Read Psalm 139
The psalmist has spent sixteen verses so far extolling God for His incommunicable attributes: His omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. David knows that God is alone in these categories and praises Him for being unlike any other.
Read Psalm 139:17-22. What surprises you about the tone of these verses?
At what verse does the tone seem to shift? What does it shift from and what does it shift to?
In these verses, we have what seems to be two unlike things held together: praise for God in His glory and violence towards fellow humans. At first glance, it seems as though they couldn’t be more opposite, and, to be completely honest, the shift in tone is jarring.
But something much more complex – and much more seamless – is occurring here. To understand what David is saying, we need to break this section down into its two primary movements: verses 17 and 18, and verses 19 through 22.
Read verses 17 & 18. If you were to draw out one of God’s attributes from these verses, what would it be? Particularly consider these verses – and the corresponding attribute – in the context of the psalm as a whole.
Read verses 19-22. If you were to summarize David’s response to God’s attribute in verses 17 & 18, what would you say?
David is taking in everything that he has said of God thus far – His all-knowing-ness, His all-present-ness, and His all-powerful-ness – and He realizes: God is holy. When we talk about being holy or God’s holiness, we’re talking about being set apart. In light of God’s incommunicable attributes David knows that there is no god like his God. He stands alone in His own category. God is most holy.
And, in light of this realization and recognition, David’s response makes more sense to us. David is not being violent towards fellow humans, but zealous for God’s holiness and fame. David recognizes that God is set apart, supremely ruling in the universe – and he passionately wants God’s character and glory to be revered by all.
How can God’s holiness push you towards zeal for His glory?
What would a zealousness for God’s glory look like in your own life?
There is no God like our God. God stands alone among the false gods of this world. He is all-knowing, having known when we come home and when we leave and knowing our thoughts from afar. He is also all-present – there is no where we can run from His watchful gaze or escape His presence. And He is all-powerful, as we see displayed in creation and in our sovereignly formed bodies. In light of all of this, David understands something: God is magnificently holy, and He deserves ultimate glory.
Pray & Reflect:
Supplication: Confess to God that there is no god like Him. Consider your own zeal – or lack of zeal – for His glory. Confess this to Him as well.
Submission: Pray Psalm 139 back to God. Consider all His ways – knowing that His character is ultimately beyond our comprehension. Ask Him to give you godly zeal for His glory and a passion to see Him glorified in the world as He rightly deserves.