Psalm 139:13-16

13    For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14    I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

15    My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16    Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.[1]


God’s Presence, A Good Thing?

Psalm 139 is kind of crazy. Up to this point, we are unsure if the author is freaked out or comforted by God’s presence. Think about the language “where can I go from your presence… where can I flee from your Spirit…”. This language is often thought of as reassuring for Christians, but what if you are at odds with God, not so good!

Can’t Hide From God, Even in the Womb

Then they get to this part. In the third section of this Psalm, the author is saying maybe there is a deep recess – a cave where they could have escaped God’s all-knowing, ever-present eye. Perhaps it was a time when no one was aware of my existence – not even my mother. But, in the womb, at the beginning, even there, God was involved. God knows the psalmist intimately now, he is always with them, and this has been true since the moment they were brought into being. That process was not absent from God’s perfect plan and purpose.

God Isn’t Distant; He is Involved

God was not just creating life, but a life. He cares and is involved. This is not the God who simply sets the world in motion and then watches from a distance. No, in Psalm 139, we have a God who cares deeply for life. As Christians, we should also value and champion life, from the moment of conception to death. This matters. It is not only unfortunate, but it is also tragic that Christians can operate in a way that devalues human life.

God Made You, Be Comforted

For the Christian, don’t miss the wonder of the fact that your God not only knows you perfectly, but He made you. In the words of Nancy deClaisee-Walford, “Each of us was reverently, wondrously, strikingly, remarkably, differently made—in ways that are beyond human explanation.”[2] Think about that when life seems to be crushing in on you; when it looks like you have nowhere to turn. God knows you, he knows exactly what you are going through and how you are feeling, He is with you right now this very moment in this place, and He is the author of your very existence. What a beautiful truth to meditate upon.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ps 139:13–16.

[2] Nancy deClaissé-Walford, Rolf A. Jacobson, and Beth LaNeel Tanner, “The Songs of the Ascents: Psalms,” in The Book of Psalms, ed. E. J. Young, R. K. Harrison, and Robert L. Hubbard Jr., The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014), 966.

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