Surrounded by God’s Grace – Psalm 139

Psalm 139, a psalm of David:

1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.  Psalm 139:1-6 NKJV

David tells us in Psalm 139 that the Lord not only cares about us, but He is also intimately familiar with all our thoughts and ways.  And knowing this, He still loves us anyway!

Unlike God, our first inclination is often towards selfishness and self-centeredness.  As one person jokingly put it, “I may not be much, but I am all I think about”.

This is certainly an exaggeration, but we see that God obsessively thinks about us, too.  Like parents of a newborn child or owner of a young pet, He rejoices when we take a healthy step forward and hurts when we become hurt or sick.  He will correct us from time to time, but only to help us towards a better future.  And when trouble and hard times come our way, He stays with us, and will deliver us through the dark valleys that living in a fallen world can bring.

It is amazing that we have an infinite God who invests the time, trouble, and energy to be concerned about each of one of us, moment by moment, even when we are asleep.  (Imagine watching someone sleep for several hours, non-stop!)

More than that, God has surrounded us with a hedge of protection, both in front of us and behind us.  He restores our lives as we turn away from the destructive choices we have made in the past, and gently leads us towards greener pastures, keeping us safe from many of the harms intended for us by forces of evil.  When we slip and fall, He picks us up, dusts us off and puts us back on the road to joyful living.  By doing this, He is grooming believers to form an eternal relationship with Him.

David’s Psalm 139 also describes the vastness of God’s presence throughout the earth and the physical and spiritual universe.  Like Jonah in the Old Testament, we can try to run and hide from God, but that is not even remotely possible.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend 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,10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.  Psalm 139:7-10 KJV

From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of Mars, from the heights of the spiritual heavens to the depths of Hades, there is no place we can hide from the presence of the Lord or be out of the reach of His love.  Wherever we are on the planet today, God is just as present on the opposite side of the earth as He is right here, right now.

It can be a frightening thought that God is so intimate with us.  We have all said, done and thought things that we are ashamed of, and wish we could do over again.

While it is not possible to change the past, God can change us moving forward, and with His hedge of protection, even guard us from much of our past.  The cross of Christ brings renewal and freedom, and forgiveness that flows like a river.  There may be consequences from some of our past wrongs, but God will work with us to get through them.  He will use our old weaknesses and failures to help others who are fighting similar battles today.

Broken relationships can be healed through His touch.  Some damaged relationships can become better than ever, others at least become civil and respectful.  But even if those we have hurt want nothing to do with us, they will be able to see how God’s love is changing us, making us more and more into the men or women that He created us to be.

Many of us have already lived in a “hell” of our own making, but our loving Creator was there with us, and can make a new and better life for us. He helps us one day at a time as we seek the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to walk in His footsteps.  He will continue to help each of us make progress as we follow Him. When we have setbacks or failures, we remember that only He can achieve total perfection.

Reflection

What progress can you see in your walk with God?  As a friend Mike once said, “I may not be what I want to be, but I am not who I used to be”.

What is one area or relationship in your life that you need God’s help to improve?  May He help each one of us today to take a step towards healthy progress with the gift of His renewal.

Lord, help us all to get up and keep moving forward in You again when we fail. We lean upon You and your lovingkindness and forgiveness. Keep Your hedges of protection in place around us and around our loved ones today.

Thought for the day: Nothing is wasted in God’s economy.

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