Monday, October 04, 2010

Psalm 139

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak about Psalm 139 at my MOPS group last month. I love this Psalm and want to share my findings with you.

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

God has a perfect, in-depth knowledge of you. God knows your thoughts, words and motives. He is not a far-off God who distances Himself from His people, but instead He knows the ins and outs of your lives. He knows every single detail.

He knows your thoughts about yourselves: negative or prideful
He knows your words towards our children: harsh or gentle
He knows your motives towards our husbands or roommates: loving and submissive, or irritated, bitter and unsubmissive
He knows your motives in posting things on Facebook or your blog: self-promoting or a humble discovery, something we want to share with others
He knows when you are tired and need encouragement
He knows when you struggle
He knows that there is nowhere you can flee

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

There's no hiding from God. There's no place you can get away from the knowledge of God or His knowledge of you. This is a good thing if we are His children! We serve a God who is omnipresent. There is no place we can go that is not under His precious care.

Beckett loves to run from Allen while they are playing together. I'm sure even the neighbors can hear him, giggles fill the house and everyone has a smile on their face. But there are times when our children run from us for other reasons. They have disobeyed. They are hiding something. We do the same thing with God. We try to hide for those same reasons. We are nervous and fearful and feel we have disappointed Him.

We need to recognize this as a GOOD thing, that we are aware of our sin. Our sin did not catch God off guard. When Eve at the fruit in the garden, God wasn't scrambling around for Plan B. He knew all along that we would rebel against Him before the creation of the world, and His plan included the craziest, most loving idea to put on flesh and come into the world to rescue His people. He did it through His Son, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect, sinless life and took on the punishment that we deserve, dying on a cross. When we believe that we are sinful and trust that Jesus has paid our punishment, we are reconciled to God.

The good news is that believers don't have to wallow in condemnation anymore! We fall short.

If we take our cues from the world, it's easy to believe that God would give us the cold shoulder like people do when I let them down, but God isn't like that. He's ready to embrace, ready to welcome us home, like the parable of the prodigal son.

I recognize this every day that I have been a Mom. I have never been an impatient person (that I knew of) prior to kids. When the kids came along, my impatience rose to the surface (it was there all along) and I realized it was something I needed to deal with. I once read a book that mentioned a sermon on anger and impatience, in which the altar after the sermon was filled with people. All moms of young children. Imagine that.

Every day I recognize areas where I fall short, and I turn to Jesus, who offers grace. I need His strength in order to change. All the discipline and effort won't keep me from falling short. I may be able to change outwardly by myself but it's simply the behavior that has changed, not the heart behind that behavior. God is the one who changes hearts. So thankful for that grace!

Tim Chester says it well, "Without grace, we view life as a contract between us and God: we do good works, and in return he blesses us. When things go well, we're filled with pride. But when things go badly, either we blame ourselves (and feel guilty) or we blame God (and feel bitter)."

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.
It's easy to think of my children in this way because they were actually knit together in my womb, but to think of myself this way? Much more difficult. Why? What does that say about us when we fail to rest in God as Creator? Are you doubting his perfect design of you, doubting how he made your personality, your character, your gifts? If so, like me, you are questioning how you are made and God's design and ultimately, questioning him as Creator.

He carefully knit us together and is working in us now. He is knitting together our lives now, through the good, the bad, the hard times, through the insecurities, struggles, sacrifices and joy that we encounter. 

I once read about Corrie Ten Boom’s analogy of a tapestry. She was a great missionary who would travel with this beautiful tapestry and show the backside first before she revealed the front. Here is an explanation of the tapestry by Mike Hyatt:

“(life) As it unfolds in real time, it’s like viewing the backside of a tapestry. It appears to be nothing more than a jumble of thread—tangled, frayed, occasionally knotted, and seemingly random. Nothing really makes sense. It’s no wonder people lose heart, give up, and abandon their commitments.
But things are not always what they seem. It’s only when you turn a tapestry over that you see the art: the rich colors, the texture, and the patterns that can make a tapestry a thing of astonishing beauty.
Likewise, occasionally God gives us a glimpse at what He is weaving into the fabric of our lives. That momentary peek at glory gives us the courage to soldier on, knowing that nothing happens by accident. No thread of experience—good or bad—is wasted. When it appears to be that way, we just have to remind ourselves that we are simply looking at the backside of a tapestry. And the One weaving it together, knows precisely what He is doing.”

Isaiah 40:31 says, “but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength; they will mount up on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint." I love and cling to that verse often! Though there may be waiting, struggles, and trials, God will renew our strength. He is with us and sees the moms who are pouring into the lives of little ones day after day, He sees the students who strive to serve Him but are overwhelmed with school and studying, He sees...He knows...He is honored. He gives his children strength everyday through his Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Skipping to the last 2 verses (Allen explains the verses I skipped and more, here):

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Will you be willing to invite God to examine your inner life and rid it of anything that hinders you from walking with Him? Anything that would make you want to expose any grievous way...

David (the writer of this Psalm) has much to be fearful of in God searching him. He committed adultery and murder, just to name a few. But fear didn't keep him from asking God to search and know him. He knew God to be a God full of grace and mercy toward those who trust Him. He knew God's character, knew God was ready to embrace him and welcome him back into His arms.

So thankful to serve that God and not the God I imagine sometimes, the god who requires works, perfection and approval by others. Thankful for the way I was created, the care that is taken on my behalf, the forgiveness offered when I want to flee, the open arms, the grace I'm given, and the work He's doing.

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  1. Anonymous9:58 AM

    Hello, I think your blog is epic. Congrats.
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  2. I love you, Sweet Kendra.

    How refreshing (and challenging) this was to read!


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