PSALM 139:1-14, 23-24

Psalm 139:1-14, 23-24 New King James Version (NKJV)

God’s Perfect Knowledge of Man

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.

3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.

4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

9 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 fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me;

12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;

24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

Dr. Gough:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart..see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in te way everlasting" (v 23-24). God has a part in every heart.

--We may not know God .. believe, follow Him .. but God knows us. All about us. God made us, not ourself.

--This wonderful Psalm 139 assures us that God has a part in every human heart, to love us and save us.

First, may I say a few words about all the 150 Psalms.

--Psalms are the hymnbook of the Bible, as a valuable, versatile, and helpful book of worship, for ages.

--It is the longest book of the Bible..in the middle of the Bible, and quoted more often, in the Bible.

--Its title, in Hebrew, is Hallelujah, which means of course, Praise God. Hallelujah, we often sing.

--It is indeed, the best-loved book of the first 39.

--It is a book Jesus knew and said, "Psalms concerning Me" (Luke 24:44), and oft quotes from them.

In the Armed Forces, in pastoral ministry or those in suffering or sorrow, trials and trouble, I have often turned to one of these counseling Psalms for comfort.

--Many of them are Messianic Psalms pointing to Jesus.

--On the cross, as "the Lamb of God" for our sins, He quotes from several of the Psalms, applying to Him.

Many people wrote the Psalms but God inspires them all.

--David, sweet psalmist of Israel, wrote 73 of the 150.

--All these Psalms touch on all the human emotions or problems that mankind can face - the only such book.

--Of our ups and downs, joys and sorrows, whatever.

--We may see Jesus, pictured on the pages of Psalms.

--When Jesus was in prayer, He often prays a Psalm.

--So dear friend, the Psalms, as Jesus, should be in us.

With Psalm 139 open before us, we find answers to many questions of importance to everyone, everywhere.

--Psalm 139 has four stanzas, each with six verses.

--It begins, "O Lord, You have searched me and known me" (that's all of us); and ends, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties .. see if there is any wicked way in me." Fine words.

--The rest of that verse is most important, "Lead me in the way everlasting." To let the Lord lead.

The Psalm deals with God's omniscience - all knowing.

--God's omnipresence - is everywhere; and His omnipotence - that He is Almighty, able to do so much!

--I've titled Psalm 139, God knows, yet loves us all.

--One good way to outline it is, 1. GOD KNOWS US ALL (v 1-6). GOD IS WITH US ALL (7-12). 3. GOD MADE US ALL (13-18). And, GOD CARES FOR US ALL (19-24).

--We see this, I think, emphasized in these verses.


--Look at verse 1, "O Lord, You have searched me and known me." It means you, all of us.

--"You know my sitting down and my rising up..know my thought afar off .. my path, my lying down."

--"You are acquainted with all my ways..words..You know it altogether." As God, He knows us so well.

--God knows us better than we know ourselves.

God knows our secret thoughts - before we think them - and all our words, good or bad - and able to keep us from falling. Or, saying what we might regret.

--"Not a word on my tongue .. You know it altogether .. such knowledge is too wonderful for me."

--So let us set a watch, over our thoughts or words.

--Lest we use language God forbids., or think evil of another, in criticism, jealousy, envy, or hatred.

Some of you may question, How can God do all that?

--I don't fully know - but I do know that He is God, and "God can do anything," but fail! God is able!

--If David didn't know, he said, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me" (v 6), and if he didn't know I sure don't know how, yet believe it confidently!

--And all of us ought to believe as well, for God is wise, as Creator of this universe, and all of us!

I lived at home, and got to know my mom and dad.

--I married a most wonderful girl and got to really know her faith and life, the blessing she was..is.

--We could read each other's mind, and feelings; yet we knew so very little, to how God knows us all.

--Let's get to know the Lord, as He knows, loves, us.

--God wants to have a part in each loving heart.


--Because by His Holy Spirit God can be everywhere over the world; the Psalmist said, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Flee from Your presence"? (v 7).

--The answer is .. nowhere! Look at his long list!

--"If I ascend into heaven, You are there or make my bed in hell (by bad mistakes), You are there."

--Anywhere on land in the "wings of the morning"..or "the uttermost parts of the sea, even there..Your hand shall lead me..shall hold me." Imagine!

--Now friend, we may not be aware, but God is there!

--Like a hen cares for her chicks, or mother, a baby, let us never forget, the Lord is there, to help.

God allows dark trials, not to impair, but improve.

--In the dark hours, unable to sleep .. dreaded diseases .. guilt .. fears .. loneliness .. sorrow .. God can be there! "I will never leave nor forsake you," said the Lord Jesus. Let's live for Him!

Mark verse 12, "..the darkness shall not hide from You (God).. the darkness and the light are both alike to You." The Lord is there in good times or bad.

--What does all this mean We can't hide from God!

--We cannot sin, and think we can get by, forever.

--We must confess our sins. Daily. For forgiveness.

--"Must we detail them to God, He knows," one asked.

--Yes God wants us to repent of them, to be cleansed.

--We can do that, directly to the Lord Himself, as we come to Him in the beautiful garden of prayer.

--Confession is yielding to God. Cleans our hearts.

Remember a few years ago, the Special Olmpics for so-called special-needs childen were televised, how one incident stood out in powerful witness.

--Handicapped kids were lined up for a race, and all strained and ran, as best they could - one fell.

--Skinned his knee, in the fall and was crying.

--But one by one, with braces and impediments, all of them stopped .. ran back to the fallen child, lifted him up, wiped his bloody knee, dried his tears.

--Then, they all joined together, crossing the ribbon, altogether! That's what God wants to do for us.


--"For You formed my inward parts; You covered Me in my mother's womb" (v 13). What a miracle we are!

--Of each new-born child. Little eyes, ears, fingers and toes, and sweet, little smile. A soul to save.

--"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." A life is a most precious creation.

--Care for it well, all its years, and for eternity!

--Value every life. Yours. Others. God made all.

Say with David, "Marvelous are (God's) works" (v 14).

--"When I was made in secret .. skillfully wrought."

--God has "the days fashioned for me" to seek, obey.

--Even before we were born, "when as yet .. none."

--God has a perfect plan for good, for every man.

--"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God."

--Listen, God says, "I know the thoughts I think toward you, thought of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).

--God made us. Wants us do well, to be proud of us.

--The Lord Jesus wants to save, what He has made.


--In this last section, he speaks of "the wicked" or enemy, that is Satan, who tempted Adam and Eve.

--And has sought to defeat everyone, ever since.

--But God's Son - Jesus - our Messiah was not a victim, but a victor over Satan - in the desert, Gethsemane, Calvary's cross, and the empty tomb!

--In all history and religions, none cares as Jesus.

--"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want" (Psalm 23).

--"While we were yet sinners, Christ died .. for us."

--Arose! Ascended! He ever lives to pray .. for us!

In hard times I heard of a man, with no job, no money, and no decent shirt to get a job. Only a button.

--He prayed. Went to a friend. Explained his need.

--"Please could you sew a shirt, on this button?"

--The friend was kind, had a son about his size, and replied, "I will," and took the man's button.

--He came back with a lovely shirt, to give the man.

--That is what God's Son can do for all of us - clothe us in His righteousness - "and lead, in the way everlasting" (v 24).

Wilbert D. Gough, ThD. DD. 924