The God Who Knows It All
As humans, we're always learning--that's how we know things: we accumulate information over the course of time through research or experience. There's a lot of stuff in our minds that's not really meaningful, whether it's silly song lyrics or movie lines or facts about celebrities, but it's stuck up there.
Imagine knowing someone who knows every single thing about you--the good, the bad, and the ugly--and loves you anyways. Well, you do--that's your God! And that's the vantage point from which I want to approach our subject today: the omniscience of God.
David described this unique aspect of God in Psalm 139. God's omniscience simply means God knows everything. By nature, God is the ultimate knower in every field of knowledge. Mankind's knowledge is the product of tedious learning, research, and experience, but compared to what God has always known, it's insignificant. His knowledge is immediate, instantaneous, comprehensive, and fully retentive, and includes the past, present, and future.
That's the theological understanding of it, but what I love about Psalm 139 is that David took this premise off the top shelf and lived it personally. Just look at all the personal pronouns in Psalm 139--I counted forty-eight! I bring this up because what David did here is what we must do with all truth: not be content to leave it on the page of a book or at a roundtable discussion with our friends, but personalize it and allow it to change and shape our lives.
Look at some of what David said about the Lord's omniscience: "You have searched me and known me" (v. 1). To search means to pierce, to explore, to examine something carefully, or to know inside and out. David also said, "You know my sitting down and my rising up" (v. 2). God is aware of the slightest movement you make--and He's interested in the slightest movement you make. Look at the rest of verse 2: "You understand my thought afar off," or, better translated, "You know what I think before I even think it." The Lord knows you in every way, at all times, in every moment.
In the end, what was David's response to God's omniscience? He worshiped. "You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it" (vv. 5-6). Rather than feeling like a prisoner, David became a worshiper. "Wow!" he was saying. "If I think about God's knowledge too long, I'll blow a fuse. It's incredible; I can't understand it."
And then he said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (vv. 23-24). In other words, "I can't wrap my mind around Your omniscience, so I surrender to it. Search me, know me, lead me, and direct me." And that's where it ought to lead us: since God's ability transcends our reality, it's best for us to bow at His immensity.
There's a mystery to our faith that is precious. God knows the worst about you, the best about you, and what He's going to make you into--and somehow He loves you through it all. I hope that's as liberating to you as it is to me. David ended his psalm in worship, and that's where it should end for us, echoing what Paul said in Romans 11:33: "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!"