Friday, 18 December 2020
Title: God’s ways are not our ways
By: Ps Cheng Cheung

Psalm 139: 5 & 6
You have encircled me behind and in front,
And placed Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot comprehend it. (NASB)

You barricade me behind and in front,
and set your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.
It is set high; I cannot prevail against it. (LEB)

Those words in bold used to baffle me. Other translations use verbs such as hedged me behind and before and hem me in. Hem: is this similar to how a seamstress would hem all around the edge of a new skirt to prevent the garment from fraying?

Job chapter 1 throws light on the matter.

In that account the Lord asked Satan to consider Job, “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil.” But Satan sneered and countered, “9 . . . Is it for nothing that Job fears God? 10 Have you not made a hedge around him and his household and all that he has on every side? ” The word in question (encircle, barricade, hedge, hem, enclose) is the same term used for the besieging of a city in battle so that all the escape routes are closed, thus ”hemmed in” or ”shut in” inescapably. Interestingly, it is a very strong statement of security for God’s child.

But it is not imprisonment or bondage. The idea is that God has kept us there to steady us, to direct us, restrain us and keep us from running and escaping the situation¹.

Let us not be mistaken – there w͟i͟l͟l͟ b͟e͟ times when our Heavenly Father d͟o͟e͟s͟ n͟o͟t deliver us from a very stressful predicament although He obviously can. On the contrary, in s͟o͟m͟e͟ situations He may even shut off all easy escape routes. But He stays close and guides us as we seek Him and place our trust in Him. This grows our faith and our understanding of God’s ways. Through these invaluable, sometimes painful lessons, our relationship with our Heavenly Father is ultimately deepened.

This poem describes those difficult but familiar situations well:

Pressed out of measure, pressed beyond all length;
Pressed so intensely, it seems beyond strength;
Pressed in the body, pressed within the soul,
Pressed in the mind till dark surges roll.

Pressure by foes, and pressure from friends;
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends;
Pressed into loving both the staff and rod.
Pressed into knowing no helper but God,

Pressed into liberty where nothing clings,
Pressed into faith for impossible things;
Pressed into living a life in Christ the Lord,
Pressed into living a life for Christ outpoured. ²

This explains ”You . . place Your hand upon me” or ”set Your hand upon me.” It speaks of the palm of God’s protective hand “cupped” over us, so that all our movements are within Our Father’s protective grip. This is a wonderfully reassuring thought. The picture is similar the promise in John 10: 28 and 29 – . . no one will snatch them out of My hand. . . and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

On realising God’s wonderful knowledge of his situation and how He helped him overcome the predicament, the psalmist could not help but exclaim in awe and wonder. ”Such knowledge is too wonderful, too marvellous for me.” N͟o͟w͟ I͟ u͟n͟d͟e͟r͟s͟t͟a͟n͟d͟ w͟h͟y͟ I͟ w͟e͟n͟t͟ t͟h͟r͟o͟u͟g͟h͟ w͟h͟a͟t͟ I͟ w͟e͟n͟t͟ t͟h͟r͟o͟u͟g͟h͟. God’s knowledge of my frailties is beyond my range, beyond my reach and beyond my power. If He had not dealt with me the way He did, I would not have grasped the end result and could not have accepted it.

My Prayer

Gracious Heavenly Father, I praise You for all that You are. Most of all, I am thankful that You are my Heavenly Father. You guide and teach, and You direct. You help me see me for what I am, and yet You do not condemn.

Thank you that You deal with me patiently, showing me my shortcomings. May I always be Your willing student. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

¹ ”Living the Psalms” – Charles Swindoll

² “Pressed Out of Measure” – Annie Johnson Flint


你在我前后环绕我 、按手在我身上。这样的知识奇妙、是我不能测的。至高、是我不能及的。



在这种情况下,上帝要求撒但把约伯视为是一个“完全正直、敬畏 神、远离恶事的人。”但撒旦冷笑着说,“9。。。约伯敬畏 神、岂是无故呢?你岂不是四面圈上篱笆围护他和他的家、并他一切所有的么?“这个词(包围、栅栏、树篱、边沿、围起来)与在战役中围困一个城市时所使用的术语是相同的,那么所有的逃跑路线都被封闭了,因此不可避免地“被包围”或“禁闭”。有趣的是,对上帝的孩子来说,这是一个非常有力的安全宣告。








当诗人意识到上帝对自己处境的奇妙了解以及祂如何帮助他克服困境时,诗人不禁惊叹不已。“这样的知识对我来说过于奇妙,是多么的不可思议。” 如今我才明白我为什么要经历我所经历的一切。上帝对我的弱点的了解超出了我的想象。如果祂没有以如此的方式对待我,我就不能掌握,也不会接受最终的结果。



¹ ”Living the Psalms” – Charles Swindoll
² “Pressed Out of Measure” – Annie Johnson Flint