I Am Known
By Erin Bird
A few Sundays ago, I used Psalm 139:13-14 in my sermon. Psalm 139 is one of my favorite psalms. In their book No Matter What, No Matter Where, Larry Libby and Steve Halliday argue that Psalm 139 is the perfect psalm to guide Jesus-followers through times of transition. As we get ready to celebrate graduates transitioning to the next chapter, or simply transitioning from Spring to Summer over the next few weeks, it felt like now was a great time to look at this famous psalm.
So for the next three weeks, I am going to use Psalm 139 to help you remember that no matter what is happening around you and no matter where you find yourself, you are known, safe, and loved by God.
I Know You
In the movie version of J.R.R. Tokien’s famous The Two Towers, there is a scene where the wizard Gandalf releases King Theoden from being mind-controlled by the traitorous Saruman, As the “veil” seems to lift from his eyes and mind, Theoden sees his niece and says, “I know your face.” And then he remembers her name… Eowyn.
But in that moment, Theoden is not saying he recognizes his niece like you might recognize the face of a famous actor, athlete, or politician. He is saying, “I know you.” He had watched Eowyn grow from young girl to womanhood. He raised her like his own daughter when her parents passed. She was a dear, close relative whom he loved deeply.
This is what God says to you through the first six verses of Psalm 139. But rather than having the “veil” lifted from His eyes or mind, God writes these words to lift the veil from you so you might see just how deeply God knows you. Listen to them for yourself:
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.” (Psalm 139:1-6)
If you are like me, you probably skimmed right through those verses, whether because you are in a rush, or because you feel like you already know this psalm. So let me encourage you to slow down for a moment, and go back and read those six verses again, this time truly contemplating what God is communicating.
I see four things in these verses God knows about you:
1. God knows your past
Good counselors ask good questions of their patients. Many of their questions aim to help the counselor “search” through the person’s past in order to know them so that they can then counsel them.
When David says God “searches” him, David recognizes that God knows his past– the good, the bad, and the ugly. And yet, rather than act embarrassed, David seems overwhelmed in a good way (“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me!”). God sees and knows all the mistakes of David’s past, and yet God loves him.
All of us need people in our lives who know our junk, and yet still accept us. We long to be known. Psalm 139 shows us that God knows our past, so therefore knows us perfectly.
2. God knows your present
But God doesn’t just see David’s past, he sees his present – his sitting down, his rising up, his day-to-day activities.
On the evenings when the Bird family is able to sit down at the dinner table all together, we typically ask one another, “So how was your day?” Knowing each other’s daily activities helps us continue to know one another and stay connected.
God does this even more perfectly than your closest friend. No matter what you are going through, He is right there with you. So if you have a wonderful moment – praise Him! And if you are struggling – tell Him. He knows your present circumstance even better than you.
3. God knows your future
Notice David says God knows his path. This means God knows the path he’s been on (the past), where he currently is on the path (his present), but also God knows where he is headed on the path (his future).
To show this truth further, David says God knows what David is going to say before the words are even on his lips. That’s how well God knows him!
This means God knows what is going to happen to you during this next hour, the rest of today, tomorrow, next week, next year, and more. This should bring comfort to you! (We’ll talk about being “safe” next week.)
4. God truly knows you
Lastly, I just want to point out that because God knows your past, present, adn future, He trulyknows you. He doesn’t just have a vague awareness of your existence. He doesn’t know you like a boy who “knows” his idol. He truly know you– the real you.
And what blows David away (and I hope blows you away) is that this type of intimate knowledge means God truly and deeply loves him – and even likes him! (We will talk more about God’s love in two weeks).
So may you rest this week in the truth the God truly knows you, loves you, and even likes you!