What is it that makes us feel comfortable around our closest friends? You know what I mean, so comfortable that we can just sit back, relax and even take our shoes off? Give up? It’s that they know us. And I’m not just talking about knowing our name, age and favorite color. No, it’s much deeper that that. This small group of friends and family know us through and through. The good, the bad… and yes, even the ugly! And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Each of us was born with a deep longing to be known, to be understood and ultimately to be accepted. And while all of us have important people in our lives that know us deeply, there is someone who knows us infinitely more than our closest friends ever could.
In Psalm 139:1-4 King David describes the depth of God’s knowledge of each one of us. Not only is He aware of our comings and goings, He is even familiar with all our thoughts!
1 You have searched me, Lord,
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, Lord, know it completely.
The knowledge described in these verses seems to fit the description of one of two possible characters: it sounds like either an unusual curiosity fueled by the malicious intent of a stalker or an intense desire to know someone driven by the love of a parent or spouse.
So which is it? Is God an ambivalent, or worse, malicious intruder in our lives that we can’t shake or is He our loving creator and father who desires a relationship with us?
Our answer to this question is crucial, for it will define our outlook on life and quite possibly determine our destiny.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain. (Psalm 139:5-6)
The key to understanding God’s intentions towards us is found in Psalm 139:5, which states that God lays His hand upon us.
What exactly does this mean?
In scripture God’s hand is used in many ways:
To create – The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (Psalm 19:1)
To provide – You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:16)
To judge – “You who have forsaken Me,” declares the LORD, “You keep going backward So I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am tired of relenting! (Jeremiah 15:6)
To strengthen – ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10)
And to defend and save – Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. (Psalm 138:7)
In verse 6 David says that knowing that God’s hand is upon his life is so wonderful that he can’t even comprehend it. Yes, that means that God will judge or punish us at times, but it means so much more than that. God, who created us with His own hands, uses those same hands to provide for us, to strengthen us, to defend us and to save us!
When we know someone well, we let them get close to us, so close, in fact, that they are at times, just an arm’s length away. That is what amazes David in this Psalm and what should amaze us as well. God created us, He knows us, and if we let Him, He will draw close to us, so close that His hand will rest upon us.
Yes, God knows everything about us, but more than that, He cares for us and desires a relationship with us. One that can only be realized when we invite Him to draw near to us. And when we do, we shouldn’t be surprised to see evidence of His hand working in our lives to strengthen, protect, provide, defend and save!