Sunday, October 26, 2014

Psalm 139

I realized today that our baby's due date is a mere seven weeks away. SEVEN. WEEKS. Michael and I have spent a fair amount of time recently marveling at the kicks and squirms and other kinds of movements the baby seems to be practicing these days. Dance parties at approximately 6:30 AM seem to be a regular thing now - which, when I think about it, is much better than a 2:30 AM party (which has happened in the past, but seems to be a habit that has been broken). Those little pokes, jabs and rolls remind me of how incredible the gift of life is, but although I have a connection with my baby, I do not have any idea who he/she really is. What will his/her personality be like? Introvert or extrovert? Cuddly? Talkative or quiet? Active or passive? Easygoing or high strung? What will be his/her favorite food/activity/etc? There's so many things that are fun to speculate and think about. We do not know now, but ultimately we'll find the answers to these questions with time.

You can probably see where this is going. 

Psalm 139 has always been a passage that is close to my heart. It is familiar. It is comforting. In those times where I had no idea what was going on around me, I could rest in the fact that there is One who knows it all, since before the beginning. As an expectant mother, though, the words of this psalm have taken on an extra layer of meaning. I'd like to share a few of those thoughts with you now.

Psalm 139 (ESV)
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.

My Creator knows everything about me. He knows my movements, no matter whether I'm staying or going, sitting, standing, or lying. He knows my thoughts before they even become thoughts in my head. He is not only with me, but he surrounds me with himself. No matter which way I go, I am not alone. The depth of his love, the intimacy of his knowledge - I cannot even begin to fathom any of these things. 

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, 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.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

Even if I tried to get away, I could not do so.  His presence is above and below, in all directions, in the light and dark. The things that might hide me from other people can never hide me from the presence of God.

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your 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.

How is it that God knows me so well? He created me. This, friends, is the part that gets to me now. My Creator not only knows me, but he knows my child. The darkness of the womb is not darkness to our God - he knows the kicks, flips, and squirms of this baby even before the baby makes those moves. Why? Because my child's frame is not hidden from God. He has orchestrated the creation and growth of this little one's body, down to every hair that may or may not be on this child's head. God has not only known and understood this baby since his/her conception, but He knows the steps this child will take through life. He knows how many days this child will live, even though the child has not yet taken his/her first breath. Incredible.

 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.

If God values our thoughts enough to know them so intricately, how much should we also value and seek to know our Creator? Whether we wake or sleep, our God is with us. How much of that time do we spend seeking his thoughts? How much of that time do we spend praising our God, reflecting on his characteristics and what he's done for us, and valuing that relationship?

 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.

 On the flip side, what is our response when others speak against our Creator? Do we value our relationship with our creator enough to be upset about those who speak against it? In all honesty, I have a difficult time with the hatred and strong language in this section. I've always wondered why the psalmist couldn't just leave this part out. Why can't we focus just on the happy parts of the psalm? But, in reality, the God who created us and knows us more intimately than we know ourselves is also a God of justice. Should we not also fight for that justice? It's worth thinking about, at least.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

May God continue to know my heart - both the good and the bad things about it. May he lead me down the path of righteousness. I pray the same for my baby, not knowing whether he/she has conscious thoughts or not. May the Spirit be at work in this child's heart and life, from before now until the very end, and may this child follow God's calling and be filled with His love.

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