Psalm 139:13-14 NRSV - For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
Psalm 139:13-14 NRSV - For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
I want to start with something I saw online and it was so applicable to this message I kept it.
A father said to his daughter “You have graduated with honors, here is a Jeep I bought many years ago. It is pretty old now. But before I give it to you, take it to the used car lot downtown and tell them I want to sell it and see how much they offer you for it.”
The daughter went to the used car lot, returned to her father and said, “They offered me $1,000 because the said it looks pretty worn out.”
The father said, now “Take it to the pawn shop.” The daughter went to the pawn shop, returned to her father and said, “The pawn shop offered only $100 because it is an old Jeep.”
The father asked his daughter to go to a Jeep club now and show them the Jeep. The daughter then took the Jeep to the club, returned and told her father,” Some people in the club offered $100,000 for it because “it's an iconic Jeep and sought by many collectors.”
Now the father said this to his daughter, “The right place values you the right way,” If you are not valued, do not be angry, it means you are in the wrong place. Those who know your value are those who appreciate you…Never stay in a place where no one sees your value.
How many of you have ever had a time when someone made you feel less than? Like you weren’t worthy of basic kindness, of compassion, of love?
It may have been the words they said to or about you. Maybe it was what wasn’t said. Perhaps it was how they treated you or the fact they ignored you. You went into a store or a restaurant and they looked over, around or through you to service or seat those who came after you.
Whether it was through word or deed, the result was the same, you felt like you were less than, like you weren’t worthy of being treated with respect or good enough to receive the best. Made to feel as if you had to accept leftovers or secondhand stuff. Made to believe you had to take the stuff others didn’t want and not only were you supposed to take it, you were supposed to be happy to get it.
Sometimes it was that you were a younger child getting the hand-me-down clothes. Maybe you were the child trying to get your parent’s attention, but you were in a one-parent home, and they were working three jobs to make ends meet so by the time they got home, they had neither the time, nor energy to spend with or on you. Or, you may have been the kid on the playground who was always the last one chosen for the team.
Maybe you’re a wife desperately wanting her husband’s attention, just a little bit of time and affection, but he’s lost interest. Or a husband desiring his wife to notice how hard he’s working to provide for the family, but all she seems to want is more.
Perhaps there was betrayal or infidelity in the relationship and the part of the marriage vow that said, “forsaking all others” has been forgotten. Or the Scriptures that tell husbands and wives to submit to one another, the one that tells wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord and the one that tells men to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it have gone by the wayside because the couple has neglected to pray together.
Whatever or whomever is making you feel less than, I want to encourage you, and you, and you today, even if no one else says it, you are valuable to the Kingdom of God. But here’s the thing, you have to believe it for it to have a positive effect in your life. The title of today’s message is, “Self-Worth”.
You have to know your self-worth, because you may discover at times that you must be like David and encourage yourself. That person who was your biggest cheerleader, may no longer be with you and you must find another source of reassurance and inspiration. And if you don’t know from whence you came, that can be a very difficult thing to do.
This 139th division of the Psalm begins with a realization, that God knows all about us. David says Lord…
• You have examined my heart - not only does God examine our hearts, he knows our intentions, he knows all our ways, so he knows the motive for why we do, what we do, even if we won’t admit it.
• You know everything about me - there’s nothing we can hide from God
• you know when I sit down or stand up
• you know my thoughts even when I’m far away
• you see me when I travel - there’s no place you can go to get away from God and not only does he see where you go, he sees who you go with
• you see me when I rest at home — when you go to what you think is your secret space, God is there
• you know what I’m going to say, before I say it
• you go before me and follow me
David is acknowledging that God knows everything, He’s omniscient and that He’s everywhere, He’s omnipresent. Now depending on where you’re going and what you’re doing, some of you will find great comfort in that fact, some may have fear knowing that, and some may be embarrassed to know that God is there with you, that he sees your improper acts, hears your inappropriate conversations and knows your indecent thoughts.
We can’t believe that God hates sin and not think he doesn’t see and hate our sin. Conversely, we can’t think that the God who loved Israel and took her back over and over again, when she repented, won’t love us, and take us back over and over again when we repent.
But for David, he says such knowledge is too wonderful for him and too great to understand. As Christians, the fact that God is everywhere and knows everything, should give us great comfort and peace, because no matter what, no matter where and no matter who, God is there to protect, to correct, to comfort, to remind, and to love us.
For those who are not Christians or those Christians running from God, knowing that there’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide might not be so comforting. But here’s the thing, coming to our focal scripture, it was God who formed your inward parts, he put you together while you were in your mother’s womb.
• So not only did God know you, He was with you,
• molding you,
• shaping you,
• deciding who you were going to be,
• what gifts you were going to have
• what you were going to look like
• the color of your eyes
• whether you were going to be a boy or a girl
• short or tall
God was working all that out while you were still in your mother’s womb. You were not an accident, you were not a mistake, no matter how you were conceived, you are here on purpose, for a purpose and God determined your purpose before you were born. He planned your life before the world began.
Every time a child is conceived, a miracle has just occurred and after the baby is born, and mom and baby are ok, that’s miracles two and three. We see childbirth so often; we sometimes forget how dangerous it can be for women and what can happen to that child and mother during the process of pregnancy and childbirth.
Being the teacher and researcher that I am I had to look up some information and give you some numbers about childbirth so you could get a complete picture.
The CDC reported that, “In 2020, the U.S. maternal mortality rate was 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births, with 861 known deaths due to maternal causes.” Maternal causes are anything that happened or was brought on as a result of the pregnancy.
In that rate, “Black women are three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as white women.” Why is that you may wonder. The article went on to say this, “Due to systemic racism and discrimination at the individual level, Black women and birthing people face unacceptable (and mostly preventable) risk during childbirth and throughout and after pregnancy.”
I tell you these numbers so you’ll understand, the frequency of childbirth, doesn’t lessen its miraculous nature. Pregnancy and childbirth are not always a joyous occasion.
So when the Scripture says God formed your inward parts, that He knit you together in your mother’s womb, you are a part of God’s handiwork on display yet again. You are a part of God’s creation and what God makes is beautiful and while man may try to imitate it, what God creates cannot be duplicated. Man has been trying for years but the creation of life begins with the seed of a man and the egg of a woman and mere man is not capable of creating either of those things.
In light of this fact, we should be like David and say, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” What you look like, who you are, the gifts and talents and abilities you have, are all because God gave them to you, because God designed you specially and specifically, it is God who made us and not we ourselves.
So forget about those who proclaim they are self-made men and women. There was and is nothing they did or will do that was not ordained by God. We must recognize that without God, we can do nothing and that all praise and glory and honor belongs to him.
The next thing that happens in our scripture is David gives God props for how well he is made. He says, “Wonderful are your works;”. David includes himself in “God’s works”, in other words, God you done goooood. You should be no different about yourself. You need to be able to look in a mirror and say to yourself, God you done gooood, because to deny your self-worth is to say Jesus’ sacrifice was pointless. To find fault with your self is to say God did something wrong or that he messed up in some way.
So answer me this, how is it that
• the one and only true and perfect God,
• the one that never makes a mistake,
• the one who provides all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus
• the one who created the heavens and the earth and everything on them
• the one who was, is and always will be
• the one who sits high and looks low
• the one who gave his only Son to die for our sins
• the one who raised him up on the third day
• the one who made you and
• the one who made me
so when you know that God—how is it you can look at yourself and say that, that God was wrong. That he made a mistake. That what he made is inferior.
David said wonderful are your works; that I know very well. When you look at yourself, see what God created, don’t look for and at what you perceive as flaws. Those are what make you unique, what make you one of a kind and what make you special.
If you can’t find it in you to love who you are, love what and who God made.
Don’t allow the world to determine your self-worth. The world will tell you your self-worth is determined by
• your net worth
• what size clothes you wear
• your skin color
• your hair color
• what kind of house you live in - how big it is, what neighborhood it’s in
• what kind of car you drive - what’s the make, model and year, is it a classic
• your title - whether it’s your work title or ladies isn’t it interesting there are so many words to identify us? Mrs. if you’re married, Miss if your single of Ms if you don’t want to state it and men are just Mr. Things that make you go hmmm.
• your success - but what is success, who defines it
• the size of your congregation - but what are they doing
• the size of your church building - but is it being used for the glory of God
And here’s the thing—none of those things will carry into eternity and if it doesn’t matter in eternity, how much weight should those things carry in your determination of your self-worth now?
You want to know what you’re worth. Well let’s ask God.
In John 3:16 it says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
God gave his one and only Son. So think back to what I said about the miracle of conception, pregnancy and childbirth. And Jesus’ conception and birth was even more of a miracle, because it came without the seed of man. God did what only God can do, he placed his seed in a vessel called Mary in order to save His creation.
You want to know your worth? Let’s ask the Holy Spirit.
John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”
The Holy Spirit is with us to remind us of what God would have us do, to keep us going in the right direction, to help us stay on course, the one that leads to God, the Father, to keep our feet on the narrow road that leads to heaven and stay off the wide road that leads to destruction.
You want to know what you’re worth. Let’s ask Jesus. When you love someone, you pray for them and this was Jesus’ pray for us.
John 17“1 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. 6 “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.
Listen carefully, this is for and about us
20 “I ask not only on behalf of these but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them and I in them.”
When you pray, it includes yourself. It’s not only ok to pray for yourself, it’s necessary, just don’t get stuck there, sometimes you need to get out of yourself and pray for others too. That’s called intercession, but that’s another message.
Jesus not only prayed for us. Yes prayer is a powerful weapon, and it’s a wonderful tool, but sometimes you’ve got to go, sometimes you’ve got to put your faith into action.
Jesus not only prayed for us, He gave his life for us.
• He suffered rejection
• He experienced grief and loss
• He encountered betrayal
• He endured pain and suffering
• And he died alone to atone for your sins and mine
Jesus thought so much of you, that he died in your place, he died in my place. And it wasn’t just a death, he died a sinner’s death on a cross. It was a death sentence reserved for the worst criminals. He was a sinless man, dying for sinful mankind so we would be able to receive eternal life.
So if God, the creator of everything, loved you so much he gave his only Son; if the Holy Spirit loves you so much he abides in you to guide and remind you how to stay on the right path; and if Jesus loved you so much he died a horrible death for you; can’t you find something good about yourself? Not to be haughty and proud, because pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. But can’t you find something about yourself that you can celebrate?
Something within that gives you the confidence, when asked to do something, to say yes, yes, I can do that. Tap into that place where God placed your gift and allow it to shine for His glory.
Reach into that reservoir within you that holds your talent and use it for building the Kingdom of God. Come on you can do it, you’ve got this, now let’s go. For just a moment I want you to think, “What can I do this week to increase God’s kingdom?” “Who will I witness to and invite to church this week?” For real think.
OK, do you have them in mind? Have you thought of your plan of attack? Yes I said attack, saints we are in a war and the spoils of this war are the very souls of God’s people.
Now, I want you to remember this, when, not if, but when you are rejected, they’re not rejecting you, they’re rejecting what you’re offering, they’re rejecting Jesus. You shake the dust from your feet and move on to the next person and the next one and the next one, because our work is never done, our race is not finished until we get to glory, until we see Jesus face to face.
But your journey begins here, and it can begin today, if you’ve never accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, today is a good day. All it takes is a prayer...
Lord God, I confess I’m a sinner in need of salvation, I believe Jesus is your Son, that he died for my sins, rose again and now sits at your right hand praying for me. Please forgive my sins, and Jesus be Lord of my life, in Your name I pray. Amen
If you prayed that prayer for the first time, welcome to the family. Reach out to us, you can find all our information on the website, and let us know of your wonderful decision, then find a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your community where you can get busy utilizing those gifts and talents God has placed in you.
And I’ll leave you with this
I may not be someone’s first choice,
but I am a great choice
I may not be rich, but I am valuable
I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not,
because I’m good at being me
I may not be proud of some of the things I’ve done in the past,
but I am proud of who I am today
I may not be perfect, but I don’t need to be
Take me as I am, or watch me as I walk away
May the Lord watch, between me and thee, while we’re absent one from another, amen.