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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 139:1–12, 23–24

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
   you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
   and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
   O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
   and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
   it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from your spirit?
   Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
   if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
   and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
   and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
   and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
   the night is as bright as the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting. (NRSV)

Reflection
God knows each and every one of us intimately, inside and out. You were intentionally designed, distinctively gifted, and affectionately placed on earth by an adoring God.

Because of such inconceivable insight, God understands every action and undertaking. When things don’t go well in life due to human frailty and weakness, the loving God will not condemn. Instead, God will gently recalibrate circumstances to a righteous purpose. God knows and understands humanity with merciful oversight, so that everyone is fairly judged.

By design, God’s presence is unavoidable. The psalmist provides a beautiful and comprehensive view of God’s continual involvement in our lives. God is ever present, involved in our daily lives. David states, “You hem me in.” God places us in a position of safety, protection, and love, just like one would a precious treasure. God’s presence guarantees safe keeping. God, like a good parent, hems us in, putting us in a place of continuous scrutiny, so that we are never far from loving care.

God knows all that can be known about us, but more importantly nothing can disconnect us from God. God is present in all places. No one can break away from the reach of God. David elaborates by saying, “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” God is continuously present, longing for an eternal, loving relationship with us.

Friends, take heart in knowing that you are loved by a God who knows every detail about you, yet still loves you no matter what and will always be with you. God redeems us not because we are worthy, but out of God’s affection, so that we may be in eternal relationship with our creator.

Prayer
God, please show me if there is anything in my heart that would keep me from experiencing the full joy of your Holy Presence. If something is there that would inhibit my effectiveness, please give me the courage to make the change needed to allow your love to flow freely through me. Help me take the initiative to share your love with others in my church, at work, and in my family. Amen.

Written by Robert Crouch, Director of Volunteer Ministry


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