Psalm 139: Inescapable God

Why might God’s complete knowledge of us be both comforting and disturbing?

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Psalm 139:1–3 To the minister of music, a song of David.
Lord, you have thoroughly examined me and know everything about me. You see every time I sit or stand. No matter how distant I might think I am, you still know my thoughts.
You see everywhere I walk and know when I lie down to rest. You know everything about who I am and what I do.
King James
Psalm 139:1–3 <To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.> O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

How can God know what we’re going to say, before we even say it?

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Psalm 139:4–5 Lord, I can’t say a word that you haven’t heard before it leaves my tongue.
You are close behind me and ahead of me. Your hand rests upon my shoulder.
King James
Psalm 139:4–5 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

If God’s presence is so wonderful, why do people fear?

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Psalm 139:6 Your presence is beyond my comprehension, too wonderful for me to grasp.
King James
Psalm 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

Is there any place where God isn’t present? Why?

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Psalm 139:7–8 Where could I go and not find your Spirit there? Is there anywhere I could escape your presence? If I go to the farthest region of space and beyond, you are there. If I am laid to rest in the deepest grave, you are there.
King James
Psalm 139:7–8 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

God might protect us where we are right now, but why should we think he will protect us when we go somewhere else?

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Psalm 139:9–10 If I had wings to fly with the dawn to reach the faraway seas, your hand would be there to guide me. Your mighty hand would be there to protect me.
King James
Psalm 139:9–10 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

Is there anything God can’t see? Why is that significant?

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Psalm 139:11–12 If I were to say, “Surely the darkness of night will keep me from being seen,” you would see me as if the night were daylight. The darkness conceals nothing from your sight, for you see as well at night as you see during the day.
King James
Psalm 139:11–12 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

If God created us from the moment of our conception, why are some people born with deformities?

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Psalm 139:13 You created my whole being, from the days when I grew in my mother’s womb.
John 9:2–3 His disciples said, “Teacher, why was this man born blind? Was his condition caused by the man’s sin or the sin of his parents?”
“Neither one. His blindness is not due to sin but was given so the works of God could be revealed in him.”
King James
Psalm 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
John 9:2–3 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

How easy is it to know the truth?

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Psalm 139:14 I praise you, Lord, because of the awesome, unique way that you created me. You did wonderfully well, and my whole being knows and declares this truth.
John 16:13 But when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own authority but will say only what he hears. He will reveal to you things to come.
King James
Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Is there anything God does not know about us? How does his knowledge affect the choices we might make?

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Psalm 139:15–17 You know everything about me. You see beyond appearances to what is hidden within. You saw who I would be and what I would do before I was anybody or had done anything.
I treasure your purpose for my life, God. Your guiding thoughts are priceless.
Romans 8:29 Because God knew what we would become, he sent his Son to be the first example of what his family will be like.
King James
Psalm 139:15–17 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

God may know our thoughts, but how can we know what God is thinking?

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Psalm 139:17–18 I treasure your purpose for my life, God. Your guiding thoughts are priceless. Like grains of sand on the seashore, they are more than I can count. From the moment I rise in the morning, let me live with you.
King James
Psalm 139:17–18 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

Why might the righteous be influenced by the wicked?

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Psalm 139:19–20 Do away with the wicked, God. Let murderers have no part in my life, for they speak as if you are wicked, saying you approve their evil.
King James
Psalm 139:19–20 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.

What kind of hatred should we have for those who oppose God?

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Psalm 139:21–22 Lord, you know how much I hate those who hate you. Am I not grieved by those who oppose you? 22 I absolutely hate them. They are my archenemies.
King James
Psalm 139:21–22 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

If God already knows us thoroughly, why would we ask him to “search us thoroughly”?

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Psalm 139:23–24 Search me thoroughly, God. Examine my heart, and check to be sure my thoughts are pure. If you see in me anything offensive, put me on the right path to pleasing you.
King James
Psalm 139:23–24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.