corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.11.18
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 139

 

 

Verses 1-18

Psalms 139:1. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.

“Thou hast explored me, as men dig in mines, and make subterranean excavations. Thou hast searched into my secret parts, and known me.”

Psalms 139:2. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising,

“My simplest acts, those which I scarcely premeditated.”

Psalms 139:2. Thou understandest my thought afar off.

“Before I think it, when I think it, and when I forget it, thou dost understand my every thought.”

Psalms 139:3. Thou compassest my path and my lying down,

Making a ring around me, so that I am entirely under thine observation. My roving and my resting are both known to thee.”

Psalms 139:3. And art acquainted with all my ways.

“My habits, and the exceptions from my habits, are all known to thee.”

Psalms 139:4. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

“When it is in my tongue, and not spoken, like a seed sown, hidden away, not yet sprouted, thou, O Jehovah, knowest it altogether!”

Psalms 139:5. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

“I am like a prisoner, with guards before me and behind me, and the officer’s hand upon my shoulder all the while. Thou hast arrested me, O Lord; I can never get away from thee.”

Psalms 139:6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain up to it.

“I believe it, but I cannot understand it; even my imagination cannot picture it to me.”

Psalms 139:7. Wither shall I go from thy spirit?

“If I want to do so, if I desire to avoid thee, where can I go to escape from thine omnipresent Spirit?”

Psalms 139:7-8. Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there:

The true glory of that bright world.

Psalms 139:8. If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

“The terror of that place of woe, in the land of death-shadow and darkness, thou art living, whoever else is dead. If I make my abode in Hades, in Hell, thou art there.”

Psalms 139:9-10. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me,

“If the breath of the morning breeze should bear me far away across the pathless sea, thou art there before me; if I ride upon a flash of light, thou art swifter than the sunbeam: even there shall thy hand lead me.” The lone missionary in the furthest parts of the earth is led by God. When, he knows not his way, God leads him; and when he has no companion to cheer him Gods hand upholds him. What a comfort to any of you who have to journey far away from your kindred! You cannot be alone, for God is there; be of good comfort, and go as bravely as if you walked the crowded streets of this great city.

Psalms 139:10-12. And thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

It is impossible to conceive that God should need the light in order to see. He can see as well in the midnight shades as in the blaze of noon. Let no man think that he may sin in secret, because he is not seen of the eye of man; God’s eye is on him in the dark as much as in the light.

Psalms 139:13-14. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

He was no agnostic, he never dreamed of being a know-nothing.

Psalms 139:15-17. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

How sweet to be thought of by God! How charming and how cheering to be the perpetual object of the Lord’s thoughts! The psalmist does not tell us how precious are God’s thoughts; but he sets a note of admiration to them: “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God!” He does not try to calculate the total of their value; but he says, “How great is the sum of them!”

Psalms 139:18. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

“Thou hast thought of me when I was asleep, and when I wake, I think of thee.” Happy living, happy dying, to feel that, if we never wake again on earth, we shall wake up with God! How precious it is to think that when good and useful men fall asleep, when they awake, they are for ever with the Lord! Our turn will come soon, my brothers and sisters. May it be our portion to die in harness, and to be taken away while yet we have the light of God’s sustenance resting upon our work!


Verses 1-24

This is a Psalm we can never read too often. It will be to us one of the greatest safeguards against sin if we have its teaching constantly before our mind’s eye, and the teaching of this Psalm is simply this, “Thou God seest me.”

Psalms 139:1. O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

Thou hast looked into my most secret parse. The most intricate labyrinths of my spirit are all observed of thee. Thou hast not searched, and yet been unable to discover the secret of my nature but thou hast searched me and known me. Thy search has been an efficient one, thou hast read the secrets of my soul,

Psalms 139:2. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thoughts afar off.

It is a common enough thing to sit down and to rise up and I myself oftentimes scarce know why I do the one or the other, but thou knowest and understandest all. “Thou understandest my thought afar off.” My heart forms a thought that never comes to a word or an act, but thou not only dost perceive it, but thou dost translate it; thou understandest my thought.

Psalms 139:3. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

I am surrounded by thee as by a ring of observers.

Psalms 139:4. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Not only the words on my tongue, but those that slumber in my tongue, the unspoken words, thou knowest them perfectly and altogether.

Psalms 139:5. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Thy presence amounts to actual contact. Thou dost not only see, but touch, like the physician, who does not merely look at the wound, but by-and-bye comes to probe it. So dost thou probe my wounds, and see the depths of my sins.

Psalms 139:6-7. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

It seems as if the first impulse was to fly away from a God whose attributes were so lofty. ‘Twas but a transient impression, yet David words it so.

Psalms 139:8; Psalms 139:10. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold, me.

How swift he supposes his flight to be, as swift as the light, for he borrows the wings of the morning, and yet the hand of God was controlling his destiny even then. As Watts rhymes it —

“If mounted on the morning ray,

I fly beyond the western sea,

Thy swifter hand should first arrive,

And there arrest thy fugitive.”

Psalms 139:11-12. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

For, mystery of mysteries, and more wondrous still, thou not only dost observe, but thou always hast observed, and thou hast not only observed my well-formed being and my visible life but before I had a being thou didst observe what I should be, and when I was yet in embryo thine all-observing eye watched me.

Psalms 139:13-16. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect, and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

In so vivid a manner doth our holy poet sing of the omniscience of God with regard to our creation. Before we had breath he formed and fashioned us.

Psalms 139:17. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

How many thoughts has God towards us! We cannot count them, and how kind are those thoughts — we cannot estimate them — how precious, how great!

Psalms 139:18. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

I suppose I had finished the tale, had counted up all thy thoughts to me, and then fell asleep. I should then but begin to count again, for thou continuest to thrust out mercies from thy hand. My God, my numeration shall never overtake thee, much less my gratitude, and the service that is thy due!

Psalms 139:19. Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.

“Surely” — here is a solemn inference from the omniscience of God — “surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God.” Thou hast seen their wickedness. They have committed their wickedness in thy presence. Thou wilt need no witnesses, no jury, thou art all in one. Art thou not the Judge of all the earth, and shalt thou not do right? “Surely thou wilt destroy the wicked, O God.” Then I desire not to have those in my company who are condemned criminals, and are soon to be executed. “Depart from me, therefore, ye bloody men.” See how this sets David upon purging his company and keeping himself clean in his associations, since God, who sees all, and will surely punish, would hold it to be evil on the part of his servant to be found associating with rebellious men.

Psalms 139:20-22. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

We are bound to love our own enemies, but not God’s enemies, since they are haters of all that is good and all that is true, and the essentially good One himself. We love them as our fellow-beings, but we hate them as haters of God.

Psalms 139:23-24. Search me, O God. and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 139:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-139.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology