God Knows you Completely
When Eli Gabriel Conklin went into the Doctor this week for his checkup with his mother, the doctor said he was doing very well.
Eli is the son of Cherie's niece, Randi.
The doctor said that his heart was beating very strongly.
He was eight months old and would be born in only another month.
By Wednesday evening, Randi felt like something was wrong.
Eli had not moved all day.
The doctor called her in on Thursday and they could not find a heart beat.
They induced labor and little Eli was stillborn.
Sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday night Eli had, for reasons that no one knows been called into eternity.
When Cherie found out we were obviously stunned.
We ached for Randi and her husband, Bill.
I found out yesterday that they want me to do the graveside service for them, and I naturally asked myself, “what do I tell them?”
How do I answer them if they ask, “Did God know THIS was going to happen?” Yes.
“Could he have prevented it?”
I know the next 6 verses of Ps 139.
I know that he has all power.
139 will not let us escape these conclusions.
This is the problem of God's knowledge.
When we take up these first six verses of Ps. 139 we will be exploring the limits of God's knowledge.
What does He know?
What is the nature and extent of his knowledge.
I want to point out the wonder of God's knowledge.
David explains it here very well.
Then I want to explore the problem of God's knowledge, we cannot escape this.
Finally, I want to point out the beautiful application that David makes.
The point I would like to draw from that story is that, while we thought we knew the M-1 rifle well, stress and pressure exposed our weakness.
We did not know that rifle as well as we thought we did.
This imperfect knowledge is in sharp contrast to the God whom David presents to us in Psalm 139.1-6.
This is a God of infinite, complete, perfect knowledge.
He knows us, David says, completely.
Last time we introduced this most beautiful of Psalms to you.
We certainly agree with one commentator who when writing about this Psalm said that the “consciousness of intimate personal relationship between God and man, which is characteristic of the whole Psalter, reaches its climax here.”
We certainly think that it does.
We pointed out that the God revealed in this Psalm by David was a God Most Intimate.
A God who was radically different from any other gods among the cultures surrounding the Hebrews, and indeed, we find in Ps 139 a conception of God that is unique to Judaism and Christianity alone, and, to the extent that this God is revealed in the person of Christ, unique to Christianity alone.
Tonight we take up David's first revelation of a God Most Intimate.
This God knows you and knows me completely.
(Read Ps 139.1-6).
Wonder of God's Knowledge
Notice first, the wonder of God's knowledge.
I do not want you to go wrong from the very start here.
David says in verse one, “/O Lord, You have searched me and known me/.”
This is a summary statement of everything that will follow in the Psalm.
It is a common device in the Hebrew culture.
David is saying, “God knows me completely,” and “here is how he knows me.”
He proceeds to work out the implications of his title statement.
We need to be careful here, however.
“Searching” to us implies a lack of knowledge.
If we search for our glasses, as I often do, I am searching because I do not know where my glasses are.
This is not true of God.
David is trying to put a characteristic which is true of God into words that we can understand.
This is a very difficult thing to do.
“Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel?(Is 40.13),
The answer is no one.
God does not need to learn from man because he knows all.
When David says that the Lord has “searched me and known me,” he is trying to communicate that God knows me completely.
It is finished.
An accomplished fact.
When I have searched and found my glasses, then it is an accomplished fact, I can now read something.
This is what David is trying to communicate.
God's knowledge of me - and of you is complete, full, whole.
Look at verse 2. “/You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you understand my thoughts from afar/.”
David uses a common literary device here, which we actually use as well.
He names two opposite things - sitting down and rising up - as figures of speech denoting completeness.
We do the same thing.
“Gee, he understands calculus from A to Z, means, he knows everything there is to know about calculus.
God knows all of my ways, from when I rise up in the morning, to when I lay down at night, and everything else in between.
He understands my thoughts from afar.
Ponder that for a minute.
We live as if God did not know what we were thinking, often don't we.
In a way it is both comforting and scary.
God knows everything that I am thinking, my deepest longings and frustrations.
That is so satisfying to me.
Uh, oh…He also knows how I feel about my boss, and what I REALLY think about my football game being interrupted.
You search out my path, David writes in vs. 3.
You are acquainted with all my ways.
I like the way the NASB renders it.
You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
The LXX, which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament translates the verb “search out” with a word that means to track or trace or explore.
It helps us understand that word I think.
When a hunter tracks or traces his quarry, he uses every bit of knowledge he has to help him be successful.
You may recall Gabe Vanwormer giving his “advice to graduates” and he got up and asked the question, “where do Turkeys sleep during the night?”
I had no clue.
Randy Richards and Joel Howard knew though because they both said, “in the tops of trees!”
Well, the turkey hunters knew.
In order to be a good turkey hunter they knew all about the animal that they were hunting.
God tracks, traces, searches us out, for the purpose of entering into an intimate relationship with us.
This is amazing to me.
It is stunning!
This is a God like no other God.
Before there is a word on my tongue, behold O lord, you know it altogether (vs.