You Know Me…

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me.
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭139:1‬)

The creator of the universe, knows me… who the hell am I?  How can I make a claim such as this?  I’m nobody special.  But YAHWEH is, and He made this claim, not I.  He says He numbers the hairs on my head.  Literally He knows every detail about me.  Woah…

But whoever loves God is known by God.
(‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:3‬)

You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.
(Psalm 139:2)

There is nothing – NOTHING – hidden from God…  He knows my every moment, awake or asleep, no matter how “far” I try to get from Him (as if I could).

This verse, taken out of context, sounds a bit like a “santa clause” verse – up there in the North Pole, knows if you’ve been sleeping, or awake, bad or good so be good for goodness sake.  But if taken in context of the entire Psalm, we see that God is neither distant nor conditional in His unfettered love.  We are the ones who are distant and conditional…

You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭139:3)

Every detail.  Every mannerism.  Every piece my personality.  You know it, oh LORD…  To be known by You, is immeasurably greater than any and all knowledge I could possess…

…and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God…
‭‭(Ephesians‬ ‭3:19‬)

Before a word is on my tongue
You, LORD, know it completely
(Psalm 139:4)

You know me better than I know myself…

You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me.
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭139:5‬)

The language the psalmist uses, makes me think of the kind of care a mother gives her newborn child.  The bond a mother has with a child in her womb, I cannot fathom.  I’m told it’s a bond that is stronger than almost anything, and continues through the mother’s life.  So strong, that many will describe their mother as “One who’s very life was her children”.  And that is often true, and so amazing and beautiful.

THIS is the bond God has with those who are His.  And He is eternal!  WOAH!

On the day I gave my life to Christ, I “felt” two things. They weren’t physical, more mentally and emotionally triggered.  But very very real.

One was weight lifted. Shame was no more, at least in that wonderful moment.  I was free…

The other was as if my mother’s hand was placed on my head and the back of my neck.  The sense that I was comforted, safe, LOVED.  The best way I can describe it.  Not some BIG PROFOUND EPIPHANY, or some grand enlightenment.  I did not gain some secret, some knowledge that made me better than anyone else.  I was KNOWN…

“You lay Your hand upon me….”

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
(Psalm 139:6)

Anyone can “know of” a person. I know of many rock stars.  I know of the president – whether that be our current, or any who have been president in my lifetime (and before).  But I don’t KNOW them.

Anyone can read a book, take a class, go to school, get knowledge, and boast in their knowledge.  Which is good – maybe not the boasting part, but getting smarter is good 🙂 – but that’s now what this verse is talking to.

The “knowledge” mentioned in this verse, isn’t head knowledge.  Though God is definitely smarter than I, it’s the fact that He KNOWS me, my every detail.  It’s overwhelming!  The Creator of the universe, knows me???

Now, imagine billions of people, throughout history. and the Creator of the universe KNOWS them.  HOW?  And why would He WANT to?  Who is this God???

We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.
(1 Corinthians 8:1-3)

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
(Psalm 139:7)

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it…
Prone to leave the God I love…
Here’s my heart, Lord
Take and Seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above”

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭139:8‬)

“He is jealous for me…
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His grace and mercy…”

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
(Psalm 139:9-10)

“You have my heart completely…”

 

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭139:11-12‬)

Adam tried to hide, when he knowingly sinned against his God…

Peter said to Jesus, “Away from me, Lord, I’m a sinful man…”

Shame is a tool the devil might use against believers (“Nobody will understand…  I must not be saved…”).  Self-righteousness might be a tool he uses against unbelievers (“Who are you to judge?  Did God really say…”).  Both are symptoms of a rebellious heart.  Both drive us to want to hide from our Maker.

But there is no hiding from God.  He never hides from you.  And you cannot hide from Him.  The God who knows you and loves you, will never give up on you.

For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb
(Psalm 139:13)

A child might be a result of a mistake, but that doesn’t make the child a mistake.  A child is never a mistake.

You are not a mistake.  He’s known you since before you were conceived…

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
(Psalm 139:14)

I did not create myself.  Nor was I an accident, or an evolution of sorts descended from some goo or an ape.  I was fearfully and wonderfully made.

And I’m nothing special, by the way.  This same truth applies to you.

The story you’ve been fed, that you are here by chance, diminishes the glory of your Maker, as well as diminishes your value and the value of every single human being.  Every.  Single.  Human.  Created in God’s image.  KNOW THIS.  Stop believing lies.  Know how much your Creator values you.  Yes, you.

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.
(Psalm 139:15)

Lord, You know me…

 

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.
(Psalm 139:16)

God has known you, long before you were “knowable” by human standards.  And not just you – that person you see next to you on the bus, or work with.  That guy who cut you off on the freeway.  The person you didn’t vote for – the person who voted for the person you didn’t vote for.  Yeah, God knows them too.

The person you passed on the sidewalk, asking for money…  Have you looked at their face?  Do you know their name?  God does…

The baby in the womb.  Yes, that living human being, with a heartbeat in the first 20 days, with limbs forming, with DNA at conception.  God knows them too…

The person you think is a terrorist.  Whether that be the brown-skinned person you see at the bus stop, or the politician taking away perceived rights – God knows them too…

The needy person at church, or at work or school – “Ugh, I don’t have the energy….” – God knows them too…

Lord, help me to seek to know those You know…  To see them as You see them…

How precious to me are Your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
(Psalm 139:17)

Oh, our precious are the moments, when I seek Your face…  When I wait on You…  When I pour my heart out to You…  When I listen for You…  How I long for more…

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
(Psalm 34:8)

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for You, my God.
(Psalm 42:1)

How precious to me are Your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with You.
(Psalm 139:17-18)

The mind of God, the thoughts of God, the wisdom of God, we can only strive to know…  But in the striving, in humbly seeking to know God and God’s will for us, we can delight in Him!

When I was young, I used to try and count to a million.  I know I started over many, many times, because I’d lose track of where I left off.  But I kept striving. It wasn’t going to win me any kind of award, or give me recognition.  Still, I wanted to do this.  For some reason, God gave me a mind like that.

When I was older, I was invited to a bible study.  I thought, “Bible study??  Me???  I know NOTHING about the Bible!”.  So I sought (As I had several other times) to read this thing cover to cover.  Much like counting to a million, reading a million pages seemed an attractive mountain to try and scale.

Little did I know God would meet me in my seeking.  Little did I know God’s Word is alive and would penetrate my soul and spirit.  Little did I know He was making me new…

I never did count to a million.  I eventually gave that up.  I would have done the same with God and His word.  I’m wired like that.  Take on a huge project, then give it up when it’s too hard.  Sure, start over a few times – but eventually I’d realize that mountain is too high, and the payout isn’t worth it.  Strangely, that’s not the case with Jesus.  Even in the hard times, I seek Him more and more.  Even in the empty times – I long for Him, more and more.  When I wake, when I sleep – I seek Him more and more…  I don’t think I have anything to do with that…

” You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
(Jeremiah 29:13)

If only You, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
(Psalm 139:19)

When I was first saved, I LOVED Psalm 139.  But I would stop reading at this point, or skip over these verses, because “Why would David say this???”.  Or even think this?

But there is beauty in this confession of David’s. I  mean – we ALL cast condemnation down on those we deem “wicked” or “bloodthirsty” (which would very often be different than those who were afflicting David and actually seeking to end his life).

Still – if you read this psalm (and others like it) through to the end, you can see that even David is confessing his hatred to God.  Who better to “vomit” on, as my pastor said in a recent sermon.

In these verses, I see a beautiful combination of “vomiting on God” and pleading with Him to make one more like Christ.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth….
(Isaiah 53:7)

They speak of You with evil intent;
Your adversaries misuse Your name.
(Psalm 139:20)

It’s a common phrase, to ask God to damn something or someone.  We think of that as “taking the Lord’s name in vain”.   But what about swearing to God, when you don’t really mean it (which is probably most of the time)?  Or making claims in God’s name that don’t line up with His character?  Or the whole “name it and claim it”, as if God owes me something because I declare it to be so “In Jesus name”.

Still, those are typically associated with those who love, or at least claim to love, the One True God.  I think this verse is pretty clear that it’s referring to those who are militantly against God.  Not just “I don’t care” – the very mention of the name Jesus can flare some people up.  And they’ll let you know, in no uncertain terms.  In some countries, people lose their heads over it, literally…

Here in America, it’s pretty tame.  We instead are thrust with many, many options, sold as equal to, or better than, the One True God.  We are told to prove He exists.  We are told there are many gods, or there is no god.  We are told the very word of God is suspect, and how can you trust it – funny, we’ll trust that person who tells us we can’t trust God at His word.  We’re silly that way.

We’re told God is either unloving, or weak, or both.  And that’s if He even exists.  And even if He doesn’t exist – He’s still unloving and/or weak. Basically, we’re very quick to mock Him.  Very quick…

But make no mistake, God will not be mocked.  Yes, He’s patient, wanting none to perish but all to repent and have eternal life through Christ Jesus. But there will be a reckoning…

It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
(Romans 14:11-12)

“I am YAHWEH; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.”
(Isaiah 42:8)

Do I not hate those who hate You, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against You?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
(Psalm 139:21-22)

Well intention-ed hatred and contempt, is still hatred and contempt.  Whether it be the godless heathen, who not only commits atrocious sins but celebrates others who do the same or worse, or the hypocrite who calls out sin in others yet hides or justifies his or her own – hatred and contempt in our hearts is itself sin…

To be clear – it’s noble to hate what God hates.  Yes, He hates sin.  It seems nobody likes to admit that anymore.  “God doesn’t judge”, I’ve heard people say.  God is the ONLY judge!  The only One worthy to judge – and I’d argue the only One we should trust to judge.  He judged us when He sent His Son to die in our place – while we snubbed our noses at Him, mind you…

You see that?  He hates sin so much, He went after the sinner – YOU AND ME – with everything He had!  Do we do that?  Do we, really?  Do I?  Or do I look at that other sinner contempt, thanking God I’m “not like them”, as they beat their chest and cry out to God their Savior…

We must check our hearts, when we get worked up over sin in the world.  I’d argue, we MUST get worked up about sin in our very self first.  Otherwise that plank is going to do a lot of damage as we try and “wrestle the speck out of our neighbors eye”.  We’re not God, we would do well to give more of our cares to Him.  I would do well to do this…  This does not mean silence, or inaction.  It simply means laying our hearts before the Lord.

I’m encouraged by David’s honesty, in the Psalms.  These verses follow a pretty hefty request, to eliminate the wicked.  We may not want or ask God to KILL those we deem wicked – but we might wish they didn’t exist, or were more like us, or – just listened to the truth.  And here, we see David justifying his request.  “Don’t I hate those who hate you, Lord?”

The honesty in his writing, his pouring out to God, is honorable.  Yet, what is even more honorable, is the fact that he then leaves it at the feet of Jesus, and puts his trust in Him.  “You know better than I, Lord, please show me my error and lead me…”

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalm 139:23-24)

 

Advertisements

First Time Obedience…

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
(‭Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭46-49‬ NIV)

Last night we studied this passage as a group – both US and Dominicans. Our method was to read this ourselves, write down some thoughts on what the Lord showed us, then share and pray as a group. It was so encouraging to hear how some young believers are growing in the word, in their faith, in the Lord!

The Lord reminded me of the foolish builder I WAS, before He saved me. And of the wise builder He is making me to be. This is awesome, when I stop and look at what the Lord has done.

The challenge I was given was this – do I trust Jesus enough to do what He says, IMMEDIATELY?

Many parents in church teach their children first time obedience. This is not to lord anything over their kids. It’s because they love them and know what is best. Just like my loving Father.

Lord You are so good… Please help me to remember, to trust, to obey, IMMEDIATELY…

Delight Yourself In the Lord…

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart
(Psalm 37:4)

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Delight yourself in God alone.  HE is the desire of your heart!

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Not so that He gives you what you want.  Delight in Him, and He will bless you richly!

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Your desires, in your flesh, are not what the psalmist is referring to.  Delight in God, and He will give you a NEW heart – and the desires you have will be according to His purposes.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  God wants to give us good things.  Every good and perfect gift is from Him.  He gave us – HIM!  What else is there???

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  This is not religion.  This is not putting in to get out.  This is TRUE PLEASURE in the Lord!  Taste and see that the Lord is good!  Drew near to Him, and He will draw near to you!  Seek Him with all your heart, and YOU WILL FIND HIM!

God is so good……

How To Clean the Inside

By the way, I’m writing this one from lovely Cape Town…. I’m so blessed….

Luke 11:39-41

And Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.

“You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?

“But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.”

I’ve always loved and been challenged by this passage, the hypocracy in us that wants to. “Seem righteous” in the eyes of others. But I’ve never noticed in Luke, that Jesus tells us to GIVE, and the outside will also be clean…

– GIVE of your surplus, to those who need
– GIVE your greed and wickedness to God
– GIVE the inside to the Maker of all – HE will clean all of you…

Taming the Tongue…

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so (James 3:8-10)

How does one tame the tongue? Maybe guard your heart? Maybe be anxious in nothing, but in all things, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving give your requests to God? And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you heart in Christ Jesus?

Out of the heart, the mouth speaks. Don’t attempt to  tame the tongue – check your heart….

Why The Stinking Tree???

I remember a very sweet time with my son Dylan, reading in Genesis, the story of the fall.  Now the story of the fall isn’t so sweet, but Dylan’s response was:  “Stupid Adam, screwed it all up for us”.  Haha – I love it!

For me, my burning question has always been, “Why did God put the tree there, where they would be tempted???”.  I mean, I don’t want to question God, and that isn’t my intent.  But this question has come up for me many times.

Recently, God revealed to me that my question itself is rebellious.  No surprise – and most would probably just say, “Duh”.  But this was really something I had never considered – when I am asking that question I’m not trusting that God’s ways are higher than my ways.   And I’m kinda blaming him for their temptation and fall into sin.  God never tempts us – ever.

I’m reminded of this passage in James:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

And I’m reminded that my questioning God for placing the tree where he did (Or even its existence) is like questioning or blaming God for my own sinful nature.  He did not give us our sinful nature.  He gave us free will.  Something perfect, without flaw.  We contaminated it.  Don’t believe me?  Jesus has free will too…..

So I don’t think I will ask that question anymore.  🙂  But I did find this interesting post, which does help answer my question a bit.  Funny how God brings me to it, after I’ve laid it down….

http://christianthought.hbu.edu/2012/10/08/why-did-god-create-the-tree-of-the-knowledge-of-good-and-evil/

Feeding Five Thousand….

In Mark 6, the story of Jesus and the disciples feeding five thousand, we see that Jesus multiplies our meager offering – which really were not much – to care for many. For many…..

Why do we not believe he can do that today? Have we tried? Or do we just look at that proverbial ‘mountain’ and give up, thinking its just too large to climb, too large to move…

Faith of a mustard seed. That isn’t much…. What does that say about us? Jesus says in Mark 5, “Do not be afraid; only believe”. Lord I believe…. Help me with my unbelief….

I want to move mountains. I want to take my meager offerings and have God multiply them for the good of others, for his glory! How about you?