‘Lord, I’m an open book to you’ (Psalm 139)

A teenaged believer once confided in me of her terror of spiritual agoraphobia. ‘I’m not afraid to die, but I’m scared of an eternity in which I could never die.’ Apparently oblivion was preferable to heaven! By contrast, David expressed in Psalm 139:1-24 his delight in the reality of heaven’s immensity he experienced in his here-and-now.

  1. Enveloped in God in all time’s dimension (Psalm 139:1-6)

[] ‘You have searched me and [consequently] known me’ in the past (Psalm 139:1).

[] You know me now in the present (Psalm 139:2-3), not ‘my ups and downs’ but my ‘downs (‘when I sit’) and ups’ (‘when I rise’), because as always ‘you have kept the best wine until now’, John 2:10) – your last word in not death but resurrection!

[] You know me in the future (Psalm 139:4) and

[] ‘You hem me in’ past, future and now (‘behind’, ‘before’ and ‘your hand is upon me’, Psalm 139: 5).

[] ‘Such knowledge’ is beyond me (Psalm 139:6).

  1. Escape is not possible anywhere in created space (Psalm 139:7-12)

There’ no direction I can go and get lost, whether in heavens heights or Sheols depths; dawn’s east or the Mediterranean Seas west  (Psalm 139:9-10); night’s ‘darkness’ or day’s ‘light’ (Psalm 139:11-12).

  1. Elected for destiny from outside time and space (Psalm 139:13-16)

‘When you consider the moment of conception,’ wrote John O’Donohue, ‘there are endless possibilities. Yet in most cases only one child is conceived. This seems to suggest that a certain selectivity is already at work – a sheltering providence which dreamed you, created you and always minds you. You were not consulted on the major questions which shape your destiny: when you would be born, where you would be born, to whom you would be born. Your identity was not offered for your choosing. But, although destiny sets the outer frame of experience and life, freedom and creativity were given you to find and fill its inner form.’

‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made,’ was David’s response to this revelation.

  1. Enjoying this eternal, loving God (Psalm 139:17-18)

God’s thoughts towards him were not only ‘vast’ but valued (‘precious’)

  1. Exasperated at opponents of YHWH (Psalm 139:19-22)

That anyone should dare to violate such bliss was anathema to David and he wished God to rid the earth of all of them. One day he will.           

  1. Exposure to YHWH is therefore welcome (Psalm 139:23-24)

David seeks no novelty notions, ‘the ancient paths’ (Jeremiah 6:16) are good enough for him. His son wrote in Ecclesiastes that he had discovered that novelty is vacuous!

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