Jehovah Knows Us Well!
JEHOVAH truly knows us, especially if we are his loyal servants. Close friends, relatives, even parents, do not know us as well as he does. Why, God knows us better than we know ourselves!
Jehovah’s perfect knowledge of his servants was well portrayed in Psalm 139. What did David say in that psalm? And how should God’s knowledge of us affect our words and actions?
How Much Jehovah Knows!
Since God is our Creator, we should expect him to have full knowledge of us. (Acts 17:24-28) Hence, David could say: “O Jehovah, you have searched through me, and you know me.” (Psalm 139:1) God’s knowledge of David was like that obtained through a thorough investigation. Glad to have Jehovah search through him, the psalmist yielded fully to God’s control and guidance. Similarly, Jehovah’s Witnesses prayerfully ‘roll upon Jehovah their way, relying upon him,’ sure that he will always do what is right. (Psalm 37:5) There is a sense of spiritual security in our hearts because we seek to be guided by godly wisdom, and we willingly submit to divine guidance. (Proverbs 3:19-26) Like David, we can draw comfort from the knowledge that God observes us, understands our problems, and is always ready to help us.
“You yourself have come to know my sitting down and my rising up,” acknowledged the psalmist. (Psalm 139:2a) God knew everything about David’s activities, such as his sitting down at the end of a workday and his rising up after a night’s sleep. If we are Jehovah’s Witnesses, be assured that God knows us that well too.
David admitted: “You have considered my thought from far off.” (Psalm 139:2b) Though God dwells in the heavens so far from the earthly scene, he knew what David was thinking. (1 Kings 8:43) Such insight should not surprise us, for Jehovah “sees what the heart is.” (1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 21:2) The fact that God considers our thoughts should move us to think on things that are chaste, virtuous, praiseworthy. And how fitting that we regularly express our thoughts in heartfelt prayer so that we may have divine guidance and the “peace of God”!—Philippians 4:6-9.
The psalmist added: “My journeying and my lying outstretched you have measured off, and you have become familiar even with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:3) Measuring off David’s journeying from one place to another and his lying outstretched while resting evidently meant that Jehovah scrutinized everything the psalmist did. The Most High was measuring all of David’s deeds to determine the exact nature of his deportment. God had full knowledge of David’s ways, the paths he followed in life. When our heavenly Father similarly examines us, may he find that we are serving him faithfully and are remaining on “the path of righteousness” that leads to life eternal.—Proverbs 12:28.
Since nothing he might say would be hidden from God, David said: “For there is not a word on my tongue, but, look! O Jehovah, you already know it all.” (Psalm 139:4) If we are so distressed that we do not know what to say in prayer, Jehovah’s spirit “pleads for us with groanings unuttered.” (Romans 8:26) In our conversations, God discerns things on the tip of the tongue but left unsaid, for he knows our true feelings. And if we have love that stems from “faith without hypocrisy,” we will never try to deceive others with “smooth talk.”—1 Timothy 1:5; Romans 16:17, 18.
David added: “Behind and before, you have besieged me; and you place your hand upon me.” (Psalm 139:5) In effect, Jehovah hemmed David in as a city besieged in battle. Apparently the psalmist knew that there were limits to what he could do in his lifetime. He also knew that it was impossible to escape from God’s watchful eye and hand, or control. Of course, David did not try to make such an escape, and neither do we. But let us always deport ourselves with awareness that Jehovah’s hand is upon us as his Witnesses.
God’s knowledge of David filled him with awe. Thus, he declared: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is so high up that I cannot attain to it.” (Psalm 139:6) So thorough is God’s knowledge of us as individuals that we cannot fathom it, regardless of experience or training. Since it surpasses human understanding, we can be sure that Jehovah knows what is best for us. Hence, if we pray for something and his answer is no, let us submit to the divine will. As the apostle John wrote: “No matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us.”—1 John 5:14.
No Escape From God’s Spirit
Jehovah not only answers the prayers of his loyal servants but his spirit also operates toward them and helps them to do his will. In fact, David asked: “Where can I go from your spirit, and where can I run away from your face?” (Psalm 139:7) The psalmist knew that he could not escape Jehovah’s spirit, or active force, which can reach even the remotest parts of the universe. And nobody can flee from God’s face, that is, escape his observation. True, “Jonah proceeded to get up and run away to Tarshish from before Jehovah,” but that prophet could not elude either the great fish that God appointed to swallow him or accountability for his divine assignment. (Jonah 1:3, 17; 2:10–3:4) So let us rely on Jehovah’s spirit to enable us to fulfill God-given assignments.—Zechariah 4:6.
Since David knew that it would be impossible to get away from God, he said: “If I should ascend to heaven, there you would be; and if I should spread out my couch in Sheol, look! you would be there.” (Psalm 139:8) In the psalmist’s day, ‘ascending to heaven’ meant going up into the high mountains, the peaks of which are so often obscured by clouds. Yet, if we were on the highest mountain peak, we would not be out of the reach of God’s spirit. Moreover, we could not escape his notice if we had our couch in Sheol, figuratively denoting the lowest parts of the earth.—Compare Deuteronomy 30:11-14; Amos 9:2, 3.
“Were I to take the wings of the dawn, that I might reside in the most remote sea,” said David, “there, also, your own hand would lead me and your right hand would lay hold of me.” (Psalm 139:9, 10) What is meant by “the wings of the dawn”? These words are poetically descriptive of how the light of dawn, as if having wings, quickly spreads from the east to the west. But what if David could take the wings of the dawn and reach the most distant sea or islands in the west? He would still be subject to God’s hand, or control and direction. By means of His spirit, Jehovah would be there to guide the psalmist compassionately.—Psalm 51:11.
Darkness No Problem for God
Neither distance nor darkness can put a person out of God’s reach. So David adds: “And were I to say: ‘Surely darkness itself will hastily seize me!’ then night would be light about me. Even the darkness itself would not prove too dark for you, but night itself would shine just as the day does; the darkness might just as well be the light.” (Psalm 139:11, 12) A person could be enshrouded in total darkness, as if seized by it. But to Jehovah he would be as visible as if standing in bright daylight. Nobody can hide from God any sins committed in darkness.—Isaiah 29:15, 16.
Concealment does not block observation by our Creator. In this regard David said: “For you yourself produced my kidneys; you kept me screened off in the belly of my mother. I shall laud you because in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, as my soul is very well aware. My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was woven in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, and in your book all its parts were down in writing, as regards the days when they [the body parts] were formed and there was not yet one [distinct body part] among them.”—Psalm 139:13-16.
Jehovah God, who knows our deepest feelings, produced David’s kidneys. Being deep inside the body, the kidneys are among the most concealed and inaccessible organs, but God can see them. He can even look into a mother’s belly, or womb. Why, Jehovah can see into the developing embryo! Just thinking about the marvelous way in which he was formed in the womb moved David to praise his Maker. The psalmist evidently referred to the mother’s womb as “the lowest parts of the earth.” There, concealed from human view but visible to God, a baby’s bones, sinews, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels are woven together.
Before David’s body parts became distinct in his mother’s womb, his appearance was known to God. Why? Because the development of the embryo followed a specific pattern, as though obeying instructions recorded in a book. How this shows Jehovah’s wisdom and ability to see even concealed things! It should also make us appreciate that God created the human race and is responsible for the wonderful reproductive process that has resulted in our existence as individuals.
How Precious God’s Thoughts Are!
Thinking about a baby’s development in the womb made David reflect on God’s wisdom. Thus, the psalmist exclaimed: “So, to me how precious your thoughts are! O God, how much does the grand sum of them amount to!” (Psalm 139:17) David cherished Jehovah God’s thoughts, and they are so numerous that he was impressed by “the grand sum of them.” If God’s thoughts are precious to us, we will be diligent students of the Scriptures. (1 Timothy 4:15, 16) His recorded thoughts are “beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
Regarding Jehovah’s thoughts, David said: “Were I to try to count them, they are more than even the grains of sand. I have awaked, and yet I am still with you.” (Psalm 139:18) Since God’s thoughts are more numerous than even the grains of sand, if David started counting them at daybreak, he would not be finished by bedtime. Upon awakening in the morning, he would still be with Jehovah. That is, he would still be counting God’s thoughts. In fact, since we need Jehovah’s direction, prayerful meditation on his thoughts and purposes might well be occupying our minds last at night and the first thing in the morning.—Psalm 25:8-10.
Retribution for the Wicked
Since God gives wise direction, how did David feel about those rejecting divine guidance? He prayed: “O that you, O God, would slay the wicked one! Then even the bloodguilty men will certainly depart from me, who say things about you according to their idea; they have taken up your name in a worthless way—your adversaries.” (Psalm 139:19, 20) David did not try to kill the wicked but prayed that they might experience retribution at Jehovah’s hand. We should have the same attitude. For example, we can pray for boldness to speak God’s word when foes persecute us. (Acts 4:18-31) But we do not seek to do away with our enemies, for we know that Jehovah has said: “Vengeance is mine; I will recompense.”—Hebrews 10:30; Deuteronomy 32:35.
If God were to slay the wicked, such bloodguilty men would depart from David. They had a record of guilt in shedding blood and also said things about Jehovah according to their idea, not in harmony with his thoughts. Moreover, they deserved death for bringing reproach on God’s name by taking it up in a worthless way, possibly by using it as they promoted their evil plans. (Exodus 20:7) May we never be guilty of similar sins!
Because the wicked were guilty of bloodshed and of bringing reproach on God’s name, David declared: “Do I not hate those who are intensely hating you, O Jehovah, and do I not feel a loathing for those revolting against you? With a complete hatred I do hate them. They have become to me real enemies.” (Psalm 139:21, 22) David felt a loathing for these men because they intensely hated Jehovah and were revolting against Him. They were the psalmist’s foes because he abhorred their wickedness, godlessness, and rebellion against the Most High.
Let God Search Through You
David did not want to be like wicked men, but he knew that he should not have animosity toward them. So he pleaded: “Search through me, O God, and know my heart. Examine me, and know my disquieting thoughts, and see whether there is in me any painful way, and lead me in the way of time indefinite.” (Psalm 139:23, 24) Like the psalmist, we should want God to search our hearts and discern whether we have improper motives. (1 Chronicles 28:9) We should ask Jehovah to examine us, know our disquieting thoughts, and see if there is any painful way in us. If we are beset by anxiety over our errors or there is something hurtful within us or wrong with our motives, let us pray humbly and submit fully to the direction of God’s spirit and the counsel of his Word. (Psalm 40:11-13) By such means, our best Friend, Jehovah, can lead us in the way of time indefinite, helping us to pursue a righteous course leading to eternal life.
Psalm 139 thus provides real encouragement. It indicates that, since nothing escapes the observation of our heavenly Father, he can help us in every time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) Moreover, because Jehovah knows us better than we know ourselves, we are secure in his loving care. (Deuteronomy 33:27) If we humbly ask him to search through us and bring personal weaknesses to our attention, we can correct matters with his help. Surely, then, God’s knowledge of us as individuals should affect our life in a good way. It should move us to be faithful advocates of true worship and to walk humbly before Jehovah, who knows us so well.