The Omniscience of God

August 2013 Scripture of the Month

Psalm 139:1-6

O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

 

This Scripture of the Month is the first in a series of four on the 139th Psalm. It is my personal favorite psalm authored by David, and one of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible. Psalm 139 is certainly one of the most majestic psalms in the entire Psalter, with its vivid descriptions of God’s power and His works.

There are four key thoughts in the psalm, each taking up six verses. Three of the sections emphasize God’s “omni-qualities” – that is God is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (everywhere), and omnipotent (all-powerful). These “omni-qualities” are more properly named the comparative attributes of God: His infinite nature contrasted with inadequate human ability. The fourth section emphasizes David’s striving to be likeminded with God.

This first section, verses 1-6, highlights God’s omniscience. This word comes from the prefix “omni-”, which means all, and the word “science”, which means knowledge. The passage particularly focuses in on the Lord’s knowledge of David himself. David realizes that God knows everything about us. He knows the path that we walk and the places that we sleep. He knows every word that comes out of our mouth even before we say it. He knows our going out and coming in… and the list could go on and on forever. The fact is that the Lord knows everything, period. He knows how many hairs are on each one of our heads (Matthew 10:30). A young sparrow falling from a nest does not escape His notice (Matthew 10:29). None of us can flee from His searching eyes (Jonah 1:3-4); in fact, He watches in particular the righteous men and hears their every cry (Psalm 34:15). This knowledge is too high for David to grasp, and he admits that he is nowhere close to God’s wisdom.

Though the attribute of omniscience seems basic, it leads to a very important concept: If God literally knows everything, which He does, then He also sees every act that we do, good and bad. He also knows all our thoughts, which no one else can discover. There is no such thing as a “secret sin”, for Jesus proclaims in Luke 12:2-3 that “there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed…that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Do we go throughout the day with this in mind? Is every work that we do judged by the standards of God? Is every thought that occurs to our mind acceptable to Him? Obviously not all thoughts can be humanly controlled. In this case, we must lean on God to save us. Thanks be to God, He is also omnipotent and more than able to save us from our sins. Praise be to Him!

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