is being alone. David would say, "With God, you are known. You are never alone. He is not distant."
I was talking with a friend a couple of weeks ago. I was saying that one thing that I've been reflecting on is I've heard and understand that the relationship you have with your earthly father can often bleed into how you see your relationship with your heavenly Father. I was thinking on that idea, and I just don't have a really close relationship with my earthly father. I would say it's more distant. It's not really present.
I was just reflecting on that to this friend. I was just saying, "To whatever degree…" I don't consciously see those as the same or think distant, but if any part of me sees, "In the same distant relationship that I have there, that's how God is."
He is kind of distant. He cares and you'll see him every once in a while, but he is really not that involved. David would say, "You don't know God. He's always there. He is near. You may pull away from God. He has never pulled away from you. He is with you." To the point that he uses a really intimate term. What do I mean by that?
He says, "No matter where I go. If I go to the middle of the ocean, even there, your hand is holding me. Your hand is leading me. You're holding my hand, God, everywhere I go." Why do I say that's an intimate thing? Well, you think about the number of people that you will hold hands with is typically a pretty small list.
In other words, for me, who am I going to hold hands with? I have my wife and my kids, period. I'm not going to be walking through the mall holding a random person in here's hand. It's just not going to happen. In fact, that would go for most of us. Even interdigitating is a very uncomfortable thing unless it is a very intimate relationship.
Has this happened? You circle up to a group prayer, and the person goes interdigitate with you, and you're like, "Okay, I'm uncomfortable. God can hear us either way." It's a very intimate thing. David says, "That's exactly how God is. When I was a bad king, God, you were there. When I was out in the field as a shepherd, you were there. When I picked those stones up to fight Goliath, you were there."
When you went to the office this week, he was there. When you got engaged to your wife, in that season, he was there. When your first child was born, when you went through crippling loss, he was there. You were never alone. David, I think reflecting over his life and the beauty that, "When things are going well God, you are there. No matter how dark things got, you were there. You never leave me because with God, I am never alone. I am known and I am loved."
Not only that, he brings us to the third point, which I think is the best chorus, if you will, of the song. With God I'm fully known, with God I'm never alone, and then he says, "For you created my inmost being…" He is talking about his soul. "…you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 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. Your eyes saw my unformed body…" I love it.
He says, "God had eyes on you when you didn't even have eyes." "…all the days ordained [laid out] …" Every day I was going to live. "…for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Before you were born, God had a book of your life. "How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand…"
"God, you are always thinking about me," David said. "The number of thoughts you have toward me, God, it would be impossible for me to even count them." You are always on God's mind. "…when I awake…" "If I attempted to count all the grains of sand, I would fall asleep before I could even count how many thoughts you have about me, and I would still be with you."
David says God doesn't just know you, is not just with you; he intimately cares about you. He cares about the beginning. That's why he brought up when he formed me. He cares about the future, the days that haven't even come. And he cares about the present, "That you are always thinking about me, God," and is moving David to worship. My hunch is the intimacy that David describes, the love that even pours off the pages of David describing them, "This is how my God is," is not how some of us in the room or a lot of us think of God. David would say, "You are wrong."
Because the third idea is with God, your life matters. With God, your life matters. He formed every part of you. You are not an accident. You are not a mistake. You may have thwarted your parents' timing or plans, but it certainly didn't thwart God's. With God, your life matters. He wove you together, and he knew you before your mom even knew she was pregnant with you. Every one of the 54 million heartbeats that a baby has before it exits the womb and enters the world, God oversees and conducted.
David is moved to worship. "You know me, God." In Jeremiah, chapter 1, verse 5, is another reference of this idea of, "Even in the womb, God, you knew me." This is God speaking to Jeremiah. It says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…" It lays out what we would say the idea of life beginning at conception.
It's what Christians have always believed, because every life matters. God says, "Even before anybody else knew you were there, I saw you." It's why the idea of abortion, euthanasia, has always gone against what the Bible teaches, because it's putting ourselves in the place of God. It's ending life. If that's part of your story, God has nothing but love and grace and healing offered to any of us. You matter, you are known, and you are loved.
David is laying out, "God, you formed all of it. You're not some distant… You wove me together, and you created who I am." He leaps out and prays, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…" I'm going to come back to fearfully. It's pretty astounding how years before a test tube was ever around, David recognizes the intricacies of the human body.
You are pretty astounding. Every person who has ever lived is incredible. Your body is made up of 206 bones, 640 muscles, and trillions of cells. God knows every one of them and fashioned every one of them. You have 100 billion neurons in your brain and 7 octillion atoms in your body. I don't even know what an octillion is, but it sounds enormous, and it makes up your body.
You are the most incredible and complex creation in the whole world, far greater than any galaxies or planets. David recognizes what… Even today, science can't understand the human eye. As much as they study it, it's astounding how all of it works together. That goes for so many different parts of who you are. David says, "Man, I praise you. You are an incredible creator."
Now why does he use fearfully? Like, "Man, I am fearfully…" It sounds great. It looks great on a coffee cup, but what does that actually mean? Fearfully is… In the Old Testament, often the word fear is synonymous with reverence or to create awe, create worship. So David is saying, "Hey, the way that you created man is so amazing, it leads me to worship the Creator."
It's not dissimilar to this. There are certain products where when you experience them or you see them or you purchase them, you're like, 'This is just such an amazing product. They just make amazing stuff." An example I had not long ago was I was getting into a friend of mine's car. He had just gotten this Mercedes. I got in, and just every experience I had was like, "This is not like my Toyota."
I'm opening the door, and the door is so heavy. It's like, "Man, this is just…wow. This door is…" And it almost shuts itself. Then we're driving, and it has these new things where if you take a turn, it hugs you. I'm getting hugged by the Mercedes. I'm just like, "Man, the Germans, they did it again. They just make some amazing products." It leads you to not praise the car itself but the creator of the car.
That's what David is saying. You are fearfully and wonderfully… "I praise you God because I am fearfully… I have been created by you, and it leads me to worship." I think the most fascinating part of this chorus section of the song is it says, "Before I was born, God, you had a book about my life. You knew it all." The same is true with you.
"You knew every decision I was going to make, God." It introduces what we would say is the tension between free will and God's sovereignty. David and you and I still have free will and are responsible for the decisions that we make, and yet God ordained and knew every one of them. Now why is that interesting for David?
Well, think about who is writing this. He said, "God, you saw me when I wasn't even born. You had a book of my life already written out." In David's book, there were a couple of chapters that would've been ones that would've caused some people to go, "Man, I don't think we should keep that book." Namely adultery and murder.
You have the king of the nation, the one God is going to choose, and he knew before David was ever even born that would be a part of his story. Like I said, if I was God, I would be tempted to be like, "All right. You know what? We're not doing this. We're getting rid of that book. It's done." David said, "That's not how God is. He saw that. He knew that. He understood." He even saw the failures, failures that he would come to die on a cross for a thousand years after David wrote this.
He sees all the failures that are in the book that is your life and my life. David is singing to himself going, "I am known. I am loved. I am never alone. I matter and you matter." You were made on purpose. You were not an accident. God wove you together in your mother's womb. He brings up the illustration of sand, and he says something that's so staggering.
He goes, "God, you think about me so much, you have so many thoughts about me, if I was to try to count them, they would be more than sand." Have you ever tried to count sand? It's impossible. You pick it up, and you're like, "Is that one or 17?" It's literally impossible, and David is saying, "It would be impossible how God is able to think about every single person here and constantly. You are always on his mind."
It is further beyond my ability to explain, but David says it's fact. You are always on his mind. The fact that becomes, as I said, even more clear in light of the cross where he would say, "I love you so much I will die for you and on your behalf." It's funny. David has such a, "Man, God knows me. He loves me. He is for me. He is with me, in spite of me."
His perspective on God is so different from the way most of us think about him. When you read the Bible, there are men who have a vision of who God is that aligns with this, but it's kind of staggering where they see themselves, not based on how they think about God but based on how God thinks about them.
Their identity and who they are is wrapped up in, "Man, this is who God is and who I am to him." What do I mean by that? It's not just David here who sees himself as, "God is always thinking. He loves me. He is with me. He is for me." There's a guy named John in the New Testament. John was one of the 12 disciples. He was one of Jesus' closest friends. He wrote one of the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
John wrote in his gospel and described himself. He did it in a really interesting way. He said, "John…" Nope. "The disciple whom Jesus loved." Every time he mentions his name, he is talking about, "Peter was there, Mark was there, and the disciple whom Jesus loved was there." It's a really interesting thing to think about. Think about that idea.
If you're Peter and you're reading John. You're like, "Take it easy, John. He loved all of us, okay?" I mean, it'd be like at lunch today with your kids, if one of them stood up and was like, "Henceforth I shall no longer be known as Kyle. I will be going as the one whom Mother loves." You'd be like, "I love all of you."
John was just so wrapped up in his identity, not in how he had done for God or what he thought about God, but what God/Jesus thought about him. In other words, his identity wasn't even, "Hey, I'm the disciple who loves Jesus." It was, "I am the one Jesus loves." It's like you get around. The closer you get to God, the more you feel like, "Man, he loves me. He knows me and he loves me." David would say, "That's exactly right, because that's who God is."
Then he takes a turn called the bridge of the song, if you will, where things go from… I'll just read it. "If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!" It's like there's a key change or something and he goes from John Legend's, "…all of me loves all of you…" to screamo, "Let the bodies hit the floor…" That's what he does.
"God, if you would kill all the bad guys. Come on!" "They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?" I love it. "I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies."
What is David doing? It's a weird term. What is possibly going on here? David is emotional. He is passionate. He is in love. He is going, "God you know me. You love me. You're with me. I'm never alone. You know everything about me. You created me. I am so amazed and in love with you that if anybody doesn't like you, they have a problem with me!" That's what he is doing. "Anybody who is your enemy, I count them my enemy."
He asks God a rhetorical question, which is the best part. "Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord…?" It's so extra. He is communicating with somebody when you're in love that, "Man, I love this person! If anybody doesn't love this person, they have a problem with me!" He is communicating how he sees God. "God knows me. He loves me. He is with me. He made me." Then he doesn't just say, "God, you can get rid of evil out there. I want you to get rid of evil somewhere else." He says in verse 23. He ends in a similar but different way than he started.
He says, "Search me, God, and know my heart…" He started with, "You have searched me, Lord…" Now he says, "God, search me. Know my heart." "…test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me…" Any way that offends you. That's what the word offensive means. Any sinful way in me, God. And will you, "…lead me in the way everlasting."
He says, "You don't just have power over getting rid of the evil out there. I want you to get rid of the evil in here." He humbly turns to God. He does something that is interesting in that it is the opposite of what, oftentimes, people do. They don't invite God into, "Hey, I'm inviting you into my brokenness. I'm inviting you again, God. Come. Anything that's messed up in my life, I want to bring you in. Will you come in and will you help me? I'm inviting you in."
Oftentimes, our relationship with God is the opposite. Like, "I need to clean things up before I invite you in." Not long ago, we were having a birthday party for my daughter at our house. Anytime that happens, the experience that all of us go through is, or often people go through… If you're married, you'll for sure know what I'm talking about here. "Man, we need to set aside six hours to get everything clean. Every room, even if they're not going to go in there, we want it to look like no one has ever even lived here before because people are coming over."
We're stuffing things in closets. My wife is cleaning things. We're cleaning rooms nobody is going to walk into. She has candles lit in closets. People are not going to go in these. We're baking brownies. We never bake brownies. She is wearing an apron. I don't even know where we got that apron. It's like everything is next level. We have to clean because people are coming over.
We want to make sure that everything looks perfect. We're stuffing stuff in closets before they get here, which is so ironic and funny because it's like these are our family and community. These are like our closest people. We're like, "Everything is fine. This is how we always live…in an apron." I'm kidding. All right.
The point being as it relates to God, so many people spend their life and they live that way, where they think, "Man, if I'm going to have a relationship with God, I have to kind of clean things up and get it together and then present myself in a specific way." David says, "You don't know what God is like."
He says, "Search me, God. I'm inviting you into my brokenness. Come in, God. If there's anything broken in me. I'm inviting you into the darkest, worst, terrible, messed up, sinful things in my life. Come in, God. Come in. I'm inviting you in. Will you come in, God? I'm inviting you in. I'm inviting you in. I'm not pushing away. God, I want you to come in to wherever the place in my heart that is not yielded to you. If there's sin in my life, God, I'm inviting you in. I'm asking, don't leave me there. Don't leave that sin there. Will you lead me out of it in the way everlasting?"
David says, "You know, God, that's what you do." You invite the only one who can do anything about the marriage that feels like it's crumbling around you. You say, "Come in, God. Will you come in and help me?" He will help you with the pornography addiction and the shame that you carry from decisions in your past you haven't told anybody about. Maybe an affair that has marked you and you just hide it and you feel like, "I can't bring that."
David says, "No, no no. Come in, God. If there's anything that offends you, God, I'm inviting you again. Show it to me and don't leave me here. Lead me. Lead me. Lead me out of it, God." I know that when I read a psalm like this there are areas of my heart that think, "Man, I have to clean it up. I'm sure you're just a little bit disappointed."
David, the adulterer, murderer, was not a great example and not just those areas, all kinds of areas. It says, "Not me. I'm inviting the only one who can do anything about it. I'm inviting the one who, a thousand years after David would write these words, would come to die on a cross to deal with sin, once and for all and finally for anyone who will simply accept Jesus as their Lord, Savior, and payment for their sin.
He paid for you on that cross, and he came back alive. Anyone who accepts that will have sin forever dealt with and will have a relationship with the only one who can lead you and lead me out of any grievous and offensive way toward him in our life and our heart. I don't know where in the room you are, but God is saying that wherever, in the darkest spot, David would say, you invite him in. "God, come again. I'm inviting you in. I'm inviting you. Will you help me? Will you lead me?" Let me pray.
Father, thank you for the incredible, beautiful story of Psalm 139 and the incredible song that we are introduced to who you are. I thank you that, for those of us in Christ, we are never alone. We are fully known. We are fully loved. We are made on purpose. So God would you search us and would you reveal to us any way, anything that offends you? Will you deal with it? Will you help us? Don't leave us there, but lead us out of that. In your love and in your mercy, we worship you now in song. Amen.