Psalm 139-1You have searched me, Lord, and you KNOW me. 2 You KNOW when I sit and when I rise; you PERCEIVE my thoughts from afar. 3 You DISCERN my going out and my lying down; you are FAMILIAR with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, KNOW it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.6 Such KNOWLEDGE is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
This morning’s message is titled, “The Know it All, Hands-on God.” Usually the phrase, “Know-it-all” has a negative connotation. Today I’m using it to describe what theologians have developed as the Doctrine of Omniscience. God is omniscient which means there is nothing He does not know. He knows it all.
Verse 1 says that we have all been searched by God. Our hearts and thoughts have all been under His surveillance, and nothing has escaped His purview. For our purposes, let’s say God knows every thought we have ever had and has also known every feeling we have ever felt. Every inclination, every thought, every time we have rolled our eyes at someone on the inside, every time an evil or wicked or self-righteous or judgmental thought has come across our minds, He has known about it. Every time we were jealous or angry, depressed or scared, He has known about it. He knows who we try to convince the world that we are, and He knows who we really are on the inside.
Not only does He know what we think, but He knows where we have been. He knows where we are every minute of the day. He knows what we do that we think no one else could ever know. If we think we have kept a secret from someone or from lots of people, we haven’t kept anything from Him because He knows it all. The things we have done that we regret, the things we have done that we are proud of, the things we have done without His approval and the things we have accomplished with His help, He knows them all. He knows what the future holds for each of us in detail.
He is familiar with all of our ways. He knows our likes and preferences, our personality and bent. He knows I love Chick Fil A and Taste of Asia. He knows I love sweets and am drawn to action movies. He knows what my daily routine includes. He knows us intimately. He knows what fires us up. He knows what triggers us to anger and impulsive behavior. He knows what we struggle with, what tempts us. He knows what we are good at and where we are weak or find ourselves limited. He knows what our tendencies are and what our go-to’s are when we look to things outside of God for comfort or help. God knows our hurts, habits, hang-ups and hangouts. He knows what we are hoping for, what we dream about, and what we wish could be our experience.
Verse 4 says He knows what we will say before we say it, before we even think of saying it. He knows what will come out of our mouths. In fact, verse 4 says God knows it COMPLETELY. I may think I can anticipate what my husband might say in a given situation, and there may be times when I have correctly ascertained the gist of what he will say, but there is no way I can know it completely. I don’t know him as well as God knows him. I know my husband in part, but God knows him fully. He is the “Know it All God.”
This isn’t an isolated thought in Scripture. There are many passages that enforce this attribute of God. John 3:20, I Chronicles 28:9, Jeremiah 23:24, Psalm 147:5, and Job 28:24, are just few of many other passages I could commend to you. God is omniscient. He knows it all.
God doesn’t have to learn anything, and God never forgets anything. I know some things because I have learned them. God doesn’t know it all because He has taken courses or has learned something by experience or through some memorization tactics. He simply has always known it all. Acts 15:18 says, “Known to God from eternity are all His works.” He knows the end from the beginning. He has known from eternity, a position that is outside of time, everything that will happen in time. He has always known it. No one has taught Him anything He knows.
God never forgets anything. He never has to look back through His notes. He doesn’t have to set a reminder on His phone. He doesn’t have to write anything down. He doesn’t remember a version of any story. He remembers everything exactly as it has happened. He doesn’t have trouble keeping up with you or keeping track of you. He never stops thinking about you.
God knows it all, and He knows it all, all at once. How much can you hold in your mind at once? I may leave my house to go to the store to get four things and forget one of the four while I’m there. I don’t have the capacity to know much at one time, but He knows everything all at once.
Since God knows it all, He also knows what you need in any given situation. He knows when to send someone to encourage you. He knows when to send an unexpected blessing your way. He knows if you need emotional or physical or spiritual help. He knows what is weighing you down and how to come to your rescue. He knows how to get His supply to wherever and whatever your need is.
Does any else think it is mind blowing to consider that God knows everything which means He knows everything about us? If that isn’t enough to consider, how about we just move on to verse 5: 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
In spite of everything that God knows about us, our frailties, our weaknesses, our limitations, our selfish nature, and our failures, He still lays His hand upon us. What? Does that blow anyone else’s mind? God knows what we are capable of, both for good and for evil, and yet, He lays His hand upon us. He chooses to call and use fallible human beings. He knows we will make mistakes. He knows we are short-sighted. He knows we will let Him down. He knows we aren’t always quick to understand, but He still invests in us. He still calls us into relationship with Himself. He still puts His hands on us! Come on!
Y’all, He knows we will be up one day and down the next. He knows we will be full of faith at times and will have doubts and questions at others. He knows we will have moments of full surrender and follow them up with moments when we are full of ourselves, and yet, the Bible says, He still chooses to place His hand on us.
Oh, Child of God, do not take for granted the God who knows you better than you know yourself and still chooses to put His hands on you. Those hands of comfort, those hands of correction and discipline, those hands of guidance, those hands of blessing, those Divine hands are on your life.
The guy who wrote this Psalm was King David, the first King of Israel that God chose. The Israelites had previously chosen a guy named Saul, and God let the people have their way. It didn’t work out so well. So, God appointed David to be Israel’s King. God’s hand was on David. He was probably between 12-15 at that time. David was anointed the King of Israel while King Saul was still occupying the throne. God had the Prophet Samuel go to him and anoint him with oil and speak over his life that he would one day become Israel’s King. He was the youngest of eight boys. From childhood, we see God’s hand on David’s life. I Samuel 16:7 says that David had a heart for the things of God. God saw his heart, and God placed His hands on David.
Chapter 16 goes on to tell us that King Saul was tormented by evil spirits. He needed a way to cope with that reality. God’s hand was seen again as David was moved into a position in King Saul’s palace. David had a God-given talent to play the harp and when he did, Saul was soothed instead of tormented by those evil spirits. The anointing that he received when he was anointed as King was seen in this special ability to bring peace where there had only been torment. God’s hand was on David’s life from an early age in such a way that even the powers of darkness realized it and had to relent and draw back their influence!
In addition to becoming a palace musician, David became one of King Saul’s armor bearers. That made him kind of like a bodyguard, well, one of many, to the King. It also gave him a front row seat to the goings on in the palace. He would have learned what kingly duties and responsibilities looked like. He would have learned what to do and what not to do from being in King Saul’s presence. What great “on-the-job” training he received, all because God’s hand was on David. God’s hand was on David to put him in strategic places where he could learn what he would need to put into practice down the road.
Well, armor bearers must have had times they served and then times they were off duty. There must have been some kind of rotation because we read that sometime after David entered the King’s service, he was back with his family and was asked to take lunch to his brothers who were camped out at a battle line. They were standing in opposition to the Philistines and one of their giant-of-a-man guys named Goliath, a bully who was taunting and degrading the Israelite army and their God. When young David got to the battlefield, he volunteered to fight Goliath in the name of the Lord. When King Saul heard about David’s proposition to fight Goliath, he called him in for a meeting. He said, “David, you don’t have enough experience.” David may have been an armor bearer for the King, but there hadn’t been any battles yet. He didn’t know how to fight yet. It was then that David revealed how God’s hand had been with him in other ways. He said in I Samuel 17ff, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear. This uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
That’s crazy awesome, isn’t it? God’s hands had been on David in ways that enabled him to have supernatural strength to protect the sheep that had been entrusted to him. God’s hand was on David to enable him to destroy what could have destroyed him and what could have taken out the sheep he had to protect.
David went on to kill the giant, Goliath, with a slingshot and a stone. What incredible evidence of God’s hands on him, hands that helped him to precisely hit Goliath in the perfect spot on his forehead, a place of vulnerability that would send him to the ground where David would be able to cut off his head and kill him. Oh, the hand of God will make sure we get where we are going and give us the strategy, the prowess, and the precision we need to accomplish what needs to be done.
God’s hand remained on David to elevate him in the sight of the people he would one day govern. After killing Goliath, he began to have quite a following. People wrote songs about him. He became famous in his area. King Saul became quite jealous of David and felt threatened by his growing popularity. Oh, let me warn you that sometimes when God’s hand is on your life other people won’t be excited about seeing you advance.
Saul’s jealousy grew, and he made several attempts to kill David, sending David to live life on the run for a while. But listen, when God’s hand is on your life, no one can assassinate you or thwart what God has planned for you. Time after time, David escaped Saul’s assassination attempts. There were times that it would have actually been easy for David to kill Saul so that he could just go ahead and step into his anointed position as King, but David wouldn’t do it. You see, David knew that God’s hand was on him, and because he knew that, he knew he didn’t have to force his way in to the place God had prepared for him. When you realize that God’s hand is on your life, you can trust Him to open the right doors at the right time for you.
While David was on the run he actually raised up a mighty army. Who does that? Who assembles the army they will need when they become King before they are King and while they are living on the run because someone is trying to kill them? Someone who has the hand of God on their life, that’s who. That army took care of business, defeating whoever needed to be defeated as David would first consult the Lord to see what mission they should undertake. When David became King, he continued the same practice of seeking the Lord before a battle. He did that because he realized the battle wasn’t his, but it was the Lord’s. If he was going to be successful in battle it would be because the Lord would make it so by His mighty hand. II Samuel 8:6 says, “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went. That is what happens when the hand of God is on someone’s life.
When Saul died, David took over, and he became more and more powerful. He didn’t do everything perfectly. There was a pretty serious issue when the Ark of the Covenant was going to be transported and there were some huge consequences for not doing things God’s way, but David got through it and continued to follow the Lord. But there came a moment of great personal failure. He took another man’s wife, a man who was out fighting a war. She got pregnant. David tried to cover his sin. He called Uriah, her husband, back from battle, hoping he would sleep with his wife and then think the child was his. Uriah had so much integrity that he refused to take a break from the battle and to leave his comrades to do the fighting. When David’s plan didn’t work, he arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle. That’s pretty bad, right? What a depiction of the way sin escalates. “It’s just this one time and no one will know” led to deceit and murder.
When the Prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin, David was immediately repentant. There were no excuses. I guarantee he was broken long before Nathan confronted him about the situation. He had been torn up. Psalm 51:3 says, “I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me.” He couldn’t get his failure out of his mind. Read the Psalm. It literally made him sick. He had suffered violently in his spirit because he knew he had betrayed the hands that had enabled him all his life. Should he step down from the kingship? Should he leave the throne? How could God ever use him again? How could God ever bless him again? How could God keep His hands on him after what He had done?
Psalm 51 recounts his sorrow for his sin. How could he have been so selfish? How could he have done such evil? I bet he asked himself those questions a thousand+ times. Have you asked yourself those same questions? Are you asking them now? Are you living with the pain of regret for doing things your way instead of God’s way? Have you found yourself having gone down a dark road and you can’t even remember how you got there? Have you bought the lie that God is now done with you?
Listen, the “Know it All” God knew what David was capable of, and also knew that David would fail in an epic way, but God still chose to put and keep His hands on David’s life. David’s failure wasn’t going to change God’s desire to be close to him and to use him.
What a stunning realization it is when we understand that the God who knows us completely, the good, bad and the ugly, still wants to put His hands on our lives and use us for His glory.
Jesus knew the disciples would deny and desert Him, and He still called them.
He knows everything about us and still says, “Come here. Let me get my hands on you.” You can’t change that God knows everything about you, but you can control how close you get to Him. You can let Him be “hands on” in your life, or you can resist His work. It just doesn’t make sense to me to acknowledge that we have been fashioned by God’s hands and then to live as if He doesn’t care how we live. God has a plan for everyone here today. He wants to anoint you for a purpose and to set you apart for His use. He wants to give you the ability to push back and subdue the powers of darkness. By His Divine hand He wants to put you in places where you can grow and learn what you need to know for what is yet ahead. He wants to cover and protect you with His hands. Through a touch of His hand, He wants to give you supernatural strength to destroy what might seek to destroy you and to protect others in the process.
He wants to put His hands on your hands and enable you to hit precise targets and to defeat the giants in your life. His, are hands of blessing. By His mighty right hand, He will support you, elevate you and open the right doors for you and at just the right time. You can’t control what God knows or doesn’t know about you because He knows it all, but you don’t have to worry about whether He loves you or is for you. That is a guarantee. He wants you to be in His hands no matter what.
In Psalm 31, a different Psalm written by David, he said in verse 5, “Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.” What an incredible prayer to pray. David trusted the hands of God. Jesus prayed the same with His very last breath. That ought to tell us something about how trustworthy the hands of God are. David said it again in verses 14-15: 14 But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hands.
Here is what is speaking to me loud and clear. David not only trusted God’s plan for His life and trusted God’s help and protection for His life, but David also trusted God to receive and forgive him when he messed up. David willingly placed both the good times and the bad times in the Lord’s hands. Why should you come and pray this morning? Because you can trust the God who knows everything about you and yet wants to put His hands of blessing on you. I am grateful that He is a “Know it All, Hands-on God.”