Summary: Whose life matters?
We Matter to God: An Exposition of the 139th Psalm.
There have been periods of relative peace and prosperity, but today is not to be included among them. 2020 may go down as one of the most tumultuous years in world history. We live in a time of the Coronavirus pandemic. China has also been hit by floods of biblical proportions as well as earthquakes. Hong Kong has lost its freedom. There seems to be crises everywhere. The economy has been shaken, and the prospects of world-wide bankruptcy is on the horizon. In America, we have been cursed with lockdowns and riots. People are very, very unhappy. Fear is everywhere, and there are many who wish to exploit it. Churches have been closed, and hostility to Christianity is becoming epidemic. The thought for today is whether anything or anyone matters, no less Black lives. In times of trouble, God’s word has always been available for consultation in times like these. It might be argued that these times might not have happened, had we consulted the Bible when times are better. Nevertheless, we are where we are. So let us not go and look for guidance and encouragement from the 139th Psalm.
When we examine the text, we are immediately confronted by a God who knows everything. More importantly, we are met by a God who knows is. When you see LORD in all caps, it is a translation of the name of God, Yahweh, whose name means “I AM.” Christians believe in a personal God who exists and communicates with us. For those who believe, God’s knowledge of everything we do, say, and speak is meant to bring us comfort. To those who have not yet believed, this knowledge is of sheer terror. We live in a world in which government and big tech routinely monitor our activity. Everything we say or do is being recorded and ready to be used against us if necessary. How much greater is the fear of God who does not need computers and phones to snoop on us. God cannot be hacked.
We know that our lives do not matter to the government. They cannot. Government officials, even if they had good motives, cannot personally deal with millions of people. And considering how evil society has become, your life only matters if it promotes some sort of political narrative. The life of George Floyd did not matter to many until he was killed by the four policemen. And despite a golden casket and four funeral services, George Floyd, the man, still does not matter. He is but a representation of a cause.
But the LORD knows us. He is constantly searching. He records when you lay down, and when you rise up. He does this for every person. The limits of human knowledge and government does not affect God. He knows both what you say, as well as what is in your heart. In fact, he knows much more about you than you even know about yourself. He knows us front to back, and it is His hand that is upon us. We can but kneel in awe before such a God.
The omnipresence of God even to the minutest detail of our lives can be troubling as well. This is because God knows our sin and hidden thoughts as well. Our natural tendency is to run from God. We try to hide ourselves even as Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves from the presence of God. But hiding is futile. The psalmist poetically tells us that even the ends of the earth cannot hide us from God. Not even hell (the grave) can hide is from God’s presence. Darkness cannot comprehend the light of God. We think of John’s gospel where it says that His Light shone into this darkness, and darkness retreated before the light. So if we cannot run and hide our sin, what do we then do?
The answer to this is to remember that we matter to God. The fact that the light exposes our sin is not meant that anyone should perish and be judged for their sin. This is not to say that many will unfortunately suffer from eternal judgment. But God’s motivation is to save and not to destroy. The real answer involves coming to the Light and not running from it. The reins God places on us are meant to steer us away from our evil inclinations and to lead us in the right path. We realize that even in the darkness, we are sill in God’s light. No matter what happens to us, God means this for good.
We are reminded that God was at work in our mother’s womb. Even then, we mattered to God. The fact that life in the womb does not matter to many who consider fetuses to be a parasite or a means to harvest organs and body parts does not change this. We have been fearfully and wonderfully made. For this, we should be awestruck even as the psalmist was. Life matters. All life matters because God is its author. We should remember that we matter to God. We would also be well served to recognize that every other person’s life equally matters to God. This should cause us to think that we need to properly care for others even as God cares for us. Yes, we are humanly limited from knowing and caring for those on the scale that God does, but we can at least start with those we live with, work with, worship with, and with those in our own community.