Psalm 139 - The Lord, the Giver of Life

Psalm 139 has many easily “devotionalized” verses and subjects.  It is full of overwhelming thoughts of God’s greatness, nearness, power, and care.  For this short thought, I would like to focus on just the section found in verses 13-19.  This is a famous passage because of the power of the words, the evident meaning, and the clarity both provide.

Each year whether on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, as it was yesterday, I run into a problem.  In our service on these holidays, we enjoy giving out awards for both somewhat meaningful and somewhat silly subjects related to Mom’s and Dad’s.  I try to vary them from year to year, but they are around the same themes: Mom visiting from the greatest distance; Dad who last grilled for his family; Grandmother with the most grandkids; and, as was used yesterday, Oldest Dad (because you just can’t do that on Mother’s Day).  At each of these holidays, it is customary to give recognition to the “Newest Mom” or “Newest Dad.”   This is where I get into trouble.  For this award, we judge by the respective parent of the youngest baby that has been born, but that is not really a correct assessment.  Each child’s life began well before the day he or she was birthed.  However, you might understand my being averse to seeking to track publicly any more information.  So we stick with the post-birth plan, but I have to explain nearly every time … and that’s probably a good thing.

Psalm 139 is a powerful and clear passage on this subject with additional truths connected that are intensely special as well.  

“For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”

The Lord, having actually made Adam & Eve, set in motion a reproductive process that continues to produce children.  In this sense, He is the Maker.  However, more than that, the Lord knew ME and knew YOU and was active in giving us life from the very beginning, which was not at our first cry after birth, but well before that ”in my mother’s womb.”  Psalm 139 clearly says that I was already me before my birthday and that the Lord, creator of the universe, was awesomely and bewilderingly involved my beginning … and your’s.  “And my soul knows it very well.”

”My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

Having just gone through the joy of receiving 2 new precious grandchildren into our family, I was amazed at how far technology has come since the Ultrasounds of our own kids.  These things are almost like photographs!  By comparison, our‘s were sonar of a ship deep in the darkness of the sea … if you squint and turn your head, “I think that’s the stern and that’s the bow.”  

In the time of the author of the Psalm, pregnancies were completely “blind.”  Everything that was happening was inside and only the outside effects could be seen.   However, these things were not unknown or unseen to God.  He was well aware of, even active in, my forming from nothing to growing human being.  Even though it was happening where people couldn’t see it … “in secret,“ “in the depths of the earth,” or “unformed substance” … He was not only aware of that moment, but my future as well.

”How precious are Your thoughts to me, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.  When I awake, I am still with You.  O that You would slay the wicked, O God; depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.”

The fact that the Lord thinks of us at all is astonishing, but as we grow in our understanding of His great love for us and His sacrificial provision for us in Christ, I hope you would join me in echoing this Psalm’s awe of the weightiness of this truth.  God also continues through life to be involved as the Psalmist awakes though in danger from attack.  The Lord has given life, not just at conception, and not just evidenced in a growing belly (I know the baby grows in the womb, not the belly), and not even just at the day of birth; but even here when the Psalmist recognizes God’s protection of life on that night once again.

This is why ”men of bloodshed” are so wrong.  God gives life and those who take it are robbing of one of the greatest gifts ever given.  Murder of a human life, whatever the age, is wrong.  “You shall not murder.”  Duet. 5:17

You can stand strong in your own life, confident in what the Lord says about the life of a pre-birth human.  Our culture may moan and complain, but God has graciously, lovingly given life and it is not our’s to take away.  You can also greatly rejoice because God is near always.  He was involved at your beginning, He has provided forgiveness through Christ so you can be in close relationship with Him, and He continues to work in and around your life to draw you even closer.

”I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;”

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