Letting God In

Psalm 139

Verses 1 through 18 of this psalm give one of the most beautiful descriptions of God's intimate connection with us. God knows us so intimately because his breath—his spirit—is everywhere. It was God who formed us in our mother's womb and assured that we are “wonderfully made.” If you read Psalm 139 in its entirety in the Bible, you will see that it ends with very strong words asking God to curse those who oppose God (verses 19-24). This can be shocking to those of us who are not accustomed to expressing a full range of emotion in prayer, but this is a hallmark of the psalms. They do not shy away from any human emotion. It should be noted, however, that the speaker in this psalm is not seeking personal vengeance. After thanking God for the intimate relationship God has called him into, he is letting God know that he opposes all who oppose God. He leaves the matter for God to judge. He tells God to keep searching the speaker's heart. The psalm concludes: “See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Living the Sacraments