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It sure is a blessing to join together for our small group study. If you grab your Bible, we’re in Psalm 139 as you can see on the slide in front of you, you’ve come to the 18th week. I say this every week to whoever tunes in: you don’t have to start at the beginning unless you’re one of those people that has to do things in order. Either way, whatever works for you, but we’re in an eighteen lesson journey that is 52 lessons long. A whole year through the whole Bible and we’re looking at what I call the greatest chapters, the key chapters that frame the message of the whole Bible. If you study these 52 together with us, you’ll understand the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. You’ll understand the key doctrines, the key attributes, theological truths about God, the overarching mega themes of the scriptures. Plus, you’ll understand the 52 most important snapshots, those individual events that go from Genesis to Revelation. Thanks for joining us now.
Psalm 139 is where we are. You can see that right there on the screen. Before I read the scripture, let me remind you of what our target is. We’re looking at all mighty God. He is introduced in this chapter as your Designer. He’s the one that invented, created, and deployed your DNA that has all the unchangeable features of your life, all the patterns that created you the way that you are at this moment. He designed you, now that’s amazing. As we’re going to see in this lesson that Designer, do you see on the slide there, personally wants to show you His way. He calls it the everlasting way.
To get into the scriptures, I guess sometimes I need to remind myself of this, that you can’t study the Bible unless you invite the Author in. Early this morning when I spent my last time looking at this passage and getting ready to do this class with you now, I invited the Lord to open my eyes. That’s Psalm 119 verse 18. Before we read the 139th Psalm let me just show you what I do before I study the Bible. Just bow for a minute with me. Father in Heaven, I pray that You do what Your word says in Psalm 119 verse 18. Open our eyes to behold wonderful truths, not just facts, but wonderful truths we can apply to our lives today. That’s my prayer for me and for everybody in this small group that they would understand and apply Your word for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Now, if we were sitting across from each other, I would be inviting you to open your Bible to Psalm 139. I would say I’ve spent all week long studying this chapter and I want to introduce you to why this chapter, for the last five years, has been the one that I’ve seen more of those that are in my small group finally connect that kind of abstract, huge theological, systematic theology attributes of God concept with their life. God is defined in the Bible through scriptures, that as theologians have studied and pastors and Bible teachers over all the centuries, since God’s word was given to us. They have found they’re just a little more than two dozen attributes of God. There are four kinds and they’re big names for Him; incommunicable and moral and His will and all these different attributes, but basically what they are is God’s self-description to us, so we understand Him.
Let me show you what I mean. In your Bible follow along, Psalm 139. Now, do you remember the first verse in the Hebrew manuscript is the superscript? If your Bible does not have it, I hope that you will get a Bible that does and is an actual study Bible so you don’t miss any of this. The first verse in Hebrew is usually before our English first verse. It says, “For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.” Now that’s called a superscript. That means it was the identifier, a musical tune for singing and chanting and doing this psalm in the temple, in the tabernacle, or it’s a description of the author, or a situation, kind of a backdrop for the song. Whenever there’s one of those “for the chief musician” or “Psalm of David”, something like that, it’s really important because God gave us that to give us a fuller understanding.
This is David talking, that’s why it’s good to know the author and God told us through that superscript. “O LORD,” David says, “You have searched me and known me.” Look how it ends. This is one of those neat psalms that’s got a neat package to it. “O LORD, You have searched me and known me.” Verse 1, look at verse 23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.” It’s a beautiful beginning and ending saying, God, my life is wide open before You, You are my God. You are my king. You’re the one that I want to honor. It’s just such a beautiful package. What does it reveal about the Lord? He can search us and know us, ” my sitting down and my rising up.” He’s tracking with us all the time. Another part of the Bible says He never slumbers or sleeps. He watches us all the time. Parents have those nursery monitors. People have cameras, have you noticed that? If it’s not the Nest, it’s the Blink and if it’s not the Blink, I don’t know what it is. We have all these security cameras watching us all the time. They’re just reminders that God is watching us all the time. You can grab your phone and look at your doorbell camera, or you can grab your phone and look at your security camera.
Do you realize that God has always had that capacity? Only you don’t have to pay for some service for Him not to lose the tapes. He keeps a perfect record. He’s searching us. He knows our, verse 2, “sitting down and my rising up.” He understands our thoughts afar off before we even think them. Wow. “You comprehend my path and my lying down, and You’re acquainted with all my ways.” Verse 3. “There is not a word on my tongue, O LORD, You know it altogether.” That means the Lord knows our words. He knows what we didn’t say, what we were going to say, what we did say, what we wish we hadn’t said. He says, do you realize I know everything about you? Like that slide says, I’m your Designer. I want to change any part of you that doesn’t, right now, respond the way I designed you to respond to Me. I want you to surrender that to Me so I can fix it, so I can renew it, so I can regenerate you. That’s salvation.
In each of these classes, I know that someone might be watching this, and you don’t even really understand what we’re talking about right now. It’s interesting, but you don’t get it. Here’s what the Bible says. Salvation is when God gives me a new heart and a new spirit. The Designer of my DNA, the Creator of me moves in, gives me a new heart, which becomes His home, His Temple. What He does is He forgave me the instant that happened for me. It happened when I was six years old. At age six I was convicted of my sin. My mother opened the word of God, showed me the plan of salvation and I called on the name of the Lord. The Lord forgave all of my sins and moved in. Now that’s the greatest way to understand the Bible, to know the author personally. If you haven’t been saved and if He is knocking if He’s convicting you if you feel a stirring inside, why don’t you just pause this video right now and call out to Him? Do you know what the Bible says? He’s just an arm’s length away. All you have to do is reach out to Him by faith. Say, Lord, I’m a sinner. You’re my Creator. You’re my Designer. I want You to forgive me and move inside and transform me. That’s salvation.
We could read more if we had endless time at Panera or Starbucks. If we were going through this in person, I would read the whole chapter, but instead, I’m going to survey it with you to launch you for your study this week. In the next slide, you notice we’ve finally come to the eighth week of going through key psalms. We started a long time ago with Psalm 1, then we did 19, the power of the word and the cross and the Good Shepherd. Then we saw the greatest climactic event of all, the return of the King. Then we saw David getting distracted and falling into sin that broke all 10 commandments, his adultery, and murder of Uriah, the whole horrid time, but the glorious forgiveness. Psalm 51 talks about getting restored with God. Then, last time we looked at the power of the Word of God, the most life-shaping chapter in the Bible.
Now, here we are in week 18 with Psalm 139 and look at the title. This is the very first time I taught through this. I called it, God Sees Us Always and Everywhere, so that’s our study, but Psalm 139 has brought up a lot of truths. Number one, God is our Creator. The Bible says in Isaiah, He’s carried us from our birth. He’s the only one that’s been with you the whole time. It says in the scriptures that He was there at the instant that your life began, He saw you come into the world and He has followed you, watching every day of your life as your, and my Creator. He’s our guardian. He never sleeps. Romans 8:28 says that He’s causing everything to work together for His good. By the way, if we know Him and love Him and serve Him, it’s our good too. If you don’t know Him and love Him and serve Him, you think it’s bad. Everything that He’s doing, you don’t understand, you get bitter and angry, but once you know the Lord, you say, thank You. Thank You for the struggles. Thank You for the trials. Thank You for all the hindrances I go through in life. It makes me need You, trust You, follow You more.
As we saw a moment ago, He’s our Designer. Look at verse 13 of Psalm 139, “You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” God invented, designed, and launched our DNA. He’s our Designer. He’s also, in Psalm 16:11, our lifelong Guide. It says in that psalm that God wants to show us the pathway of life. Now He says the same thing. Look at verse 24 in this chapter we’re looking at, Psalm 139. “See if there’s any wicked way in me.” Look at verse 24, the end, “lead me in the way everlasting.” Look at this. He’s our friend, our lifelong guide. All we have to do is follow Him for the best life possible.
Now, I just said creator, designer, and that He never slumbers or sleeps, which is implying his omniscience and omnipresence. Let me give you a little science lesson. For all the years when I’ve done these studies one-on-one with people, actually sitting at Panera, I always pause and I pull out the placemat. I say, can I just remind you of something that you know, but haven’t thought about what it means? I start talking to them about the world around us. I remember when we homeschooled our children, in the first class of science we were defining science. It was science, the study of the world around us in that little first-grade science book. If you have a first-grade kind of curious mind and look at the world around us, look at this. God made all life in one drop of water.
Now on this slide is a microscope, an electron microscope, looking at some of the half a billion infusoria, little creatures that live in every drop of water that’s outdoors, pond water, ditch water. Now let me read to you about them. Even a drop of ditch water can hold 500 million microscopic creatures so small, a teaspoon of water to them would be what the Atlantic Ocean is to us. Now, have you ever stood on the shore of the Atlantic? You can never get across it. They couldn’t cross a teaspoon. That’s how tiny they are, that’s how many of them there are. Those half-billion infusoria can live comfortably in their whole world being a single drop. Look at the complexity, they appear in a thousand species. When scientists trained that electron microscope on that one drop and saw 500 million creatures, there are a thousand different species that are floating around. Some are herbivorous, some are carnivorous, some have shells, some have nothing. They’re just like floating bags of protoplasm. They have mouths, teeth, muscles, nerves, glands. Makes you not want to walk through the pond water or the ditch when you slosh along if you’re out hunting or hiking or whatever. Some species have between one and 200 sacks or stomachs that are only connected by this line and intestinal canal.
Do you know what all of them show? Design, complexity, variation, beauty, symmetry. Wow. The thickness of membranes that line those stomachs of that one creature I just mentioned is estimated to be one 50,000,000th part of an inch. Yet every one of them develops the same stomach lining. Now, why would I bother with that? Because God is the designer of the microscopic and macroscopic. The same complexity we see with a microscope and one drop of pond water is an entire universe of life we see out there. In the macroscope, with the telescope, with the electron microscope, and with all the amazing things in space, the Hubble telescopes. Do you know what both show us? That God is amazing. The wonders of out there reveal He’s our completer. He’s the one that satisfies us, joys us, delights us, and thrills us.
Do you remember Jeremiah 15:16? I use that somewhere in every class. That God is the one, that when we find His Word and eat it, His Word becomes to us the joy and rejoicing of our heart. Why? Because we’re called by His name. We realize He’s the one that completes our life, satisfies us at the deepest level, gives us real joy and delights and thrills. Why I’m saying that is that the everlasting way, verse 24, is talking about how we were designed to spend forever with God in Heaven. A lot of people worry about Heaven. They think a harp on a cloud doesn’t sound good to me. Wait a minute. The God of the universe has enough incredible creative power to make a drop of water an endless universe of life in the infusoria. We don’t even understand all the complexities of this universe around us.
He designed you to live with Him, completing you, satisfying, enjoying, delighting, thrilling you forever. That’s why this chapter, this week, usually is a turning point. People all of a sudden realize they are unique. We’re all like spiritual snowflakes from our fingerprint to our DNA, to our spiritual giftedness, to the uniqueness of the unchangeable features of our life. Even to what family God put us in, what country He put us in, what time in history He put us in. All of that is part of His plan. All God wants us to do is fulfill His purpose for our life in this generation. In our little, short lifespan He wants us to do what He designed us to do. He’s also our changeless one. That’s the neat thing about the Lord. He’s shown us through the laws of nature that He keeps his word. Jeremiah 1:12, He’s watching over His word to perform it. God is doing what He said, and you can trust Him. He is faithful. You can bank on Him. He is almighty, as we’re going to see today, and I’m going to show you this theologically. He’s endless, vast, He loves colors, He loves sounds. The macrocosm and microcosm all show that “What no eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared ahead for those who love Him.”
Always context. When we’re studying the Bible anywhere you open it, you stop and think, wait a minute. First, let me read the whole chapter, then let me dig around and find the context. Sacred geography, that’s the geography of the Bible, reminds us everything happens somewhere. Everything that we’re talking about here in Psalm 139 happened in the land of Israel right where I just circled. David was probably living right here, and this is an archeological kind of drawing of what they think the city of David looked like from their excavations. This is the Kidron valley. This is the Tyropoeon Valley and the Transversal Valley, which together make the Hinnom valley. This is Mount Moriah. This right here is what we would call the Mount of Olives. This is Jerusalem today, although it spills all over above all this. Do you know what’s right here today? Silwan, that’s a Muslim village in Jerusalem called Silwan, and under it is the City of David. This has been excavated. This right here is David’s palace and Eilat Mazar, the Jewish archeologist, found it. They found these retaining walls. They found this gate. You can go underground and it’s all under the city. You can climb around the city of David from 1000 BC, 3000 years ago. That’s the geographic context in sacred history.
Remember everything happened some time. Right here are the PSALMs and much of them, half of them, came during the life of David in 1 and 2 Samuel. That’s a historic background. David is right there in 1000 BC, between Saul his predecessor, and Solomon, his son. Then of course his grandson goes on in the splitting of the kingdom and the grandson takes the Southern kingdom. The Northern kingdom apostatized, went away from the Lord. We’re going to see that as we study all the background history. We’ve done a lot of reading and talking, but this is what your ever-present friend should be, your journal.
If you’re just picking up with us go to our Facebook page The 52 Greatest Chapters of the Bible. You can get this description of the whole course. When I refer to Grudem and the MacArthur Study Bible, and your journal, and online resources, and all that it’s right here. You can print this off and I taped it right into my journal. Here are the 52 passages and you can see I have written the dates we’re covering them. Let’s see, Psalm 139, it is May 2nd, not just when it is that we’re talking about it if you’re picking this up sometime in the future, but see in front of you. For every passage we study, you give it a title, you give it a title. You read it through and say, what is this about? Just write a title. Is your title right? Yes, because it’s what you see as the message or the theme or the topic of this passage. Then you’re looking for lessons because you want to apply them. We’re going to talk about how to do all those things.
Now let me walk through this chapter with you by using my journal. We’re in week 18, it’s Psalm 139. By the way, I just have to say this. Bonnie, my wonderful wife Bonnie is over there, and she runs the soundboard connected to the microphone here. She runs these cameras and the screen and everything else. Bonnie and I started this study on the road. We’re traveling. We’re traveling between mission studios and mission studios. We’re staying in mission housing, driving a mission car, working almost all day long, teaching three classes a day, six days a week to students. That’s what I wanted to tell you about, our virtual classroom. I do classes that are sent to small groups, Bible institutes, seminaries, church groups. You wouldn’t believe the different people that have requested to use these materials in their Sunday school and their small group and whatever it is. You know what I just heard this week from one of the missions we serve? Two new small groups, that because of COVID, because of the lockdown, because of all the struggles we’re going through, have formed. One is in the Netherlands. It’s actually one group of small groups and one is in France and it’s not a solo meeting. It’s a group of people that are meeting in France that are watching these classes in English and studying with their English and French Bibles and working through the classes we’re teaching.
We’ve just done two weeks in Bibliology and now we’re going into two weeks of theology proper. Those are the classes we do in the daytime, but you all, you are my small group. For all the years when I was pastoring, Bonnie and I, either in our home or in small groups, would meet at the church or Panera or Starbucks or something, we always had people we were discipling. When we got on the road and began being in a different place every week and often a different country about every other week, we found that we weren’t with people long enough to disciple them. We decided we would start this small group of people we could pour our lives into every week. That’s why if you follow this sheet, we started on January 3rd and we did Genesis 1 and 2. January 10th we did Genesis 3. Let’s see, on March 28th we did Jesus on the cross in Psalm 122. We have been tracking together all year long for some. We hear from them, we just heard from one last night. She said, I’m a grandmother and I’m in your small group. I pray for you. I’m part of the team as you’re a missionary, she is here in America and she said, we’re praying for you. I wanted to tell you, thanks for praying because we have two new groups, the Netherlands, France. Amazing. In future weeks, sometime, I’ll ask our headquarters to give me a listing of all the places where we’re teaching right now, and I’ll read it to you.
Let’s get back to Psalm 139. Here is another title, remember, I already showed you the title that God Sees Me Always and Everywhere. The next time I read it I wrote, Our Omniscient. Omnipresent God Who Sees Us Always and Everywhere. I enlarged it. Then I thought about the fingerprints of God, they’re all over my life and your life. Then I thought about verse 24, traveling the everlasting way. Then I thought about verses 7 to 11, and I wrote Nowhere to Hide. Do you see any title you give that’s tied to the text is good? Don’t let that stop you from keeping a journal. I know some people just don’t want to make a mistake and they want to do it perfectly and right. You should see all the scratches and markings in my journal. Sometimes I cross stuff off and I correct it and I redo it. Just go through the process because the process is looking for truth in the word of God, so you can apply it, so God can sanctify me. John, the gospel by John, 17:17 says that Jesus wants to “sanctify me by Your truth. Your word, is truth.” Here’s a summary. David expressed God’s complete knowledge of his life. Psalm 139. Look at this, it explains the attributes of God in a clear, understandable, and applicable way. That’s what this is all about.
I continue, here are the lessons I found in Psalm 139:1-2. We already read it. God knows my location at all times. In my journal I wrote, are my actions right in his sight? If you know that your boss, or your teacher if you’re in school, or your parents, whoever, have a camera watching you, especially if the little light is red and it’s on, you’re careful. I’m careful because I’m being watched. That’s a great reminder that God is watching, and my desire should be not to hide what I’m doing from Him and cover the camera or unplug it, but to say God, I want to not be ashamed before You. I know You’re watching me. I know You’re coming, and I want to live for you today.
In the second lesson, God knows my thoughts and meditations, that’s the second half of verse 2 and verse 3. Are my thoughts right in His sight? Did you know that God is recording everything I think, everything I say, everything I do? He has a perfect video of my life with my feelings and thoughts and words and actions altogether. He has an absolute record of everything. Now, I have to tell you, my video’s been edited. I hope yours has been too. When I was six years old and called on the name of the Lord, here I was at age six, God took all of my sins and edited them out. From birth, when I was selfish and screaming and had tantrums, through age six and through to the last day of my life, right there, God edited my sins out. I renewed that. I surrendered to Him at age nine after I was saved at age six. I surrendered to go to Bible school at age 19. I surrendered to share my life with my best friend at age 27. Today I’m 65 and 1/4th, and I’m really close to the finish line. Look at this, at the instant of my salvation, Jesus edited out every sin I ever committed from zero to six and from age six to the end. God has no record of my sins. How is that possible? Because he has punished Jesus Christ on the cross for all of my sins past, present today, and future. Has He done that for you?
My tape has been edited. When I stand before Him at the judgment, the only thing He’s going to see is what in my life was not sin. There are two things you can do in your life. When you have all the sins taken out, you can do good stuff and good for nothing stuff. Good for nothing stuff is just wasted. Good things are things God rewards, that forever He’s going to keep bringing up in Heaven and saying, I’m so glad that you invested your money in the poor and in my local church and in missions. I’m so glad that you gave your time to disciple and to love people and show My compassion. I’m so glad you were in My word. He’s going to forever be reminding you of all the good that’s what the reward is. Do you think God’s going to say, wow, you spent 1,400 hours playing video games? That’s a good-for-nothing thing. It’s going to burn up. We’re going to see that in a few weeks in 1 Corinthians 3. All of life, everything you’re doing today, is either good, eternal, endless, and God’s going to keep it and reward you for it forever in Heaven, or it’s going to burn up at the judgment seat of Christ. It’s good for nothing. The Greek word phaulon means nothingness. Wow. Are my thoughts right in His sight? Is what I’m planning and thinking and doing and spending my time with and listening to and watching and playing and reading, are those good or good for nothing?
Third thing. Wow, this is deep. Isn’t it? It’s impactful. Wait till we get to the application prayer. God listens to all my conversations. Have you ever noticed you have to speak more quietly when you’re in Panera or wherever because you notice someone’s listening? Do you know who listens to all your conversations? God. Are my words right in His sight? Every one of them He’s either forgiving and cleansing and getting rid of forever and punishing Christ for, He’s already done that on the cross, or He’s saying, boy, that was worthless. He’s saying, wow, I’m going to forever remind you that you said that because I’m rewarding you for saying that. You spoke, like Peter said, as an oracle of God. There’s something wonderful about knowing that you can use your mouth as God’s mouthpiece and share the love of Christ and the compassion of Christ and the truth of God.
Number four, God watches my planned destinations or my plans. That’s what it says in verse 5, “You have hedged me behind and before, and You laid your hand upon me.” In other words, it’s like this, He’s got this little box around us. It’s like when you watch Find My Phone, and you have friends or family members that you can see right where they are. God says, hey, I know your destinations, I’ve got you all surrounded. Does He like my plans? Where I’m going, what I’m doing? Verses 6-9, we’re never really alone. Is my life pleasing to Him? Look what it says in verse 7. “Where can I go from Your Spirit?” “If I ascend into Heaven,” verse 8, “You are there.” Verse 9. “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,” verse 10, “even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” Look at this. We are never really alone.
Do you know what sociologists say the most deeply painful human emotion is? Loneliness. Do you know what loneliness really is? Think about it for a second. Come on. Loneliness is when God takes everything and everyone else out of my life so He can be the closest because we’re never alone.
Those pangs of loneliness are us not acknowledging what it says in verse 10, “Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” Verse 11. “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me.” Verse 12. “Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You.” Wow. Everywhere, anywhere, God offers me His hand. He said I want to guide You through life. I want to show you, Psalm 16:11, the path of life. I want to lead you in the everlasting way. Wow. These are amazing lessons. This is just this week sitting early in the morning, starting my day by reading this chapter every day and saying, Lord, show me, teach me, open my eyes. Then writing it down. I want this to become a habit for you, that’s why you’re in my small group. That’s why you’re going to see at the end, you should have someone that you actually look at in the eye and say, hey, I would like to share with you what I found this week. Would you be my accountability partner, or would you be my listener?
Number seven. In verses 11 to 15, every detail of my life was designed by God. Look what it says. Verse 13. “You formed my inward parts.” Wow. Verse 14. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Verse 15. “My frame was not hidden from You.” Verse 16. “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.” Look at verse 16. “In Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me.” Look at this. My life was designed by God as a tool to glorify Him. Now stop for a minute. You were created with a purpose. I heard tragic news. My son said one of his classmates ended his own life. We don’t know why, but most people it is because they’re hopeless, they have no purpose, it’s just too hard to go on. Do you know what God said? I wrote it down. I designed every detail of your life. You are my tool.
Hey, have you noticed what I’m holding and swinging around here? It’s my stylus, my Apple Pencil as it’s called. Did you know this was designed to work with that iPad in front of me? Some human beings that God designed their DNA thought this up and a whole bunch of engineers somehow worked the idea into this. It communicates with that glass surface and all the underneath parts, the haptic touch, or whatever makes it work. We’re amazed by that. Your phone is more complex than all of the instruments that were used up through the discovery of space and the development of the atomic world. All those things pale compared to the complexity and the circuitry and the speed and the computing power of this phone. The trillions of processes per second that just the camera on this thing does are amazing and this was designed by a human. What about, you? Every detail was designed by God for a purpose. Are your choices, what you’re doing with this body He made and this mind He created, honoring Him?
Did you know, I can tell you why that classmate ended his life a couple of months ago because Satan came to kill and steal and destroy. That’s what it says in John 10, but Jesus said, I’m not like Satan. I came that you might have life and life overflowing and abundant. There are only two choices: serving God, your designer that wants to satisfy and thrill and overflow your life, or serving your father the devil. You and I were born sinners in Satan’s family, and either we were born again into God’s family by calling on the name of the Lord and being saved, or we have growing hopelessness, emptiness, purposelessness, decreasing joy, decreasing satisfaction with life. We all become like Ernest Hemingway and have no purpose to live, and some end their lives as he did.
Verse 16, God has written the route or path for my life. See, in your book, they were written, all the days fashioned for me. God has designed the best life possible. He wants you to follow the paths. Sometimes we go in the ditch and He has to pull us out. Sometimes we get off the path and He has to go airlift us and put us back on. As long as we walk on that path, there’s fullness of joy. Am I going to respond to every twist and turn by holding His hand and seeking to please Him? Do you know what’s best on the path? Hold the Lord’s hand, He’s walking the path, just stay with Him.
Number nine, I’m always on God’s mind. He never stops watching me. Do I stop and acknowledge Him? That’s what praying without ceasing is by the way. Thanking Him that He is watching and guarding and guiding and designing and filling me with joy. I just can’t stop. It’s like the boy on the first date. That’s just, constantly talking. Hey, that’s how life is with the Lord. We talk to Him; we pray without ceasing. Verses 19 to 22, some people have a little trouble with, “O, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.” This is called imprecatory prayers. Imprecation, calling down fire and brimstone, the judgment and wrath of God. Why? Look at this. David was the king of the nation God chose to claim as His own chosen people. That’s the theology class that I’m teaching this week, three classes a day. It is about the whole plan of God for the world and how Israel is the nation He chose, His chosen people of promise. It’s just amazing. The king of the nation God chose to claim as His own chosen people. God’s enemies were David’s enemies when he was the king of Israel.
Now Israel doesn’t have a king and everything that the nation of Israel does today is not God’s plan and representation in the world. They’re very much a secular and unbelieving nation, but they’re still His chosen people. When they had the king that God gave them, David for example, look at this. Just as Romans 13 says the sword of God’s civil laws is in the hands of the king. David was God’s tool against his enemies on Earth. That’s why when David went out and fought the Ammonites and fought the Aramaeans and Hadadezer here and all that stuff there, he was a tool in God’s hand. Imprecatory prayers are not for us to pray on our enemies, but for us to see God will deal with His enemies. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. That’s why Christians don’t riot. We don’t fight to get God’s way done in this world. We are those who submit, Romans 13, to the government and the rules and authorities around us and entrust the keeping of our soul to God.
Finally, here’s the end. To know God’s will, I must first let Him scan my life. Look at this. You want to know God’s will, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties.” Scan my life. In this mission house where we had a repairman come yesterday. He knocked on the door real loudly and came in with a scanner and he was going like this. He said, there’s water leaking in this building and it’s going to leak in here. A lot of people are getting leaks and he said, I’m going to find out if you have a leak. He went around and that scanner looked through the walls and could find moisture through all of our walls and floors and ceilings. I was amazed. He even showed me, he found my washcloth in the shower, in the dark because it showed up. I had it up on top of the showerhead and he said, you have a rag on top. In the dark, he could see that because it was bright, fluorescent purple because all moisture showed up that way. Let God scan your life and look for anything that dishonors Him. Surrender that to Him and look what He’ll do. He’ll lead in the way everlasting. Let God identify what needs to change and then obediently follow His plan.
Here’s my application prayer. I’ll pray it with you. Thank You, Lord, for being with me from the start of my life. You have designed me in every detail for Your plan and Your glory. I trust You. I love You. I rest in Your care. Please search me today. Show me what needs to change today and lead me down Your everlasting way for Jesus’ sake. You say that wasn’t very profound. No, but that was one morning’s prayer to God after I spent the time to lovingly read through every word of this psalm.
Real quickly, I want to get this. Each day not only do I do what I just did with you. I also study all the background in my study Bible, I read the footnotes, I read the charts, I read the book introduction. I read the tables in the back, all the stuff. Remember the MacArthur Study Bible is like a packaged Bible college education. If you read the whole Bible with all the footnotes, it is the equivalent that you have gone off to a Bible college, a Bible Institute, or going to seminary. That’s the level of the teaching. Now let me show you what I found Psalm 139 explained some of God’s attributes. Let’s talk about God’s attributes. Let me get heavy and deep, but practical.
God’s attributes are not additions to His being. Now, a lot of people are all mixed up about God. They think there’s God then out there is something. Justice, love, eternity, independence, freedom. These are all attributes, and they think it’s God plus additives, like chocolate added to the milk, no. God is not a collection of attributes. That’s another thing people think, they think God is love and justice and eternity and omnipotence, at one moment He is wisdom. Another moment He’s holy, but I hope He’s merciful at that moment when He’s thinking of me. Jealousy, I don’t even know why He’s jealous. God is not a collection of attributes. God is not attributes out there and God is in the middle. No, look at this. God is one God. You’ve got to get your theology proper.
There is one infinite eternal God who eternally exists in three persons. There is God the Father, theta is the abbreviation in theology for God. God the Son and God the Spirit. There’s one God eternally existing in three persons, but they are coeternal, consubstantial they are one God, we don’t have three gods. We’re not polytheists, tritheists, we’re monotheistic. There’s one God, but He has revealed Himself eternally existing in three persons. St. Augustine, the great theologian, the Bishop of Hippo from the fourth century, used to say that the doctrine of God’s triunity is so shallow it’s like seawater on the edge where a baby splashes and enjoys the ocean. He said it’s like the ocean, shallow for those that want to just enjoy it, but so deep that the deeper you go into it you can drown. We can’t comprehend the fullness of the infinite God, but theologians have said this, God is one God in three persons with many attributes, look at this, perfectly united. See this is my drawing, I hope you don’t mind, it is kind of messy and it’s hard to see. What it is, is all the attributes are in there. They’re not divided, they’re perfectly united. God is eternally all those attributes all at once. That’s basically what we’re trying to say.
Here’s Wayne Grudem. Remember this is the resource and that’s the one that’s listed here in the front sheet that talks about a great way to deepen your study as a companion to the MacArthur Study Bible. Wayne Grudem I would call a friend. I can still remember the last time I had lunch with him. He handed me his iPhone and told me to type in what I was telling him on his phone. I said, why don’t you do it? He said because you know what you want to say so type it up. I said, okay. This is a page from his book. God’s attributes are, first of all, His incommunicable attributes, His independence. He doesn’t need anything. His unchangeableness, we say that God does not change so He’s immutable. His eternity, His omnipresence, His unity.
God also has within these, in the systematic theology, He’s defined with scripture. God doesn’t need anything. Grudem gives you several pages of scripture about that. God is unchanging yet, God acts and feels differently in response to different situations. Immutability doesn’t mean frozen, concrete, hard, stiff. It means that God in His perfections never changes, but in His responses to us within our needs and our struggles, He feels compassion with us. He isn’t changing, but He’s responding. He acts and feels differently in response to different situations.
Thirdly, His eternity. God has no beginning, no end, no succession of moments. He sees all time equally vividly, yet God sees events in space and time and X. Now we’re getting over our head. What that means is that time is a dimension that’s this flat surface here, and God is outside that dimension and looks down at all of it. God equally sees the beginning and the end and everything in between all at the same time. However, look at this, He sees events in time and acts in time. He sees all vividly at the same time, He does not experience a succession of moments. He doesn’t wait for things to happen in the sense of finding out what’s going to happen. He is also omnipresent. He enjoys every point of space with His whole being. He’s there present, yet He asked differently in different places. Do you see why St. Augustine said you can drown? Unity, God is not divided into parts. There’s not the son part and the spirit part. He is one God, yet we see different attributes and three different persons displayed simultaneously. Wow.
Omnipotence, what does that mean? He’s all-powerful. He created, named, and continues to keep all the stars. They aren’t just up there going on their own. God created them, He named them and He’s keeping them going. At the instant He wants, 2 Peter 3 says, He’s going to turn them all off. That’s omnipotence. He says nothing is too hard for Him. He said I’ll never let you perish. Nothing can take you out of my hand. I’m holding you. He allows nothing to separate us from Him. Now we can separate ourselves from Him by our sin. Our sins and iniquities make us feel lost, but nothing in itself, no power nor height, nor depth or any created thing can separate us from God. He holds all things together.
Scientists are always trying to figure out why the light-charged particles at the center of a nucleus of an atom don’t fly apart. They’ve even invented an unknown particle they call a gluon, like glue, gluing them together. Isn’t it clever for physics to find a gluon? They still don’t know why those like-charged particles don’t repel each other. I know why. Colossians 1:1 says, and by Him, all things consist. He holds all things together. He’s able to keep us from falling. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling,” Jude 23 and 24 say. God is omnipotent.
Those were just His incommunicable attributes. Here are His communicable ones, these are ones we share with Him. Spirituality, invisibility, knowledge, His omniscience, His truthfulness, His faithfulness. We understand knowledge. He has all knowledge. We understand truth. He has all truth. Do you understand? Those are the ones He communicates to us that we can participate in.
Here are his moral attributes. This is what He wants us to be like. This is what He wants to sanctify us to be like. To have His goodness and love and mercy, grace, and patience. That’s one attribute to systematic theologians. He wants us holy. He wants us to be peaceful, which means orderly. I don’t want to meddle. Christians, God wants us to grow in our orderliness. That’s one of the byproducts of the Spirit of God in our life. Disorder is part of the fall. Orderliness is part of redemptive, creative, sanctifying, godliness. By the way, Shalom, you know how the Jewish people say Shalom, peace, and they use that as a greeting. It’s actually from the Hebrew verb Shalem, which means to be made complete. Until we meet God, we’re restless and incomplete. When God moves in, He makes us completely at peace. Righteousness and justice are other attributes. Jealousy, God is perfectly jealous. He wants our attention. He wants our money. He wants our love. He wants our loyalty. Wrath, that’s an attribute of God. A perfect one. He perfectly displays His wrath against sin. That’s what the end times are about. Theologians talk about His attributes of purpose. His will. His freedom. His omnipotence, which is power and sovereignty. His perfection. Blessedness, beauty, glory. You can read all this in Grudem if you want.
Now think of our Psalm 139 God. His eternity. He sees everything vividly at once. His unchangeableness. He has a purpose and promise. His wisdom. He chooses the best goals and the means to reach those goals. His omniscience. He knows all things actual and possible. Look at this, His desire for connection. God makes personal contact with Him through prayer because prayer changes the way God acts. That’s a part of His attributes that He responds to prayer. It doesn’t change His will; it doesn’t change His purpose. It doesn’t change His decrees and all these theological terms, but it does change how He acts. If you want God to act you need to be connected to Him with prayer. Wow. We’re not covering prayer in this session.
How do we apply these 25, 26, 27 attributes that you see on the screen? Watch, let’s pick just four. His omnipresence, omniscience, love, and omnipotence. Now, watch this. Putting all of our problems, our struggles, our limitations, our fears and frustrations, everything that you face today, you can put it into a biblical perspective. God offers to put it through Psalm 139 and into a biblical perspective. Here are our life’s challenges. A financial hit, COVID lockdown, you can’t go to work, a lot of people are struggling or an accident. Bonnie just told me she’s driving in this mission car and there’s a crack in the windshield. She says, what do we do, honey? I said we would pay for it. Somebody has to pay for it. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know if a rock from a car or some kid threw a golf ball at the car, it doesn’t really matter. This is a challenge of life. Here’s another one, an unexpected loss. Your parent dies, your spouse dies. Your child dies. Your friend at school dies. How about this? You get the test result back. The doctor says we’re going to have to talk about treatment about what we’re going to do with cancer or whatever serious health issue.
Remember what the Bible says. He besets us. He says I beset you before and behind. Do you remember what He talks about in verse 10? He’s leading us, He’s putting His hands around us like that, so we’re held by God. That’s the first thing to know. Now, who is holding us? God is good. He always loves. Number two, we’re held by God who is omniscient. He always knows. In other words, God is not surprised by anything. He doesn’t learn anything. He doesn’t count things. He knows everything completely, totally. He knows. How about this? God is always with us. Remember He neither slumbers nor sleeps. He says you can’t go anywhere without Me; I have my hand out to you. Finally, I like this one. God is all-powerful. You know what that means? That means cancer can’t get into your box, your life, your body, without God’s permission. It means you can’t get that pink slip notice that you lost your job without God knowing it from before you were designed. That loss that you’ve suffered is allowed into your life by a God of love. We are sealed by His love, His power, His presence, and His knowledge, and nothing can get into our life without Him having a plan for it. Think about that.
By our response, God is either good with that broken windshield, with that lost job, with that lost partner, with that lost relationship, with that lost night of sleep, or He’s bad. He wasn’t watching, He missed that one. We get bitter and angry and upset. God is either wise, that He knows all things past, present, future, or He’s dumb, limited. There are actually people that think that or act that way. God is all-powerful. Either He is omni, all-powerful and nothing can get by Him, or He’s weak. He’s either present right now with you or He’s absent. Now, look at this. Psalm 139 says our responses to all the struggles we have in life are declaring to you, to God, to everybody watching you, what you believe about God. Do you know what God wants us to do? Remember He’s holding out His hand. He wants to guide us and lead us. He wants to be the God we trust. That’s what’s on our money, In God We Trust, but most people don’t. God wants us to obey that Psalm 139 scripture every day of our life.
Do you know what I’m supposed to do? Lord, today search me, know my heart, scan me like that workman that came through looking for leaks, and know my anxieties. Do you know what anxiety is? Anxiety is meditation on problems. Everybody’s a good meditator, but some people are meditating on their problems and they’re anxious rather than meditating on God’s promise in His faithfulness and His attributes and being peaceful. Either you meditate on your problems or His promises and either you’re anxious or you’re peaceful. We ask Him to examine us. Almighty God, your Designer, in Psalm 139, wants to show you the everlasting way. He’s got His hand reached out to you. How do you grab His hand? You say, God, search me, see verse 24. If there’s any wicked way in me and if there is, I repent. Forgive me. Cleanse me. I want to grab Your hand. Lead me in Your everlasting way.
I have three final challenges. This study will not do any good if you just keep adding knowledge because knowledge puffs up and you’ll think you’re really smart. You’re really writing down all these facts and truths and now incommunicable attributes. No. Find someone with whom you can share your findings and your application prayer. Tell them that I needed God to search my heart today to see if there’s any wicked way in me. I repented and He cleansed me. I have His peace today as I’ve never known before. That’s the first one. Number two, start to review a scripture passage and take that challenge of starting to memorize. Now, remember I’ve told you this, that’s the only way God will change you.
Here’s the third one. Would you consider adopting us as one of your missionaries by praying for us as we go and serve? We’re already scheduling out. We’re going through all the things you need to do to travel internationally. We’re hoping to launch soon, within the next few weeks, and we’re going to be back on the road. Usually, we’re 300 to 330 days away from home and traveling overseas every year. It’s a lot. Would you pray for us? Would you pray for us right now? Teaching those new classes I told you about in the Netherlands and France. Also, for all the ones that were regularly scheduled in New Zealand and Australia, in Singapore, in Canada, in the United Kingdom, in Scotland, all over the place.
We’re teaching the next generation, see my wonderful wife Bonnie, who’s recording this right now. We are reaching the next generation. We’re equipping and mobilizing those who are reaching out where they are. I just heard from a sweet couple in Sri Lanka and they’re in our class. They said we live in this high-rise apartment block, and we are reaching out. They said we were just checking in with you because we’re doing our homework. We’re sharing the gospel. We are trying to do our part in the kingdom of God. Would you pray for us as we encourage hundreds and hundreds of next-generation students?
The other half of what we do is to work with frontline missionaries. Bonnie and I are in constant contact with people in remote places, in difficult places, in closed countries. Hundreds of missionaries in closed country countries we supply materials to. Bonnie and I have provided church services for house churches in China that are meeting. We supply the materials for the pastors who have to work long hours and teach. Pray for us and consider taking a screenshot, putting that on your phone, remembering to pray, adopt us as your missionaries.
When we get back next week, Proverbs 31. I can’t wait to share it with you. God’s perfect plan relationally, what He has for us in life. We’re going to go through that book of wisdom, actually summarize the whole book of Proverbs, but have a great week in Psalm 139. I pray the Lord will bless your studies overflowing as you let Him scan you and you grab His hand every day to go through life.
See you next week, Lord willing.