If you’ve ever been a part of a large organization, such as a multibillion-dollar corporation or a governmental agency or a large university, it’s unlikely you’ve ever met the people at the top of the leadership chain. You heard their names and read their announcements, but you probably didn’t know them personally. And they undoubtedly wouldn’t have known you from any other person in the organization. So, it’s only natural to wonder if the supreme ruler of the universe has the slightest idea who you are.
In the first four verses of Psalm 139, the psalmist gives us sufficient information to reveal that God is omniscient. He knows everything, as stated in verses 1–4:
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.
The inspired songwriter says that God searches him. The Hebrew term that led to this translation originally meant “to explore,” and it sometimes conveyed the idea of digging into or digging through something. The thought is that God explores, digs into, and examines us through and through. God “digs” us! In the next sentence David pictures himself in two phases of life—passive (sitting down) and active (rising up). Our most common and casual moments are completely familiar to our Lord.
Furthermore, even our thoughts are an open book. We can see thoughts enter people’s heads as their faces “light up” or in some other way telegraph the entrance of ideas. We can hear thoughts as they leave people’s minds through their mouths. But we cannot see what happens between the entrance and the exit. God can. In fact, God understands what prompts us to think certain thoughts. He therefore understands the hidden, unspoken motives behind our words and actions.
Years ago my wife, Cynthia, and I bought our small children an “Ant City.” It was a plastic ant bed filled with a narrow sheet of sand, built out of transparent material that allowed us to watch the inner workings of the insects. Normally, all we can see in an ant bed in the ground are these busy little creatures crawling in and out of their holes. But this ant city allowed us to watch what happened after the ants went into their holes—we could watch these small insects as they journeyed through their tunnels. That is exactly what verse 2 is saying about our thought-life before God. He monitors the entire process. Nothing is unknown or hidden from Him.
How well does God know us? The first four verses of Psalm 139 tell us that He could not possibly know us any better! Just in case the grind of insignificance is still doing a number on you, ponder this: we are the objects of the ruler of the universe’s loving attention every moment of every day. . . including this one.
About the Contributors
Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word and His grace. A pastor at heart, Chuck has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. His leadership as president and now Chancellor Emeritus of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and his wife Cynthia, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.