You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day,
For darkness is as light to you.
(Psalm 139:1-12, NIV)
I have a lot of places on my bucket list. I have no idea whether or not I’ll get to visit them. I’d like to see the glaciers of Alaska along its coast. I’d like to smell the rain forest in South America. I’d like to see the sunset over the plain while sitting on Mount Kilimanjaro. I’d love to see New Zealand in all its wild glory. And I’m sure most of you have similar visions of places, events, or people that run through your mind. It’s the wonder at seeing them - experiencing them first hand that draws us. The sheer anticipation of being a witness to the vast world God signed his name to upon creating it just makes us giddy at times.
David may have had some wonderful sights in his mind when he penned the verses of this particular Psalm. But I believe the biggest wonder he described was the immeasurable presence of God. There is absolutely nothing outside of His knowing. No person, idea, event, or “surprise” can escape God. He knows it all instantly, fully, and perfectly … and he does so without any effort at all on His own part. He even knows what might or could happen because He exists outside of the thing we call “time” and sees that as if sitting at the center of a circle while it all arcs around Him. Yes, God’s knowledge is all-encompassing.
But God’s knowledge isn’t just at some ethereal level that is just “out there somewhere”. His knowledge also focuses in on me like a laser. He knows my every routine and quirk. He is, as David notes, “familiar with all my ways.” There is no place or situation so dark or desperate that God has somehow lost track of me and cannot find me. I just cannot outrun or outfly Him. And, even in knowing me this completely, He chooses to love and pursue me.
The Crooked Path will often wind through dark places. It may be a deep valley where the sun cannot penetrate to the path. It might be a dense copse of trees that blot out the sky. It could even be an open area with cloud cover so thick you can almost feel it close in around you. But I can rest in the promise David claims - God already knows about it and He is right there with me. To me, that though is just beyond wonderful!