A Vision of God

Read: Psalm 139

Text: Psa 139:23-24 (KJV) 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.

Theme: God's omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence should cause us to draw closer to God and to flee further from sin.


What would happen in my heart if I caught a glimpse of God? What would it do to my life? What effect would it have on my devotion to Him? What effect would it have on my service to Him?

Psalm 139 takes a mind-boggling look at God. It describes the God who sees all, surrounds all, and superintends all. David looked at God, and then in amazement fell to his face before Him.

Job had a similar experience and he said, "Job 42:5-6 (KJV) I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

As we attempt to get a vision of God through the study of this psalm, we, too, should respond by drawing closer to God in thankful praise, and fleeing further from sin in horror.

I. God Sees (vss. 1-6)

A. My Heart (vs. 1)
Psa 44:21 (KJV) Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

Jer 12:3 (KJV) But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee:

B. My every action and motive (vs. 2)
1. Two opposites show that this refers to ALL our actions. (Merism)

2. Thoughts from afar - refers to time, not distance. God knows long before I do what my thoughts will be.

3. QUOTE - "Men, examine your motives." Dr. Paul Vanaman

C. My day to day activities (Vs. 3)
"Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art intimately acquainted with all my ways." (NASB)

1. "Compassest" = surround, sift, winnow.

2. Again, the presence of these two opposites - path/lying down is used to denote the entire scope of daily activity.

QUOTE "God takes notice of every step we take, every right step, and every by-step. He knows what rule we walk by, what end we walk toward, what company we walk with."

D. My words (Vs. 4)
1. Negative adds force. ("not a word... unknown" is a forceful way of saying "every word is fully know.")

2. God knows our words before we do.

3. Next time you contemplate speaking, thing about this - God has already heard it, and you haven't said it yet!

E. God's knowledge hems me in. (vss. 5-6)
1. We are confined like a prisoner. Beset fore and aft and gripped like a soldier along the way!

Job 13:27 (KJV) Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet.

2. No escaping this incredible omniscience.

Prov 15:3 (KJV) The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Heb 4:13 (KJV) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

God sees me! This alone should drive me to my face before Him!!!

II. God Surrounds (vss. 7-12)

A. Where can we escape him?
1. God fills the vertical plane. (i.e. between heaven and the grave)

QUOTE - "It is one thing to recognize there is no escape from God's all seeing, all knowing scrutiny and knowledge, yet how much more awesome to recognize that we cannot escape His continual presence. He is here, all around!"

QUOTE - "We cannot GO from Him - no matter how we plan and plot our escape. The slyest sneaking away is fruitless, for there's no place to go. We cannot FLEE, for the wildest, most desperate flight will find only God everywhere."

QUOTE (SPURGEON)- "We must be, whether we will it or not, as near to God as our soul is to our body... neither by patient travel nor by hasty flight can we withdraw from the all-surrounding deity. His mind is in our mind; himself within ourselves. His spirit is over our spirit; our presence is ever in His presence."

2. He fills the horizontal plane.
Wings of the morning - east (sun)

Sea - Mediterranean - west

3. That which hides man from man can't hide man from God. (vss. 11-12)
Darkness and light in this agree;
Great God, they're both alike to thee.
Thine hand can pierce thy foes as soon
Through midnight shades as blazing noon.
B. To the saved this brings great comfort!
When I want Him, He is there.

Psa 145:18 (KJV) The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

C. To the lost this brings awful terror.
When I would flee, when I would hide, He is there!

Amos 9:2 (KJV) Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:

III. God Superintends (vss. 13-18)

A. He superintended my creation.
1. Thou has possessed my reins (lit. kidneys - to Hebrews this was most inner seat of our being.)

NOTE - God owns our most important parts, our very heart!

2. Thou has covered... (God was superintending even in my mother's womb.)

3. David is amazed at the marvel of his anatomy.

4. God saw every molecule before conception took place.

B. He superintends my every step. (vs. 16b)
Psa 139:16 (NASB) Thine eyes have seen mine unformed substance; and in thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.

IV. I Submit (vss. 19-24)

  1. His enemies are my enemies.
  2. I submit my heart for His scrutiny.


Does this vision of God make you want to draw closer to our all-seeing, all-surrounding, all-superintending God? That's how it made David feel.

Does this vision of God make you want God to search your soul, and help you to serve Him better every day? That's how it made David feel.

Search me , O God! and know my heart,
Try me, my inmost soul survey;
And warn thy servant to depart
From every false and evil way;
So shall thy truth my guidance be
To life and immortality.

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson .
Last modified on August 19, 1996.
Copyright © 1996 William E. Johnson.