*Below is Pastor Andrew’s teaching outline from Sunday’s sermon, not a word for word manuscript. This is meant as aid in seeing the thought and direction of the sermon.
For the last three summers we have taken 8 weeks to dive into the psalms and be encouraged by the truth of who God is and reflect on the historical songs of the faith.
This Summer we purposely selected Psalms reflecting on different attributes of God. Each elder was tasked with proclaiming the reality of who God is to us each week from these Psalms.
Palms this Summer:
Psalm 33 Sam The Power of God
Psalm 50 Jason The Beauty of God
Psalm 90 Darley The Independence of God
Psalm 99 Bill The Greatness of God
Psalm 103 Joel The Goodness of God
Psalm 135 Sam The Renown of God
Psalm 136 Chad The Steadfast Love of God
This week we bring it all together with one of the most famous psalms: Psalm 139
Intro Text: 4 stanzas of 4 each with 2 concluding/transition statements
No Date given
Attributed here to David
Beautifully written psalm which is both praise and lament.
Now what is interesting and as we dive into the text you will see this more clearly is the fact that we all may be very familiar with the first 18 verses, but the final 6 are often left out of most of our memories.
It’s like an old left eye Lucy verse from don’t go chasing waterfalls, You only get to hear it on the album the radio edit always cut it out.
Or for most of us who grew up in a church with hymns the skipped verses from many classics. Especially Charles Wesley.
Either the songs are too long or we just don’t like the flow of the verses we omit them and move on, Psalm 139 can suffer a very similar case:
We love 139, because it shows us attributes of God that are wonderful and caring towards his own, we don’t like 19-24 because the are less warm and cuddly and more harsh and brutal. Yet they are together as one, and it is not an accident.
This great psalm of about the wonderful nature of our God is not only a song of praise but of lament. It is one that begins with the reality that God knows us intimately and ends with the prayer that he will know us more deeply and lead us well towards himself.
So let us begin unpacking this wonderful Psalm reflecting on God’s Wondrous Attributes:
I. Gods’ Wondrous Attributes (1-18)
A. He is Omniscient (1-6)
Psalm 139:1–6 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.
Omniscience is the all knowing nature of God.
Our text begins with the reality that God has searched David and Knows Him intimately
There are few people in our lives that truly know us, most of us who are married are still learning new things everyday about our spouses.
I mean think about the person who you talk to the most, who you send the most time with, who sees who at your best and worst. then ask how much do they know you?
Even more how much do you know yourself.
There is a depth to God’s knowledge of our inner being. He knows the depths of our hearts. He knows what we truly mean with the words we say. He is not conned by our smooth talk or many words:
Ecclesiastes 5:1–2 ESV
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.
Matthew 6:7–8 ESV
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
God Knows who we truly are,
Deut. instruct the people of Israel to teach the truth of who he is at all times. He is to be the words that never cease to flow from their mouths, and here we have similar language connected to God’s knowledge of David.
Deuteronomy 6:5–7 ESV
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
SO in this opening aspect of God’s divine attributes we should be amazed at the reality that the god of the universe Knows us. David finds in mystery beyond his comprehension. It for him though is not a fearful thought but one of a loving and compassionate God who wants to Know His people.
The Beauty of this Psalms continues though to grow as we move from His knowledge to his presences.
B. He is Omnipresent (7-12)
Psalm 139:7–12 ESV
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, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
Our God is all around us.
This is not to say God is everything in some eastern philosophical way
David here points out too realities, we cannot run from God & God is always present to sustain us.
1. Jonah is a great biblical example of this Psalm. For what we see is Jonah didn’t understand this truth.
2. The Great Commission
Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus is with us always.
So we both have the promise that not matter what befalls us God is with us, and in the midst of our own rebellion there is no where w can flee from Him.
So stop fleeing and turn back to hIm.
All the more as we see God’s Attributes brought to their conclusion in our text with His all powerful nature.
C. He is Omnipotent (13-18)
Psalm 139:13–18 ESV
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 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 precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
Here we come face to face with the most prominent section of the Psalm.
What is most intriguing is he expresses the awesome and transformational power fo God, not by discussing the wonders of the galaxies or the beauty of the natural creation, but in the tender intimacy of God’s work crafting him.
He thinks deeply on the formation of his own life and how it was the hand of God crafting him together.
It was the hand of God writing th story of his life.
It is God who writes the story of our lives from beginning to end he is the one who has written our steps.
Revelation 13:8 ESV
and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
From Before the foundations of the World God was at work bringing salvation to His people.
There is comfort knowing that each day is not a mistake, God is not sleeping on the job. rather it is al part of His grand plan. From the joys to the sorrows. They are all working together for the Glory of God and the ultimate joy of His children.
Adam will unpack this more next week in Romans 8:17-27, but even our suffering is part of Gods work, but when compared ot ht eglory of being with God it is as nothing. a momentary light affliction.
And in all this there is the truth that we also don’t understand it all.
Why would he do this
Why would he save us
Why would God have mercy on us to bring us even into existence, and offer us eternity with him.
Or even better yet Himself.
For as the text concludes it is in the wonder and beauty of Gods thoughts:
In David’s Day they had the Torah, now we have the full revelation of God in the Scriptures and more fully in the True and Living Word Christ.
First we have the gift to marvel at the scriptures:
Hebrews 4:11–13 ESV
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Second the Son:
John 1:14 ESV
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Theses are some wonderful truths to behold:
The knowledge, presence, and power of God
Transition: The psalm here makes a very abrupt Shift: What was this wondrous song of the attributes of God, how the most transcendent and all powerful creator of the universe intimately knows us, turns towards a lament towards God in reflecting on the continued existence of evil and the wicked.
The conclusion to this PSalm is an accurate reflection of the Psalmist heart when reflecting on the who God is and how well God knows him and watches over him.
The Psalmist in the midst of proclaiming who God is responded with a declaration of from His own heart fro God to know Him more, to lead him more, and to examine his heart and ensure that it is right and pure.
So in this we see our own proper response to who God is.
These final 4 verses are a wonderful summation of our response to a Summer spent examining the wonder and beauty of our God.
II. Our Due Response (19-24)
A. Flee the Wicked (19-20)
Psalm 139:19–20 ESV
Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain.
Isn’t his our first response with Sin. I hope it is. Oh that it was no more. Lord slay the wicked get it far from me. In the book of Joshua the wicked people were left in the land by God to encourage the people to rightfully purse him in righteousness. They became a snare to turn people back to God.
Here we understand the fact that being surrounded by the wicked leads us to temptation and we would wish it banished from us, yet we know:
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Hebrews 4:15 ESV
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Sin wants to destroy us as His children. We must be on guard and prepared to wrestle against sin we must flee from sin like Jospeh in Potiphar’s house.
Not only does our sing reflect a desire for God to do away with the wicked and for David himself to call them all away. but it looks now to his heart towards this wickedness.
B. Hate Evil (21-22)
Psalm 139:21–22 ESV
Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
The song being sung reflects now the righteous indignation flaring up in side David. How can the wicked stand before such a great god.
The beauty of God sung about in the first 18 verses leads David to anger at those who would hate God. How can they do such a thing look at how great and power He is, yet we are reminded that the wicked and righteous are in God’s control. He will judge the living and the dead in His time, yet for us it is a reality that we should hate wickedness. The apostle Paul says it should not be named along the believers.
The conclusion of the text brings focus to these words for christ tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. What then does this mean. In light of the whole of scripture we continue to see there must remain in us a hatred towards sin. Evil is the enemy seeking our ruin. The apostle continually remind us to flee from sin and turn to the cross. Repent and believe it’s not just the first step in the faith it is the road of the faith.
the ultimate source of these things come from our hearts, which is why we see the conclusion of the psalm isn’t for God to destroy those who David hates, but rather for God to seek deeper into David’s heart and life.
C. Seek God all the More (23-24)
Psalm 139:23–24 ESV
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
David began by singing that he was known, and now concludes with asking God to knowing him more. This is especially relevant coming off of the previous four verses.
In the midst of his anger and sin and wickedness, His anger against those who hate god, there is a pause and a reflecting that his own heart needs to be still purified by God.
Who is our anger on behalf of God or ourselves. Is there a long the size of the moon sticking out of our eye while we heap condemnation over someone toothpick.
David want’s God to continue to search his heart lead him forward on the path of righteousness and on the way to everlasting.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The wonder for us again is the reality of the gift of Christ who promised he would.
We vile broken people have been loved by the all powerful all knowing God.
Not only were we loved, but in his perfect plan, he sacrificed his own son for our salvation. His hatred of Sin lead him to sacrifice and redemption.
For those who have repented and believed turned to him seeking he way of everlasting these realizes are all the more true. The words of Davids should be an encouragement for you in every season of life.
For those who do not believe the words of this Psalm are a condemnation against you. For the words are true and the great god of the universe knows you, and you cannot Hide from him, and in time judgment will come, but until then hope remains.