My Identity Reflects the Creator
1O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
3You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
7Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
12even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
17How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
19Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!
20They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain.
21Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
23Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
One way of meditating upon a passage is to look for key words that seem to populate the verbiage. It doesn’t take very many readings of this psalm to find that the primary concept embraced by David here is the fact that God has the power and inclination to search every part of our being. I think that is because His love for us demands an intimate knowledge of us. He knows far more about our identity than we know ourselves.
If you look for the words that indicate God’s work of discovering who we are, they pile up rather quickly.
· Search (3 times)
· Hem me in
· You are there
· Not hidden
· Saw me
David even acknowledges that God knew him before his birth, as he was being woven together in the womb. That is truly remarkable, and bears witness to the fact that we are fully loved human beings before we are even born. God watches our development beginning with conception! David begins with a limited understanding of the fact that God knows him perfectly and ends with asking God for an even deeper examination of his heart and mind. Because of all the reasons that fall between the beginning and the end, David knows that God has both the power to accomplish this and the love to do it kindly and effectively. It’s a bold prayer.
There is a goal to this prayer. I believe it is that we would become more and more a reflection of the God who so lovingly created us. If you look closely at a leaf, perhaps holding it up to the sunlight, you see in the veins of the leaf the image of the tree from which it fell. My prayer, as I meditate through this psalm, is that I would reflect the God who designed me in the womb and knows more about me than anyone else in the universe, including me. As David declares, “such knowledge is too wonderful for me.” Wrap that understanding in the overwhelming love of God, and you are standing on firm ground. Even though He knows every detail, both beautiful and ugly, He loves you – completely and unconditionally. He loves you so much He had to have you in eternity with Him and makes that possible through the death of His own dear Son. Such great love.