“Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.”
Psalm 139 begins with David proclaiming God’s omniscient nature. You can easily see how humbling it is to recognize that God knows everything about you. He knows your every word even before it is spoken (vs. 4). David then drives home the fact that God’s infinite knowledge is because of his omnipresence. God’s infinite presence reinforces his infinite knowledge found in verses 1-6. He does this by asking two rhetorical questions followed by two symbolic answers. Using images of opposites, David drives home the fact that every place is filled with the presence of God. Contrasting heaven (heights/sky) and Sheol (depths/under the earth), followed by “wings of the morning”, a symbol for the east, and the “uttermost parts of the sea”, imagery of west where the sun sets, David covers everywhere that a person could possibly go. “Even there” is his exclamation!
Often, we read these verses with an “Oh no, God is watching!” type attitude. However, David’s words in verse 10 are words of comfort, not fear. God’s omnipresence provides reassurance that God will always be present to “lead” and his mighty hand will “hold me”. What a joyous comfort for those whose rest is in the Lord.
Psalm 139 is a song of intimacy with an omniscient, omnipresent God resulting in a humble surrender. David opens himself up and says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts.” Why say this if your entire song proved his nature? Because the willful submission to the Greatness of God is what made David a man after God’s own heart.
Take a few minutes and listen to this song. The lyrics are taken directly from Psalm 139: