Friday, 11 December 2020
Title: Significance and Self-Image
By: Ps Cheng Cheung
Psalm 139: 14 ”I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And t͟h͟a͟t͟ my soul knows very well.
Psalm 139: 1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know … You understand …
3 You comprehend …
And you are acquainted …
4 You know …
Are you part of a large corporation? A listed company, perhaps? Or a huge private company or an educational institution, such as a university? Have you met the management at the highest echelons of the organization? You may know their names, but you probably do not know them personally. And of course, you do not expect them to know you. However, I trust, after reading this Psalm, you do not think the same of the living God, the Almighty Ruler of the universe. Because He knows you…… i͟n͟t͟i͟m͟a͟t͟e͟l͟y. And He wants you to know Him and grow to love Him as intimately as He loves you.
At the start of the Psalm David says God has searched him and known him (and all of us) through and through. He knows about our passive days (sitting down) and our active ones (rising up). The thought is that God explores and examines us completely and thoroughly. He understands what prompts us to think certain thoughts. He therefore understands the hidden, unspoken intents behind our actions. T͟h͟e͟r͟e͟ i͟s͟ n͟o͟t͟h͟i͟n͟g͟ w͟e͟ c͟a͟n͟ h͟i͟d͟e͟ f͟r͟o͟m͟ G͟o͟d͟. Scary, right?
The most amazing part is v 4:
“Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, Lord, You know it all.”!
We need to pause and allow the full implications of what we have just read to sink in. Let us be fully aware that God’s omniscience regarding the words of our mouths does not just cover His chosen ones. It includes every living human being in every language in every continent at every moment every day! Putting that aside, we want to recognise this fact for each of us personally: There is nothing we can hide from God.
The question that may naturally arise is ”How did that come about?” and the answer is found in v 13 – 18.
13 For You created my innermost parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
You, Lord God, alone did it. The psalmist pictures the Lord attending to the details of the life in His hands like a knitter must pay close attention as he knits a garment of great beauty. Not mother nature, not evolution. And the picture I get is the intricate weaving or joining together all the innermost parts to form a functional, well-ordered body consisting bone, flesh, blood, and organs is done by the Almighty. Most amazingly, it is a body with emotions, capable of decision making, feelings of love, compassion and righteous anger, just like its Maker. But now due to the fall, man is ingrained with willful disobedience as well. Does the celestial Artist and Potter exercise any less skill with each and every creation? No, because we are all significant to Him.
When I first came across this phrase, ”fearfully and wonderfully made” I hit a wall, trying to figure out what it meant. Perhaps a short story will serve as an illustration:
An old school friend served as a medical missionary with his wife at a hospital in Ethiopia, some years ago. He is a general surgeon. One day, an ambulance brought a young man to the hospital who was bleeding to death. He was a bus driver and his bus had been involved in a head on collision with a truck. There was a large hole in his chest and a major artery next to the heart was gushing blood. They had to stop the bleeding or the man would lose his life. My friend, Andrew, had never performed heart surgery before, but he had no choice.
I remember him telling us how his hands trembled, as he performed open heart surgery. He carefully sewed the ruptured artery, stich by stich, one eye on the beating heart next to his fingers, the other on where the needle was going. It was painstakingly slow, as he moved the needle in and out of the soft arterial tissue. After hours, the operation was completed! To me, fearfully and wonderfully done. I can visualize our Maker taking just as much care creating each of us
v 15b …I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Friends, one of the emotional struggles of our age is that of poor self-image and a perception of inadequacy. These verses should give assurance that everyone whom He has created is valued and sacred to our Great God. Humanity is the pinnacle of His creation, bearing God’s image and therefore looks, intelligence and status do not count in His eyes. He accepts each of us unconditionally as we are.
My Heavenly Father, thank you for this timely reminder. Thank you for this wonderfully revealing Psalm which assures me of your care for me, individually, from the time I was created.
Help me treat everyone I come across with the dignity and respect they deserve. Thank you that each of us is precious in your eyes. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.