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Eyes In The Back of My Head
Last week I introduced Psalm 139 verses 1-3. My reaction to the news that God knows everything about me used to be fear. I described it as 'motivating fear.' But I have lived a process of change for a few years. I am now grateful that I have such an intimate relationship with God that he knows everything about me. Today I look at the first step of that process of growing into an intimate relationship with Him. It’s at this place that “hidden treasure” in your life will be found.
Psalm 139:1-4,14, 23 -NIV
1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Our task- moving into intimacy or 'oneness' with Triune God by “digging to find the gold” in our lives. Digging into it starts with a story.
When I was 8 or 9 years old, I remember my mom catching me doing something that I knew I shouldn’t do. She caught me a lot! This getting caught was an ongoing problem for me. As a 9-year-old boy, I was driven to get away with doing something that I was forbidden to do! It was fun, but I wasn’t very successful at it. I finally asked her how she knew. How did she almost always catch me?! Her answer? “I’ve never told you this but... I have eyes in the back of my head!”
“What!” She caught me off guard with that one. “Ok, I’m not buying that, what’s the real reason?” I asked. She never gave me another answer. But I knew she didn’t have eyes in the back of her head... as far as I could tell. This writing of King David also has an element that caught some people off guard.
When King David wrote Psalm 139, it had a statement that impacted his culture. This is one of the first scriptures recorded that says, God is omnipresent and omniscient. In other words, He is everywhere, and he has unlimited knowledge about the past, present, and future. For most of us Christians today that’s not news. But when King David decreed this, it was outside-the-box thinking! It’s a “God has eyes in the back of his head” statement. At first glance, who would believe that? God inhabited temples. His presence was at altars. Or burning bushes. Even in the garden in the cool of the morning.
This belief that God was limited to certain times and places of His choosing would certainly lend itself to believing that a person could get away with secret behaviors. Knowing God was a transient experience, not a relationship that carried over to all aspects of life, making it easier to live a dual life. But, when God did show up, it caused a lot of fear in people. Somehow, He knew about their dual lives. Many times, there would be a reckoning.
David turns their world upside down by revealing that God is omnipresent and omniscient. For David, it is an amazing connection. For many, it may have been traumatizing to think about. Most of us are in or have been in the traumatized group. To accept that God knows us in all levels of our life, that He has been with us throughout every activity and every thought is difficult to accept. It means that there have been no secrets. He saw us at our very worst. No mask we put on hid us from him.
The original word used for 'know' in the scripture is the word “yada.” It is used six times in Psalm 139. It is a word whose specific meaning is derived from the context in which it is used. This may sound tedious to go over, but it's important to see the differences.
Yada has two types of 'knowing.' It can mean, 'to know something,' or it can mean, 'to know someone.' To know something means to have an intellectual understanding of something. To be aware of it and to be able to explain it to someone else. 'To know someone' means to have a relationship with that person. In most cases, it means to have a covenant relationship.
The six times “yada” is used in this Psalm; it is 'to know something,' or “to have a deep understanding of.” It is not explicitly used as a relational, covenant term. But because David did have an intimate relationship with Triune God, then the combined usage of this word in these six verses is about an intimate covenant relationship. The way David uses “yada” describes the details of the covenant relationship. These details are important to us today.
Here’s a look at these references;
1. “You know when…” = “You know all of the movements of my life” (when I sit; when I stand). Also, note that in the second phrase of v. 2, the word “understand or perceive” is parallel with the word “know” (yada‘), so this is describing knowledge about something.
2. “You, Lord, know it” = You know the words I’m about to speak, even before I speak them.
3. “I know that full well” = recognizes the majestic work of God in creating humankind
4. “know my heart” = I willfully acknowledge and openly display my heart (my thoughts, intents, wishes, etc.) before You, O God, because I know that nothing is hidden from You. You know my heart.
5. “know my anxious thoughts” = You even know what I’m unable to express fully, and I acknowledge that You know all these things.
That’s the background for now. How do we relate to it? Digging into our lives to find the hidden treasure begins with being equipped with the correct tools. We are all called to have the King David type of intimate relationship with God. He was imperfect. He made serious mistakes in judgment. But he still found this covenant relationship with God. He is humble in his confession.
We need to know (yada) that we have treasure in our lives to dig out. It’s in there. None of us can pursue the digging without knowing this first-there's treasure there waiting to be found. Triune God formed you and intimately knows you. It will take a daily life of unity or “oneness” with God to work through the process. But the process uncovers the treasure.
We need to know that this intimate knowledge by God of who we are is key to our discovering treasure in us. Move past the fear and into acceptance. Accept the relationship that goes deeper into your life than any other relationship. Why? Because there’s a partnership that takes place with this. Since God knows you more than you know yourself, He is the perfect guide to lead you to a deeper relationship with Him, with yourself, and with others around you. You will begin to discover that the treasure in life is found in these places.
Selma, CA 93662-0297