Summary: When the Bible teaches that God is omniscient – that He has complete knowledge – it is not saying that God is bright. It is not saying that He is sharp. It is not even saying that he is a genius. These are the finite expressions of a people severely li

TEXT: Psalm 139:1-6


(The Omniscience of God)

When the Bible teaches that God is omniscient – that He has complete knowledge – it is not saying that God is bright. It is not saying that He is sharp. It is not even saying that he is a genius. These are the finite expressions of a people severely limited by space & time.

What the Bible is really getting at is that God knows everything. No question can confound Him. No dilemma can confuse Him. No event can surprise Him. He has eternal, intrinsic, comprehensive, and absolutely perfect knowledge.

Nothing is news to God.

But this knowledge extends even farther than today’s events. God knows how all things work. Think about that. He has complete knowledge of all of the mysteries of biology, physiology, zoology, chemistry, psychology, geology, physics, medicine, and genetics. He knows the ordinances of heaven, as well as the reason and course for the sun and the moon and the clouds.

And unlike anyone else, God’s knowledge is not limited to time. He reads our future just as clearly as He reads our past. Who we will be 50 years from now is no less certain to God than who we were 10 years ago.

Not only does God know why and how things work, but He also knows the minute details of their daily existence. Unlike a computer, He doesn’t have any memory problems in which He is forced to flush His memory banks to create room for more information. Even though He keeps track of the moon and the stars, not a single bird falls to the ground without God knowing exactly what is going on (Matthew 10:29). His knowledge even covers seeming trivia, such as the latest count of the hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30).

There isn’t a single motivation, thought, act, or word that has slipped out of your being and escaped the full, undivided attention of God.

Though many of the Psalms start out with a robust, “Bless the LORD,” or “Praise the LORD,” or “Rejoice in the LORD,” in Psalm 139 David’s knowledge of God’s omniscience is so overwhelming, he manages only a whisper of wonderment: “O, LORD.”

It’s as if he is admitting right from the start that words won’t be able to convey even a fraction of the power of this truth. David could rejoice in the power of God, he could celebrate the beauty of God, he could delight in the provision of God, but when it came to the intimate way that God desired to know David inside and out, when it came to this kind of passion, words utterly fail David.

The reason David is so overwhelmed is his keen understanding that God’s omniscience focuses and specializes on God’s knowledge of him. Yes, God understands the intricate mysteries of the atom and the complex interconnectedness of our planetary system, but all that pales in comparison with David’s understanding that God knows him. “You have searched me. You have known me.”

This knowledge stretches even to the humdrum of our daily lives, such ridiculous activities as sitting & rising: “You know my sitting down and my rising up” (verse 2). TLB says, “You know when I sit or stand.” God doesn’t miss it.

“You understand my thought afar off” (verse 2). TLB: “When far away you know my every thought.” God knows everything we think. Every midnight thought, every calculating strategy, every private worship time, and every act of kindness. God sees it all.

Then in verse 3, David recognizes that God follows our ways. “You comprehend my path and my lying down, / And are acquainted with all my ways.” TLB: “You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am.” God keeps a copy of our itinerary before it’s printed. We have never taken a trip that has escaped his notice. If you’re on top of the Empire State Building or buried in the mass of humanity traveling underground in the New York subway, God keeps His eyes trained on you.

God also knows what we say: “For there is not a word on my tongue, / But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether” (v. 4). TLB: “You know what I am going to say before I even say it.” Even before we say it, God charts our words and even the feelings that eventually lead to words. Think about that – God monitors our temperature! He feels the anger rising, He notices the fear spreading, and He sees the trust moderating. Good or bad, God sees it all.

But even more wonderful, David points out; God knows what we need. In verse 5, he states, “You have hedged me behind and before, / And laid Your hand upon me.” TLB: “You both precede and follow me and place your hand of blessing on my head.” This is a perfect kind of protection in which all my needs are known. If I’m thirsty, God knows it. If I’m lonely, God feels it. He’s not like a lottery winner who shuns his friends in the time of their greatest need. On the contrary, in the midst of my needs, He lays his hand upon me.

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