I suspect you know this verse. You might even have it printed on your coffee cup or tattooed on your forearm. But have you really thought about what it means?
You see in this verse God not only exposes one of his most glorious benefits – he never leaves us, but he also exposes his very heart.
It’s easy to simply see this promise like manufacturer guarantee stamped on the side of some packaging “NEVER LEAVES OR FORSAKES!” — but when we make this claim so impersonal we loose much of the power of it.
This psalm has a special context. Here David intentionally focuses our eyes on our personal relationship with God.
(Take a second and check out all the really individual ways he thinks about God – “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!”, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb”.)
David is marvelling here not about God’s faithfulness to Israel, but his personal faithfulness to David himself.
Now really think about that. God is always with you.
He’s not there because he has to be. Not because he signed some cosmic Godly contract that requires he show up between 8-5, five days a week.
He’s knocking on your door daily! Waiting and asking and longing to interact and be with you!
You think I’m kidding?! Look at the way he describes himself in relationship to you.
He says he’s a nursing mother and you are his newborn baby (Isaiah 49:15)
He says he’s a proud father and you are his son (2 Corinthians 6:18)
He says he’s a groom and you’re the bride he’s waiting to marry (The whole of Song of Solomon)
Those are not passive pictures!
Can you imagine what a mother would feel like if she was never allowed time with her baby? Or a loving father his children? Or a husband his wife?
And yet, if you’re like me, I never think God might miss me.
In fact, it’s the easiest thing in the world, when life is full and easy, to just put him off for another day. To fly through some bible reading while writing a grocery list in my head.
Or when life is hard, to turn away in guilt. To pray less and seek less so I don’t have to look at the mess I’ve made of things.
But take heart.
He stands by you, calling out to you, longing for you to turn back to him so that he can show to you the great joy found in the presence of God.
Where is your life feeling overwhelming or frustrating? Situations seeming impossible? Problems seeming unsolvable? Your strength is failing?
Where do you feel isolated or afraid? Where do you feel unheard or uncared for?
How would your view change if you believed that God was there beside you? If you believed he was interested in your situation?
Do you have a friend around? Maybe give them a call, and have them pray with you. You’d be shocked how much that can sweeten an already sweet time.
Take some time to look through Psalm 139 (we’ve posted it below).
Share in the comments what parts encourage you the most.
Take a peek at your memory verse!
How’s that going for you? If you haven’t had a chance to pick up your desktop(/iphone/android/ipad) download, you can find them all here.
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You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I 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.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.