Five Things You Should Know About God
Text: Psalm 139:1-6
Proposition: God who is All Knowing and therefore All Present is All Powerful, and Ever the Same, Eternally, is Worthy of All Praise.
Introduction: Have you ever seen those concave mirrors that are in the carnivals and amusement parks. They reflect a distorted, comical and almost unrecognizable reflection of what you look like. We see that and we know that’s not us so it makes us laugh. What would happen if we simply believed that what the distorted reflection told us was real, what would we do if we really believed that is how we looked? I’m guessing that we’d try to hide, we’d hope that no one could actually see what we just saw. When doctor’s deal with people who are suffering from anorexia it’s like that, they see themselves differently as disfigured, distorted images that aren’t real. But it’s not just people who have a disease like anorexia that struggle with perception, in a very real sense we all do. We see things about ourselves that aren’t the way they should be, we believe things about ourselves to be true when in fact they are not and many, many times we hope that people will never see us as we see us. That distortion is the result of sin in other people’s lives and in our own life. Over the years sin tends to bend the mirror more and more and if there is no one to straighten the mirror, to tell us what a real reflection of our soul, spirit and body actually looks like we become more and more lost. This morning we are going to look at what has been called a Wisdom Psalm. It was written by King David over 3000 years ago and yet the wisdom it contains points us to the only One who can straighten the mirror. Turn with me to Psalm 139:1-6.
I. Omniscience, God Saying ‘I See You’.
I believe it was the Cheyenne Indians who would greet one another with the phrase, “I see you”. It meant, ‘I know who you are, I recognize you and I greet you.’ We do something like that in our culture except we shorten it down to, ‘Hey, Hi, Hello or in some settings, Yo!’ That’s how we greet other people, we really don’t know what they are thinking, planning or hiding but we recognize them on the outside. How do you think God greets us? He’s the One who knows all that we know and then way more when it comes to the subject of ‘Me’. What I’m referring to is an attribute of God called Omniscience, the ability of God to know everything at once. You and I accumulate information and we put it together to make conclusions and we call that wisdom. Computers have made terms like ‘data base’ household terms for us and it’s an accurate a reflection of how we accumulate knowledge. But God doesn’t accumulate knowledge or grow in wisdom, He has all knowledge and is all wise. That ought to make you blink just once or twice. That’s what omniscience is, all knowing. So when God who is All Knowing comes and greets you what does He see? Have a look at Psalm 139. “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.” That word ‘search’ means to be examined thoroughly, better than an x-ray, more accurate than a brain scan and more revealing than truth serum. When God looks at you as He is about to greet you He searches you and He knows you. Nothing is hidden from His omniscience. David describes it in terms of inaction and action, sitting down and rising up. Then he adds to that, “You understand my thought afar off.” The simple take on that would be that God in heaven understands our actions here on earth. Others believe that it refers to when my thoughts are afar off from me not God, meaning God knows what I’m going to think before I think it. When it comes to how you view the Omniscience of God is it like God is one or two seconds behind you in your life or is He right beside you second by second or is He seconds and minutes and even years and decades ahead of you. I suppose that how you think about the Omniscience of God depends greatly on how big your God is. Look at what David writes next. “You comprehend my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.” ‘Comprehend’ has same meaning to it as ‘winnowing’ or sifting through wheat to separate the chaff from the kernel. God sifts through our lives in His omniscience, He sees what is full of life and what is dead, He knows intimately all the ways that I do life. In God’s omniscience He sees me exactly as I am, there are no distorted mirrors to block His view of my soul, spirit and body. That’s why Omniscience is God greeting us by saying, ‘I see You.’ David continues by saying, “For there is not a word on my tongue but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.” He knows our thoughts afar off and He knows our response before we are even able to express it. That’s amazing, we generally don’t like the idea of being predictable, we like to be thought of as spontaneous, creative, inspirational even and I believe that God delights in those kinds of qualities in His people. But He is not surprised by us because He knows us. To that thought add this next statement of David’s, “You have hedged me behind and before and laid Your hand upon me.” We do the same sort of thing in our limited knowledge don’t we? We see our toddler and we see the stairs so we put up a child’s gate at the top of the stairs. Your wife is out at night at a meeting so you make sure the light is on outside and the front door is unlocked. Time and again we use our knowledge to hedge in those we love. When God does this in our lives David says that God has, “laid Your hand upon me.” That is a euphemism for the hand laid upon the head in blessing, the hand of blessing that sees a good future for your son or daughter and affirms them in the pursuit of that future. Omniscience is God saying, ‘I see you.’
One last verse, verse 6… “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.” The omniscience of God is all that and more to us, it is too wonderful, it is high, above our ability to encase it with reason, it is in a very real sense beyond our reach but in a good way. It’s like the medicine put out of reach so that it would not poison our children. It’s like all the truth of who we really are, birth certificates, SIN numbers, drivers licenses, title deeds, wedding certificates and death certificates all put in a great iron box safely out of our reach. You don’t know who you will marry when you are six, you don’t know what you will do or where you will live or when you will die. That knowledge is God’s and we cannot attain or reach it and that is a very good thing. It is too wonderful, too high for us. When God greets you He sees it all, not just your past and present but also your future. He has encompassed you before and behind in His sovereignty and yet He still grants you the wonder of free will, trusting that you would move in a way that brings life. When God greets you, and He is greeting you here this morning, He is saying, ‘I see you.’
II. Why Is the Omniscience of God Wonderful News?
1. It amplifies the depths of God’s love for us. If the saying, “He who knows you best loves you most” is true, then it amplifies God’s love for us in that since He really knows what we are made and yet still loves us to the point of being willing to die in our place, then that indeed is a great, great love!
2. It dismisses fate and luck as that which determines opportunity since God’s Omniscience not only sees our circumstance but also hedges us in before and behind.
3. It becomes for us a source of greater hope since what God promised in terms of eternity isn’t a possibility to God but in His Omniscience, it’s a certainty. Heaven is, glory is, resurrection is, immortality is, all these are certainties in His Omniscience.
4. It becomes for us a stimulus in worship. Since God already knows my wandering mind when it comes to prayer, worship and praise He invites me exercise greater concentration as He meets me in these places that I would discover Him even more. Therefore I worship with yet more freedom, pray with yet more transparency and praise with greater clarity.
5. It means we are even more secure in God than we thought we were. The greater that our understanding of God’s Omniscience is the more we realize that He is aware of all things relating to His creation, past, present and future. World cataclysm by nuclear destruction, personal crisis with disease, financial deserts or relational collapse are all within His field of vision. I am in that sense never out of His sight and I have never been more secure than when I am in His sight.
Today we have looked at God’s Omniscience, but there are ‘Five Things You Need to Know About God’. Let’s see what the other four are as we continue in Psalm 139 next week.