By Henry Law
All things are naked and open to the omniscience of God. His presence is all-pervading. Suitable prayer concludes the hymn.
1-5. "O Lord, You have searched me, and known me. You know my down-sitting and my uprising; You understand my thought afar of. You compass my path, and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have beset me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me."
God's all-seeing eye and all-pervading presence are indisputable. His thorough knowledge of all the events in which we are intermixed, His close reading of every movement of the inner man, His observation of the characters, His distinct perception of every thought, of every word and deed, of every step taken, of every wish conceived, are acknowledged truths. Never do we come in or go out, never do we rise or sit down, but His eye marks us. Our lips never open, no utterance ever sounds, but His all-hearing ear discerns the significance. A recording book is written. We are always surrounded by His power, and never can escape His hand.
6. "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it."
This knowledge is quite infinite, and therefore cannot be comprehended by finite mind. We can only ponder, wonder, and adore. But when duly pondered, what comfort springs to the believer! Amid all his countless transgressions, he knows that he desires to walk at each moment in the faith and fear of God, and his constant prayer is, Lord, what will You have me do? Thus he thinks on God, and peace is his soft pillow.
7-12. "Where shall I go from Your Spirit? or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yes, the darkness hides not from You; but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You."
No terms can fully describe God's omnipotence. There is no spot in heaven or earth which He does not fill. There is no covert which affords concealment. He sits above the highest heavens. He descends below the lowest depths.
Alas! the folly of poor blinded man, who deceives himself by hopes that he can elude discovery. His every step is in the clear light of God's countenance. The day is near when all shall be proclaimed. Oh! that the Holy Spirit would write this truth with power on our minds! The thought would operate as a strong warning against sin. The check would constantly operate, "how can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?"
13-16. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, our eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
God's thorough knowledge of us and all our ways is patent from His creative power. Before we breathed, His will arranged our incipient being. What mechanism can be more exquisite in all its parts than the formation of our bodies! Divine skill is manifested in the design of its innumerable members. Wonder is exhausted in the contemplation. Select any part, it proclaims that infinite wisdom devised the plan, and infinite power brought it to perfection. Can this great Creator not have most intimate acquaintance with the beings which He thus formed?
17-18. "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You."
There is much transport in the knowledge that God thinks on us. If we cannot escape His observant eye, so too we cannot be hidden from His vigilant love. He loved His people before their bodies were framed, and never has His love relaxed. The value of this knowledge is inestimable, even as the multitude of His thoughts exceed enumeration. The child of God delightedly ponders this truth throughout his waking hours. They attend him until he closes his eyes in nightly repose, and when perception again returns, and the mind resumes its exercise, the same truth continues to gladden.
19-22. "Surely You will slay the wicked, O God; depart from me therefore, you bloody men. For they speak against You wickedly, and Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate those, O Lord, who hate You? and am not I grieved with those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies."
When we remember how great is God's love, and how countless His fatherly thoughts, the mind mournfully turns to those who have no part in this precious portion. Alas! there are many who must be reckoned as haters of God. Terrible, indeed, is their doom. It is denounced, "Bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me." If their steps are in the way of destruction, surely we shall refuse to walk with them. Love to God will estrange from all who hate Him.
23-24. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Faith boldly calls upon God to thoroughly investigate the heart, and to search its recesses with the lamp of divine truth. The desire glows, that every detected error may be slain, and that the feet may be guided into the way of eternal life. May this be our constant prayer, and may the outcome of our walk through life be the heavenly home and the joys at God's right hand forevermore!