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With New Testament Eyes: 67 - The Observer and the Observed

By Henry Mahan


      Psalm 139

      There is nothing more dishonoring to God nor a greater denial of the very character of God than for us, in his name, to pretend to be what we are not, to use words that are not sincere and which do not come from the heart, and to do works of religion for the admiration and applause of men (1 Sam. 16:7; Luke 16:15). The Lord Jehovah knows us, understands us, and is intimately acquainted with our persons, nature, and character. It is so important that we know the God who knows us! (John 17:3; 1 John 5:20; 2 Tim. 1:12.) There is nothing in us that God does not know.

      v. 1. I am a very small part of this universe; yet the Lord knows me as thoroughly as if he had examined me minutely, as if he had searched me individually with his sovereign eye. This infallible knowledge has always existed, for he has searched me. It is 'Jehovah and me.' With him I have to do (Heb. 4:13).

      vv. 2-4.

      1. He knows all my movements--'downsitting and uprising,' whether I sit down to read, watch television, write, or rise up to walk, work, or play.

      2. He knows all my thoughts--what they have been, what they are now, and what they will be.

      3. He knows my actions--he encircles me whether awake or asleep and is acquainted with my ways, my motives, my purposes.

      4. He knows my words--Yea, there has never been a word of my tongue that is not registered in the mind of God. He knows these words 'altogether'--the source of them, the reason for them, and the results of them.

      v. 5. God not only beholds us but he besets us. He surrounds us and hems us in. There is no escape, for he is before and behind us; and lest one thinks that his surrounding presence is distant, he adds, 'And laid thy hand upon me' (John 17:2) to deal with in mercy or judgment. (e.g. Pharaoh, Rom. 9:17; Paul, Acts 9:15.)

      v. 6. The omnipotence, the omniscience, and the omnipresence of God are too wonderful for me to understand. The wisdom, the glory, the holiness of God are far too high for me. At my most enlightened height his every attribute is higher than the heavens above me (Rom. 11:33-36).

      1. The attributes of God make sure his promises, yet they are too high for me.

      2. The incarnation of Christ is the most complete manifestation of God, yet unexplainable.

      3. Redemption by the death of Christ is the highest guarantee of our salvation, but who can explain it?

      4. The resurrection will satisfy the highest hope of sinners, but no one knows the mystery of it.

      5. How do you account for his inspired word? the power of his gospel? 'O, that I may know him and the power of his resurrection.'

      vv. 7-12. Notice how the Psalmist makes this matter personal to himself. If aware of my sin, full of fear at the presence of the most high God, desiring to escape that confrontation with his holiness, where shall I go? Where shall I flee? The highest, the deepest, the remotest are all his dwelling places. Darkness and light are both alike to God!

      v. 13. God owns me! He not only observes me and knows me, but he is the owner and Lord of my innermost parts. Even hidden in my mother's womb he covered me. In my most secret parts (my reins) and in my most secret condition (yet unborn) I am under the ownership and control of my God.

      vv. 14-16. I would not be dogmatic here, but it appears that David turns from the observer to the observed, from marveling at the mysteries of God to rejoicing in the mercies of God. 'I will praise thee.'

      1. 'I am fearfully and wonderfully made,' and this is true of me in my fourfold state: (a) created in Adam, (b) fallen in Adam and born in sin, (c) regenerated in Christ, and (d) glorified forever. Marvelous are the works of our God.

      2. 'My substance (my being, my frame, my life) was known to you when I was conceived and formed in my mother's womb' (Jer. 1:5).

      3. You saw me, loved me, knew me, and in your book of life and purpose my name was written; and my life and days were recorded even when there were none! (John 10:14-16, 27-29; Eph. 1:3-7.) God has predestinated all whom he has foreknown to be perfectly conformed to the image of his Son, before they were born or even the world began (Rom. 8:28-31). How shall a Jewish boy ever sit upon the throne in Egypt? God knows!

      vv. 17-18. 'How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God!' God knows our thoughts of ourselves and of him, and they are by nature only evil continually. But his thoughts toward us are love and grace. What can I say?

      1. It is marvelous that God should even think upon us.

      2. It is marvelous that his thoughts are not evil toward us.

      3. It is more marvelous and precious that his thoughts toward us are more than the sand in the desert and on the ocean floor.

      I go to my bed rejoicing in thy mercies to me, and when I awake 'I am still with thee.' Soon we shall lie down to sleep for the last time; and when we awake, we shall awake in his likeness (Psalm 17:15).

      vv. 19-22. Just as surely as God will redeem his elect, he will slay the wicked! Eternal death out of Christ is as sure as eternal life in Christ. These wicked men have two great offenses: (1) they speak against God, and (2) they carelessly use his name in vain. This is done in religion as much as in the dens of iniquity.

      David adds, 'God's enemies are my enemies' (Rev. 19:1-3).

      vv. 23-24. I do not want to be among his enemies. I want to think reverently and thankfully of my God. I want to own, revere, and praise his name. Lord, search me, try me, redeem me, and lead me in the way of Christ, which is the way everlasting. I must be led in that way, for by nature I neither know it nor desire it.

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant

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