Psalm 139:1-24 The Greatest Relationship
The greatest relationship you will ever have is with God.
Why? Because even though our lives may be filled with mountain peaks and valleys, God is faithful to be with us every step of the way. The reason can be so faithful is because God has eternal qualities that will last longer than our life here on Earth. God has three qualities that can make a relationship with Him the best.
THREE QUALITIES THAT MAKE A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD THE GREATEST
God is All-Knowing (Psalm 139:1-6)
Augustine, the philosopher, and theologian is known to have said about God1:
“Since it is God we are speaking of, you do not understand it. If you could understand it, it would not be God.”
How well do people know you? The question is a common one. People can easily say: “You don’t really know me.” The same cannot be said for God. He is the all-knowing, ever-present God.
As David reflects on this part of God’s nature, he outlines a variety of ways in which God knows him personally. Here is a list of the ways in which God knows him (and me.)
1. God has Googled me. (Psalm 139:1)
If you want to find out about someone today, you can go online and type in their information. We call it “Googling” someone. You can find out about someone by what they have put online. God has googled me and knows all about me. But He knows more than what is online. He knows my heart.
2. He knows my ways (Psalm 139:2-4)
He knows when I sleep, what I eat, where I go, what I am about to say, and my habits.
3. He knows me relationally (Psalm 139:5-6)
He touches me when I need comfort. He protects me when I feel insecure. God has a knowledge about me that I don’t even know about myself.2
God knows our every move, our every thought. He even knows what we will say and what we will do in the future. Such knowledge is incomprehensible to us who are limited by time and space.3
God is All-Present (Psalm 139:7-12)
“Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, HCSB)
Wherever we go, God is there. Whether you’re high or low, up or down, strong or struggling, the Lord is with you (Hebrews 13:5). If you’re walking with the Lord, this is comforting. If you’re running from Him, it should be convicting.4
Although the people in hell do not experience God’s gracious presence, even those in hell will recognize that it is the Lord, not Satan, who is the master of hell. There is no place so high or so low, so far east or so far west, so light or so dark that it is outside the presence of God. This is a great comfort, especially to those who are suffering. No persecutor’s dungeon is too dark for God to see his people. No prison camp is too filthy for him to be present with them. Wherever they are, he will be with them.5
God is All-Powerful (Psalm 139:13-18)
A relationship with this kind of Person leaves me and you with a choice. One can either choose to hate this Person or one can choose to engage this Person.
The concluding verses of this section respond to the first three sections of the psalm. God’s knowledge, his presence, and his power all cause us to rejoice. God’s attributes are not separable qualities that can be considered by themselves. In discussing each attribute of God, we are simply looking at the same loving care for us from a different angle. He uses his power, his presence, his knowledge, and all his other attributes to provide his blessings, which are too numerous to count. “To awake in the presence of God” (verse 18) may well look beyond God’s day-to-day preservation of our lives to the resurrection in his presence.6
I can choose to be an enemy and hate this great relationship (Psalm 139:19-22)
You can tell if a person hates God. They show certain characteristics. I don’t mean people who are just indifferent to God. I mean people who hate God.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SOMEONE WHO HATES GOD
1. Deny God’s existence (Psalm 139:19)
“God, if only You would kill the wicked— you bloodthirsty men, stay away from me —” (Psalm 139:19, HCSB)
The righteous are people who listen to God and want to do what God wants. What God is His righteousness. So followers of God who build a relationship with Him will say that God exists.
The wicked, by contrast, are people who don’t listen to God. They don’t want to do what God wants. They will actively oppose God. The first way to oppose God is to act like He doesn’t exist. If God doesn’t exist, then I don’t need to submit to Him. If God doesn’t exist, then I can act any way I want. I can treat other people as inferior to me because there is no Authority above me to prevent me from acting in an evil fashion.
1. Defame God’s character (Psalm 139:20)
People who hate God defame His character. They are willing to drag His name through the mud. They are willing to use His name in vain.
2. Disrupt God’s work (Psalm 139:21)
“Lord, don’t I hate those who hate You, and detest those who rebel against You?” (Psalm 139:21, HCSB)
The reason that David begins to well up with hate against the God-haters is that they openly disrupt God’s work and plans. They rebel against God.
3. Detest God’s relationship (Psalm 139:22)
“I hate them with extreme hatred; I consider them my enemies.” (Psalm 139:22, HCSB)
Why does David hate his enemies? It is because he loves God so much that it angers him that someone hates Who he loves.
When you know somebody loves you, really loves you, and is totally devoted to you—what is your response to that kind of love? For me, my response is to reciprocate that love; simply put, to love them back. And when I really love somebody I want to stand on their side, defend them, hold them up, and protect them. In other words, I want to love what they love and hate what they hate—becoming part of them. Now apply that kind of response to the marvelous love God has for us, and it’s easy to see that David was responding to God’s love by making a firm stand. I want to hate those who hate you, Lord, for I am now on your side—in the camp of the Lord God!7
I can choose to love this relationship and engage with this Great God (Psalm 139:23-24)
I have to open up to God in order for this to be the greatest relationship.
FOUR WAYS I CAN DEEPEN MY GREAT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
1. Let God search me
That’s hard to do, to slice open your soul to God and ask him to search all through your being. What would God find in you that is offensive and flawed? It can be painful. But that’s where breakthroughs begin because the way up is down. Humble yourself before God, and he will lift you up.8
2. Let God test me
The word translated ‘thoughts’ in some Bible versions carries the idea of anxious thoughts. We can easily see why David mentions this. He has been praising the God who is unlimited in knowledge and power, the one who is present everywhere. Such a God is worthy of our complete trust and devotion. But how often we fail to trust him! How often we let anxious thoughts control us rather than childlike trust in this mighty, wise God!9
3. Let God see me
Let God examine me. Let Him see if there is any idolatry or sin in me. This takes trust in my relationship. Only I truly trust someone and love them enough will I be willing to let them examine me. I need God’s accountability in my life. I need the Spirit seeing me, searching me and telling me when I am wrong.
4. Let God lead me
If I want the greatest relationship, then I need to let God lead me. Just as the man leads the woman when the two are dancing, God is in a dance relationship with me. He leads and I follow. When He leads and I choose to follow, then the relationship grows and get better. Because the best relationship you ever will have for eternity will be with God.
1 Craig Brian Larson and Phyllis Ten Elshof, 1001 Illustrations That Connect (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2008), 105. Originally from “Reflections,” Christianity Today (July 20, 2000).
2 Jim Erwin, “How Well God Knows Me,” Psalm 139:1-18, 21 September 2015, Lectionary Reflections Year B (2014-2015), Logos Bible Software Notes.
3 John F. Brug, Psalms 73–150, 2nd ed., The People’s Bible (Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Pub. House, 1989), 253.
4 Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: Volume Two: Psalms-Malachi (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006), 163.
5 John F. Brug, Psalms 73–150, 2nd ed., The People’s Bible (Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Pub. House, 1989), 255.
6 John F. Brug, Psalms 73–150, 2nd ed., The People’s Bible (Milwaukee, WI: Northwestern Pub. House, 1989), 256.
7 Debbie Alsdorf, Deeper: Living in the Reality of God’s Love (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2008).
8 Bob Merritt, 7 Simple Choices for a Better Tomorrow (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2012).