The God who is there: Psalm 139


Today’s reading: Psalms 133-139.

When Francis Schaeffer published The God Who Is There in 1968, he argued the existence of God and God’s truth against the modernism which denied any possibility of absolute truth outside the scientific realm. Fortunately for the Psalmist, he knew the truth of God’s existence personally and by his own experience. God was there for the Psalmist.

He was in every “where.”

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. Psalm 139:7-10

He was in every “when.”

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

He knew every “what.”

Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

He knew the Psalmist.

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me… For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thanks to God’s word, and with a little help from Schaeffer, we know the absolute truth of God’s existence. More than that, we know he is a personal God who knows me.

As though we were caught in an ambush, or besieged by an army which has wholly beleaguered the city walls, we are surrounded by the Lord. God has set us where we be, and beset us wherever we be. Behind us there is God recording our sins, or in grace blotting out the remembrance of them; and before us there is God foreknowing all our deeds, and providing for all our wants. We cannot turn back and so escape him, for he is behind; we cannot go forward and outmarch him, for he is before. He not only beholds us, but he besets us; and lest there should seem any chance of escape, or lest we should imagine that the surrounding presence is yet a distant one, it is added,—And laid thine hand upon me. The prisoner marches along surrounded by a guard, and gripped by an officer. God is very near; we are wholly in his power; from that power there is no escape. It is not said that God will thus beset us and arrest us, but it is done—”Thou hast beset me.” – Charles Spurgeon

[in Christianity] there is a sufficient basis for morals. Nobody has ever discovered a way of having real “morals” without a moral absolute. If there is no moral absolute, we are left with hedonism (doing what I like) or some form of the social contract theory (what is best for society as a a whole is right). However, neither of these alternatives corresponds to the moral notions that men have. Talk to people long enough and deeply enough, and you will find that they consider some things are really right and some things are really wrong. Without absolutes, morals as morals cease to exist, and humanistic man starting from himself is unable to find the absolute he needs. But because the God of the Bible is there, real morals exist. Within this framework I can say one action is right and another wrong, without talking nonsense. – Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There

Image by Waiting for the Word on Flickr, CC by 2.0

2 thoughts on “The God who is there: Psalm 139

  1. Pingback: Songs for Pilgrims: Psalm 120 – Proverbs 9 | Bible in a Year Blog

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