Summer Daily Devotional - Psalm 131
Beautiful and Brutally Honest
As we bring our Summer Bible reading and devotional series to a close, I’m grateful for the opportunity we’ve had to let God’s Word shape and form our thoughts and daily lives. I’ve greatly enjoyed and benefited from the thoughts and reflections of the entire team of writers. Thank you!
Our final daily reading is found in Psalm 139—another well-known and well-loved Psalm. And a fitting final Word.
Psalm 139 is filled with oft-quoted and familiar phrases. My own Bible has several hand-written markings in it around Psalm 139.
The title is boxed in and the word “Intimacy!” is written across the top.
God knows us intimately. This can be both comforting and concerning, depending on your relationship with sin at any given moment!
The point? He knows.
He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our every movement. Every thought. Every action. Every word—even before it’s on our tongue.
David acknowledges, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” In other words, it blows the circuits of human understanding because we are so incredibly limited and finite and God is entirely unlimited and infinite.
It leaves David with the appropriate conclusion… “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”
The rhetorical answer? Nowhere.
God not only knows us intimately and completely now…but He knew us before He created us.
Untold numbers of human lives have been saved by the powerful and beautiful words of Psalm 139:13-16:
“13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 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.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.”
There it is… the definitive case for the sanctity of the unborn and all human life.
You. Me. Every human life.
The most intimate, vulnerable, and sacred beginning of human beings, personally formed and fashioned in the image of God.
It is truly breath-taking.
God intends for us to feel both known AND loved by His intimate and personal knowledge of each one of us.
But the Psalm doesn’t end there. And where the Bible speaks, God speaks. So we need to keep reading. We need to let the entire Psalm shape and form our thinking and understanding.
We can’t just cherry-pick the parts we like and avoid the rest.
Make no mistake, for any true follower of Jesus, the attack on God’s image and human life in that secret place is an unspeakable atrocity.
David doesn’t shy away from the horror of the evil that attacks God’s image and sheds innocent blood.
Just three verses later, he vents his frustration and anger toward such wickedness and closes with an invitation for God to utterly direct and transform inner thoughts and tensions toward “the way everlasting.”
Listen to his inner struggle with the evil he sees:
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Do you hear his struggle? His venting of his anger and hatred? His passion?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve not seen these verses of Psalm 139 quoted quite as often. Not as many t-shirts and stickers and coffee mugs get Psalm 139:22.
Remember, the Psalms are brutally honest and thoroughly human.
It’s in the light of that context, the inner struggle between the beauty and the brutality, that we hear David’s final request at the close of the Psalm:
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Here’s the truth friends: As we walk through this life, we will see both the beauty of God’s handiwork AND the brutality of the evil that opposes God and His handiwork.
You need a theology that deals honestly with both. You certainly have a Bible that does.
What’s the takeaway?
For some, you may need to reflect upon and receive the beauty and the affirmation of God’s intimate knowledge and love for you.
For others, you may need to deal with some inner turmoil and confess the struggle with the brutality of the world around you or within you.
You’re invited to do both… reflect on the beauty and be brutally honest with God today.
And remember, He already knows.