Valued by God
Psalm 139:1–10, 13–16
Our culture devalues life. Often the unborn, disabled and elderly are treated in ways that devalue the image of God. Therefore, they devalue God Himself. During my seminary days, I came to a new understanding of the value of all human life as I served as a chaplain both to individuals who lived with mental disabilities and to their families.
These people taught me much about God and ministry. I viewed each person as an individual of worth created in the image of God. While God values all human life, we live in the context of a culture in which human life is cheap.
Life is sacred because God values us. (1–6)
The emphasis in the first six verses is upon a personal relationship with God. As one Bible scholar summarized the first six verses — God knows everything about me. Reflect on this amazing truth. God knows the best about each one of us. God knows the worst about each one of us. God knows the smallest details of our everyday routines.
He knows when I sit in my office chair. He knows when I stand up. He understands me more than anyone, including my wife. He knows where I travel. He possesses knowledge of my words before I open my mouth.
In the first six verses, the psalmist expresses one wondrous thought beyond human comprehension: God’s providential care of His people is beyond our knowledge or comprehension. This passage celebrates our all-knowing God. He knows our inner thoughts as well as our lifestyle.
Life is sacred because God is with us. (7–10)
While Psalm 139:1–6 sets forth God’s in-depth knowledge of believers, Psalm 139:7–10 reminds readers God is with us. No one can flee or hide from the presence of God.
The term translated presence in our English translation is the Hebrew term for face.
We may try to hide or flee from God, but His face is inescapable, even when we wish we could hide from Him because of our sin. God is in heaven above and in Sheol, the place of the dead.
Even if we run away from God to the eastern horizon or the western horizon, God will continue to lead us and hold on to us.
The affirmation that God directs us and holds on to us when we attempt to run away from Him or when we lack direction and need safety is assuring.
Life is sacred because God created us and has a plan for each of us. (13–16)
God created the entirety of our human nature, both our nonphysical and physical aspects. God observed us from the moment of our conception when we were formless.
Every human is remarkably and wondrously created by God. Psalm 139:14 is one of the strongest affirmations of the sanctity of human life within the Bible. The Psalmist testified he personally knew through experience that God’s works are wondrous.
In summary, Psalm 139 reassures every person that no one is to be treated like junk.
We live in a time when many people suffer from low self-esteem, but people need to understand human life is precious.
God knows you. God surrounds you. God made you. God leads you. And God holds on to you. God’s thoughts should be precious to each believer. You are special.
By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida