Posted May 12, 2014
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. 7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
We are currently in our third week (of nine total) memorizing Psalm 139. If you’re just joining us, welcome! After spending the last 5 verses meditating on God’s knowledge and presence, the psalmist can’t help but exclaim in wonder: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me… It is high, I cannot attain it.”
From Theology To Doxology
There is wonder in the psalmist’s voice as he exclaims, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me!” As we meditate on all God is, we should be moved. The truths of God should always lead us into the worship of God. Theology (the study of God) is never meant to be detached from doxology (the praise of God). As God reveals His attributes and acts, we see His glory. It doesn’t end there, though. We weren’t created as observers, but rather as worshipers! As God reveals who He is, so we are to respond in awe, honor, and praise. May God give us attentive eyes, and in turn responsive hearts and lives. Shai Linn created a short video that helps explain the connection between theology and doxology here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbrTK5c7s9c
From Pride To Humility
The truth that God knows all things should humble a people who don’t know all things. We are no match for God, His wisdom and power. Charles Spurgeon said, “The theme overwhelms me. I am amazed and astounded at it. Such knowledge not only surpasses my comprehension, but even my imagination. It is high, I cannot attain unto it. Mount as I may, this truth is too lofty for my mind. It seems to be always above me, even when I soar into the loftiest regions of spiritual thought. Is it not so with every attribute of God? Can we attain to any idea of his power, his wisdom, his holiness? Our mind has no line with which to measure the Infinite. Do we therefore question? Say, rather, that we therefore believe and adore. We are not surprised that the Most Glorious God should in his knowledge be high above all the knowledge to which we can attain: it must of necessity be so, since we are such poor limited beings; and when we stand a tip toe we cannot reach to the lowest step of the throne of the Eternal.”
From Heaven to Sheol
Following the psalmist’s exclamation, the meditation on God’s boundless presence (omnipresence) continues as he asks two questions in verse 7, immediately providing answers in verse 8. The psalmist employs the use of opposites in verse 8 to remind us that nowhere we could go is out of God’s reach. On this usage, Bruce Waltke commented, “The extremes of ‘heaven’ and ‘Grave’ on the vertical axis are inaccessible to living mortals and represent the Immortal's omnipresence. ‘Heaven’ and ‘Grave’ are the highest and lowest points in the psalmist's cosmos… The former is the most desirable space, the place of God's unique presence, and the latter is the least desirable, the place of the dead.” Anywhere you might be, no matter the season or the sin, there God is near. Let us respond in praise and humility!
Song by Ross King.
Production by Dustin Ragland.
Artwork by Joel Schierloh.