Thursday, May 20, 2010

Psalm 139, The Sovereignty of God, and Worship

Having conversations with more people now than ever about the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of grace has perked my ears up when I see God's sovereignty exalted and exulted in throughout scripture. So when Arryn and I got to our reading in the Psalms for the day, I had to share what I had seen in the text.

The Psalmist starts off by marveling that God is completely aware of what is going on in his heart.
"Oh LORD you have searched me and known me...and are acquainted with all my ways" (v. 1)

Then the Psalmist thinks of something even more marvelous...
"Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether" (v 4).

The Psalmist is blown away that God exhaustively knows all our future acts, even the words which come out of our mouths. He is thinking about freedom and God's perfect foreknowledge of the future. We know this because of the next verse:
"You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me."

The Psalmist is not saying that God has placed an invisible barrier around him which follows him from place to place. He is talking about our past being set and unchangeable, just as our future is. He is saying, "God, you know everything I'm about to do before I even do it. My whole life was determined from before the foundation of the world, and every day of the rest of my life is already written in your book," and now he's about to marvel in it:
"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it."

This is the response of most who start to really dig into the subject of divine sovereignty, foreknowledge, and human freedom. And justifiably so, for we cannot completely attain knowledge of God's foreknowledge and human responsibility outside of what the Bible has given us to know.

The Psalmist then goes on to talk about how intricately God created him, and praising Him for how he was "fearfully and wonderfully made" (v. 14). And then he returns to the theme of sovereignty:
"In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them" (v. 16).

Again, one act of worship on the Psalmist's part is the thought that all his days of his life were predestined before the Psalmist even existed! This is a worshipful thought to the Psalmist. To many in the church today, the idea that our whole life is predestined is scary, upsetting, counter-intuitive, and in many ways offensive. It militates against our entire human-centered view of the universe to think that all our lives are subject to the will and knowledge of someone other than ourselves.

And yet the Psalmist is blown away by the thoughts and uses them in his worship:
"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand" (17-18).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Before posting please read our Comment Policy here.

Think hard about this: the world is watching!