When you look at the mirror do you like who you see? Or do you count the things you don’t like? Do you wish you could be fully known and fully loved? God knows us better than we know ourselves and loves us beyond our imagination.
When I believe this, it leads me to greater levels of thankfulness. When I don’t believe this, I find myself bitter, angry, and resentful.
Known by God and he likes how he made us
In Psalm 139, David revels in the wonder that God knows everything there is to know about him and still loves him. This knowledge leads David to deeper loyalty and a stronger desire to know God and walk in his ways.
I occasionally meet with a counselor to process grief and some emotional wounds in my life. In one of our sessions, I revealed a laundry list of past sins and painful memories. In trying to chart a course for future sessions, he recently read that list to me. It was painful to hear someone recite all those reminders of my sin. I found myself wishing he didn’t know all those things. And yet, I know that without a safe ally with whom I can discuss these matters, I’ll never find healing.
You are fully known
That’s what David experiences in Psalm 139. He professes God’s all-knowing nature in both a universal and a very personal way. God knows everything there is to know, but he also knows everything there is to know about me.
The Hebrew word yada ( יָדַע, pronounced yaw-dah’) is used six times throughout the psalm. It means to know. God knows everything about David which is both deeply satisfying and terribly unnerving.
If there’s any doubt about how pervasive God’s knowledge is, David confesses there is nothing God doesn’t know about him. He acknowledges that God knows his every thought, word, and deed:
#1: My thoughts: “You know my thoughts even when I’m far away” (verse 2b). There are no stray thoughts that escape God’s attention.
#2: My words: “You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord” (verse 4). He can even see into the future what I’m going to say.
#3: My deeds: “You know when I sit down or stand up” (verse 2) and “You see me when I travel and when I rest at home, You know everything I do” (verse 3). No matter what I do, God knows.
The epistemological question: how does God know so much about me?
Do you ever think that God isn’t paying attention to you unless you’re focusing on him? David makes it clear that God’s knowledge knows no boundaries. He knows everything and he’s constantly aware of what I’m doing, thinking, and saying.
Being so deeply known is the desire of the human soul, but most of us work very hard to only share the parts of our lives we want to be seen. We don’t have that luxury with God. Whether we like it or not, God knows everything.
The heavenly courtroom
One day we will all stand before God to give account for our lives. The accuser will parade before us everything we’ve ever done, thought, or said. And unlike in an earthly court, where lawyers can hide and obscure facts, the LORD will reveal everything. He knows things about us that we don’t even know. He sees every motive of our hearts.
We can’t run from God
David knows this about God which is why in verses 7-12 he describes the futility of running away from God. God is everywhere. Whether we go into the farther reaches of space or descend into sheol itself, God will be there. No matter how far east or west we travel, God will be there. Even if we try to hide in the dark, God will see because dark is as light to him.
God runs toward us
Being known by God sounds great until you realize that his penetrating look cannot be escaped. The good news is that God looks at us with the longing of a loving father who wants his children to receive his love. Jesus describes this in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. If we repent and receive God’s love, the Father will run to us. He promised to redeem us by placing our judgment on Jesus. If we refuse, we must bear the consequences for all our thoughts, words, and deeds.
The choice is ours.
Known: The Song
Tauren Wells recorded an amazing song called “Known” which reflects upon the dangers of wanting to be known by God. The chorus is rich:
I’m fully known and loved by YouTauren Wells, Known
You won’t let go no matter what I do
And it’s not one or the other
It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace
To be known fully known and loved by You
I’m fully known and loved by You
Take a few minutes to reflect in your journal on what it means to be known by God and how this leads you to gratefulness.
Lord, I confess it’s both amazing and scary that you know me so well. It amazes me that your knowledge is so complete and pervasive. It causes me to wonder that you know so much. It also unnerves me because I know you see all my hidden sins. I thank you that though you know my every thought, word, and deed, you have placed all my sin on Jesus’ account and have given me his perfect eternal record. Help me to receive your love and not try to run from your knowing gaze. Help me to delight in the fact that you love me without limit and without reservation. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.