This psalm is ascribed to David in the superscription, and its writing style does not contradict that in the least. It is regarded by some as one of the greatest passages in the Old Testament, and it is not hard to understand why when one reads it. Edward J. Young wrote an entire book on these 24 verses (“The Way Everlasting: A Study in Psalm 139”, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, Great Britain, November 1, 1997). Most commentators recognize 4 sections to the psalm, consisting of 6 verses each. The first section deals with God’s omniscience. Verse one begins “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” Verses 7-12 are concerned with his omnipresence. Verse 7 asks “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?”
The third section (verses 13-18) praises God for His omnipotence. Verse 14 is one of the more famous verses: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Put those last four words in a search engine, and you will have hours of reading available; and we cannot do the verse justice here. Suffice to say that “fearfully made” is intended with the same sort of respect and awe that we are to have of the Lord (as in “fear of the Lord”), and the meaning of “wonderfully made” is quite obvious to those who study the intricacies of the human body all the way down to the cell level.
The final section (verse 19-24) is one of supplication for God. It pleads for the Lord to deal with the wicked and with those who speak against him. It is also a plea for God to examine the psalmist’s heart, leading him away from any sin and “in the way everlasting.”
The psalm points out in a most elegant way how much God knows, while acknowledging how little we really know about that very fact. He knows all about us, and He knew us before we were even born, as God told the prophet in Jeremiah 1:4-5. Even His very thoughts are too vast and wonderful for us to comprehend (verses 17-18).
Altogether, these 24 verses speak volumes about the nature and power of our Creator and His care for us, and make an excellent source of thoughts for our prayers to Him.
Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.