You knew me when……and you still claim me…


Psalm 139
O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me!
Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up;

thou discernest my thoughts from afar.
Thou searchest out my path and my lying down,

and art acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,

lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
Thou dost beset me behind and before,

and layest thy hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

it is high, I cannot attain it.
Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?

Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend to heaven, thou art there!

If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there!
If I take the wings of the morning
 and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there thy hand shall lead me,

and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Let only darkness cover me,

and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to thee,
the night is bright as the day;
for darkness is as light with thee.
For thou didst form my inward parts,

thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful.
Wonderful are thy works!
Thou knowest me right well
my frame was not hidden from thee,
when I was being made in secret,

intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.
Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance;

in thy book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.

When I awake, I am still with thee.
O that thou wouldst slay the wicked, O God,

and that men of blood would depart from me,
men who maliciously defy thee,

who lift themselves up against thee for evil!
Do I not hate them that hate thee, O Lord?

And do I not loathe them that rise up against thee?
I hate them with perfect hatred;

I count them my enemies.
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!

Revised Standard Version

Psalm 139, this particular Psalm, is one of my favorite Psalms. I have several that I really like–and it usually depends on what’s going on in my life at the time. The Psalms address a wide range of human emotion—from lamentation to joy—always so aptly addressing some particular plight or triumph in my life….

But it is, I think, to the individualism of which Psalm 139 speaks, the intimate relationship between God and the individual….a one on one relationship…no one else, not a group, but the single individual….a direct connection just between me and God—as in He knew me when…He knew me before I came into being… that most clearly touches my heart.

Psalm 139 states that God knew me intimately at the time of my conception, even before that moment….He knows the words that will come out of my mouth before I even utter them…He knows wherever it is I go—it’s the I can run, but I cannot hide sort of knowledge….which is probably of the greatest comfort to me because it states that I am never ever lost. I may be lost to self…and that has truly been the case in this life of mine, but to Him, to God, never…I find that to be probably of the greatest comfort…

We, none of us, have such a relationship with any other human being that is on such a level—we may think we have such a bond, but given the limitations of being human—makes that quite impossible. He is the only one.
I may feel lonely but this Psalm reminds me that I am never alone..and believe me, it does well to be reminded of that from time to time. It is so easy often getting caught up in self, feeling isolated, as if I’m the only one by myself….but He is there.

Being adopted and not knowing anything about my beginnings on this planet, this Psalm brings me a peace—I was known and wanted by God at a time when I was not wanted by an earthly mother and father. He knew where I was all along and where it was I was going….even before I was placed in an adoption agency.

We may walk away…and many of us do–purposely or inadvertently, but He does not wander, never straying from our side despite our thinking we are so very far removed. What joy there is in that!
For some this sort of concept is rather difficult to wrap ones’ mind around—how can it be we wonder—but I have learned to simply rest in the knowledge—It is as if I may exhale and finally be at a Peace—and for which, I am forever grateful. May you find this same place of Peace.

2 comments on “You knew me when……and you still claim me…

  1. Val says:

    I…like…this, and agree very much with your commentary, but find the “Bible English” of RSV to be an insufferable slog, especially since — somehow — the favorite verse about being “fearfully and wonderfully made” was lost.

    That’s just straight-up wrong.

    ESV is a couple of generations away and a better translation overall than RSV or NRSV, though it is rooted there. Of the “modern” paraphrases of the OT (J.B. Phillips “The New Testament in Modern English” being my most favorite of the NT), the New Living Translation is best (Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” is very good when it’s good, but misses the mark greatly at times).

    Try this:;NLT

  2. it is form bible gateway that I chose today’s RSV–as that is my “go to” source when I want a particular translation….Bible translations often remind me of the expression “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure—meaning, what one person likes, enjoys, yields to, may not be that to which someone else likes, enjoys or yields.
    The mere fact that there are other translations from that of the King James rings of blasphemy to many—but what I find to be a commonality is that “it’s all in the raisin”—what one knew growing up.
    When I was in high school, I wore out a paper cover New American Standard, like a favorite stuffed animal “I loved it to death” (I still have it as it is bound by multiple rubber bands)….after which two different people decided I needed a new Bible so I received an NIV and an Amplified–neither doing for me what my original translation had done.
    When I was in the classroom, I found a good many of my kids liked the Message Bible—me, not so much—so what you find to be “slog” speaks to another….and that is, in part, the joy I find in my writings….I started doing this blog with the one thought in mind that if just one person out there would be/ could be “moved”, “touched”, “could identify with”,etc…., then that’s what it is all about……. whereas there are indeed better translations to, say, you or to me, to the one out there, who may need to hear and see and feel what is written, then so be it—–the translation of choice has to “speak to my heart” in order for me to pick it—not so much to my intellect or to my Anglican roots—for it is not always for me to decide……..

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