Psalm 139 tells us that there is nowhere on earth that we can go to escape the presence of God, if we were to go to the ends of the earth (v9), or even ‘hide’ ourselves in the grave (v8). What’s more, it tells us that God knows everything about us, every word we say, even our inmost thoughts (vv1-3). Now, that’s kind of scary! The Psalm writer finishes with what seems to be a way too bold request, for God to search his heart and test his thoughts, to see if there is anything wicked in him (vv23,24)!

Is the Psalm writer much purer than we are?… is he plain stupid?… or does he know something else altogether that makes this request sane?… For a start, he’s not holier than us – you’ve only got to read a few of the other Psalms to see his sins plainly described (Ps 50; 51:3-5). Secondly, he’s not stupid; he knows that God’s verdict after testing him will be, yes, there certainly is wickedness in him! But he is not overbold, because he does know something stunning about God; while there are thousands of legitimate claims against the Psalmist for his failure and sin (Ps 3:1,2,6), God, in saving grace, deals with sin (Ps 50), and clears and forgives Him (Ps 51), so that he will never forsake the Psalmist (Ps 3:3,4) – nothing will separate him from the love of God in Jesus Christ (Ro 8:31-39. The Psalms are prophecies of Christ – Lk 24:44)

This makes the truth that there is nowhere we can run to escape God the most be comforting and joyful news in the world!

Grace and cheers,

Rev. Jonathan Button