The Omniscience of God – Psalm 139:1-6

God Knows Everything That Transpires Throughout His Creation

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.
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.

Scrupulous Search

David, the Psalmist, regales his understanding of God’s omniscient character.  He first acknowledges that God searches us out to know everything about us.  In another Psalm, he acknowledges that God tests us by day and even by night:

Though you probe my heart,
though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil;
my mouth has not transgressed.

God, being perfect, is completely thorough as he searches us out.  David lists several aspects of this search, and the resulting knowledge from the search, that God learns and knows about us.

Perfect Perception

God, being omnipresent, is a witness to everything that transpires in His creation – the universe.  Nothing escapes His attention.  God is completely aware of our every action, and is interested even in the minutest details of what goes on in our lives.  His love is so encompassing, that He wants to know every detail of our activity.  He even pays attention to when we get up and sit down.  His vastness of love ensures that He is aware of even those things that we consider trivial.  He perceives all things, and especially pays attention to all of our ways.  Just as human parents watch their young children, waiting for the “magic moments” when they achieve the next big “mile stone”, such as crawling, so does  our Heavenly Father, with great delight, watch over all that we do as well.

Transparent Thoughts

And it is not just what we do that interests our Heavenly Father, but also what we think.  God has given us amazing minds to perceive and create.  We are truly image-bearers of God, displaying to the world and the angelic realm the glory and the creativity of our Creator.  God especially pays attention to our thoughts (something that no other created being can do):

For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

But don’t be deceived.  The enemy of our souls has been carefully watching mankind for at least the last six thousand years.  As as the writer of Ecclesiastes states, “there is nothing new under the sun.”  Our enemy has us “pegged” because they have been relentlessly watching us and probing us as well.  And just as Ivan Pavlov examined and conditioned his subjects, so does our enemy know our strengths and weaknesses.  You can learn a lot by observing someone, and even accurately predict what they will do given certain situations and circumstances.  But you don’t actually know what they are thinking; you are just able to make an educated guess.

God, on the other hand, already knows what our thoughts will be before we even have them.  So careful and involved is He in His creation, He leaves nothing to “chance” but knows all things.

Heavenly Hedge

The Psalmist, David, recognizes the sovereign hand of God upon his life.  He sees how God plays an active role in his protection.  God also hems David in to both protect David from others, as well as to guide David to where he should be going.  Paul experienced something similar to this as well:

6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Unattainable Understanding

As David reviews his thoughts on the knowledge and character of God, he openly admits that such knowledge is too wonderful for him to even being to comprehend.  Since such knowledge is so vast and incomprehensible, David does not even try to attain it.  He merely acknowledges that God is just that good, that full of love, and that wonderful.  And He praises God for in song, and even this song (for the Psalms are songs).

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Are we still amazed at the character and vastness of God through observation of Him and His creation?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, knowledge of You is too wonderful for me.  You reveal Yourself to me through Your Spirit, and it overwhelms me when I think about how vast and great You are.  Help me to always see You in this light so that I would not take You for granted.  Help me to ponder Your goodness and grace, seeking out nuance after nuance, that I might participate in Your character, and know You better.  Give me the ability and the strength to walk in the ways You have already revealed to me about You, so that I would better represent You as Your image-bearer.  Show me wonderful things in Your word, and help me to treasure them in my heart.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


Note: This blog has been edited to reflect the proper Psalm # in the title.

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