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Rejoicing in the Omniscience of God

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
January 29, 2024 12:00 am

Rejoicing in the Omniscience of God

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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January 29, 2024 12:00 am

The thought that God knows everything about us is often a disconcerting thought. But it is a thought we should rejoice in every day. David's unforgettable lyrics in Psalm 139 provide the reason for our rejoicing. Access all of the resources and lessons in this series: https://www.wisdomonline.org/the-song-volume-1

 

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David is then saying, if you took that nuance, Lord, you have excavated every crevice of my soul. Your omniscient spade has turned over every stone. You've dug deeply into my mind, my heart. You've uncovered everything. David is writing from the perspective that he has discovered that God has already discovered him. You have known me.

It's comprehensive past, present, future, now. How does this phrase make you feel? God knows every secret thought of your heart. Is that thought a comfort to you or does it worry you?

Is that thought a blessing or a threat? For many people, the idea of God or anyone knowing the secrets of their heart is terrifying. Frankly, the omniscience of God should be sobering for us. However, we're going to learn today that for the Christian, God knowing our secrets can be a refuge for us. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen is in Psalm 139 with a message he's calling, rejoicing in the omniscience of God.

Several years ago, I was down at Chick-fil-A having devotions, okay, eating my usual chicken sandwich, no pickle, fries, diet lemonade, and a chocolate chip cookie to balance it all out, all right? Well, anyhow, I love the fact that they have the USA Today out there. I don't get the newspaper and if I read a newspaper, it's that USA Today and typically that's more than enough. But I was reading it this particular afternoon and one of the articles caught my attention and I clipped it out and the headline read, frauds put up a decorated front, kind of grabbed my attention. And then the subtitle read, mail order medals let phonies play hero. The article began by telling the story of the annual Marine Corps birthday ball near Atlantic City. One gentleman was there, he was wearing row upon row of battle ribbons on his chest, just kind of a, you know, a silent testimony to his bravery and his courage.

Some of the awards this 52-year-old man proudly wore included the bronze star, a silver star, and the navy cross, second in significance to the Medal of Honor. The other retired soldiers just sort of, you know, intuitively backed up in honor and gave him priority as this man showed up in his dress blues wearing the rank of lieutenant colonel. As the night wore on, the article talked about the fact that some of the men just kind of picked up on little flaws, like when he excused himself to go to the latrine, which is not what Marines call it. They call it the what?

Head, getting that from the navy because the bathrooms used to be at the front of the ship, so it's called the head. Even worse, he had his combat action ribbon pinned upside down. So one of the men got suspicious, quietly took a little photograph of this man, and then later on sent it to the FBI. After checking the records, the man was shown to be an imposter. He had served as a plumbing specialist in the navy, but had been dishonorably discharged.

He was sentenced to three years probation and fined several thousand dollars. Now what really intrigued me, they kind of began with that, you know, life story, and then it went on to talk about the fact that this is not uncommon because of the fact that everybody sort of appreciates, you know, the decorated war heroes who serve the country and give them honor and deference. They consider them trustworthy. It's good for their business. It's good for their pride. It's good for their, you know, civic recognition.

It's not uncommon. In fact, according to this article, you can purchase these look-alike medals, for instance, the bronze star and other medals for less than a hundred bucks and become an instant hero. The article ended by one authority stating that he believed that in virtually every city in America, no matter how small, he said there are people right now claiming to be war heroes who are not authentic. They are imposters.

Now we would probably all, you know, especially in this regard, echo the same kind of sentiment. Isn't that terrible for somebody to pretend to be some kind of war hero and they barely served? The truth is, if we want to be honest, we are all potential imposters, aren't we? We can be quite good at acting like someone.

We're not, can't we? We can represent a spiritual life that we're not really engaged in, at least not to the level we hope to assume as we meet with people. It's possible for a believer to cross the line between authentic humility and secret rebellion. And that line is crossed and the masquerade begins.

And by the way, this isn't necessarily by big decisions. It can be little things, little statements like, oh, I'm going to pray for you. And then you don't. Or, well, God bless you. And we don't really care what God does. We're just moving on.

It could be little things. Like the man I read about, he was with his wife at an expensive restaurant. They hadn't put in reservations. It was his fault, of course. And when they got inside, the lobby was packed with people waiting for their table. And so they stood there a while wondering what to do. And all of a sudden the hostess sort of hollered out, Mr. And Mrs. Morgan.

Everybody's quiet. This man thought he'd be real clever, took his wife's arm and said, yes, here we are. And she said, wonderful. And she led them through that packed lobby and all those people envied them as they now went to their reserved seat.

And as she led them through that rather crowded restaurant, she said over her shoulder, I'm so glad you finally arrived. The rest of your family's been waiting. Serves them right. Well, David is about to write a song that informs us that we can never, ever get away with pretending, never with masquerading. In fact, the reality of the Christian life as he rolls it out for us is that God knows who we are.

No matter how many medals we've pinned to our chest and what name we go by, he knows. I want you to turn to Psalm 139, and it'll take us at least three sessions to get through it, just to warn you ahead of time. All right. Verses one through six, you can write somewhere in the margin of your Bible the word omniscience, omni, and then science. Okay.

I flunked it. Don't know how to spell it to this day, but if you need help, look over at the person next to you. Omni, science, omniscience. David is actually going to tell us that we can rejoice in the omniscience of God.

Okay. At verse seven through 12, you can write in the word omni, presence, omni, presence. David is going to tell us why we can rest in the omni, presence of God. And then verse 13 and on, you could write somewhere in the margin the word omnipotence, omnipotence. David is going to explain how we can revel in the omnipotence of God. And at the outset now, you know, this is not a stale lesson in theology. This is actually exhilarating grace and life and security and joy. In fact, really well understood, there's nothing stale about theology. Theology is the study of God. In fact, you might even notice at the outset of your psalm, your translation may have an opening with this added notation that this is given to the choir director.

In other words, this is intended for public singing, not just, well, I learned three new words and I can't pronounce them. No, this is actually theological truth that David wanted to have given to the choir so that the choir and the congregation could sing these attributes of their glorious God. Now, we don't know how this song sounded. We have no idea. All the arguments today about style, I mean, we have no idea what this sounded like.

None of it was left. God probably in his wisdom didn't allow any of it to be recorded. So you can kind of hear it how you want to hear it. Some of you, you know, you would read this and you hear brass leading the way. Some of you would say, no, no, no, no, Steven, there's violins in there. Some of you send guitars and drums. Some of you would say it'd be really great with a banjo. Well, we don't have any instrumentation.

I have no idea. We know some of the instruments, obviously the Old Testament, but what we do have here are the lyrics and there are several stanzas that just sort of easily fall into these three outline points. Let's deal with the first stanza. Verse 1, O Lord, you have searched me and known me. Now, if you kind of hold your finger there and go over to the very end or at least down to verse 23, notice what he writes. Search me, O God, and know my heart. Now, back at verse 1, why would David start out by saying this is what God does and then end by asking God to do it? I wondered about that.

I think the answer might be this. Verse 1 is a declaration of God's omniscience. Verse 23 is a declaration of David's openness. So verse 1 praises God's sovereignty. Verse 23 announces or promises David's surrender.

And by the way, in between those two statements now, give us what is absolutely necessary to be real, to be authentic, to be unpretending before God. Now, back at verse 1, this is the declaration of God's omniscience. O Lord, you have searched me and known me. This word searched comes from the original Hebrew word that means to dig or to explore. It can carry the idea of somebody digging for treasure. You could translate it, Lord, you have dug deeply into my heart. David is then saying, if you took that nuance, Lord, you have excavated every crevice of my soul. Your omniscience spade has turned over every stone you've dug deeply into my mind, my thoughts, my heart. You've uncovered everything. Now, don't misunderstand. David isn't suggesting that God had to dig around in order to understand them, that God had to dig to find out about them.

He's not suggesting that David is writing from the perspective that he has discovered, that God has already discovered him. You have known me. You've dug deeply into my life.

There's nothing. It's comprehensive past, present, future knowledge. Now, he begins to unpack that idea, verse 2, you know when I sit down and when I rise up. Imagine, he knows where you sit. What he means is he misses not one movement by any of us. He also says, verse 2, you discern my thoughts from afar. In other words, God not only sees every movement, he knows every motive. He discerns my thoughts. That is, he sees perfectly the patterns of thought, of intent, of motive, of purpose. So, he's not only an eyewitness to our movements, he knows why we moved. He not only sees what we did, he knows why we did it. And so, one day when we stand before him, fortunately, the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us. He's not a judge. He's a rewarder.

But can you imagine all the unbelieving standing before God? He is not only an eyewitness, he was there. He's omniscient. He knew every motive. You go to courtrooms today and they can get off or their penalty can be lessened by means of, was it premeditated? Were they planning it? Was there forethought? Every deed he knows are thoughts. In fact, twice in the Gospels, we're explicitly told that Jesus Christ knew the thoughts of those in his audience. David isn't saying here that God knows we're thinking, like we might ask our kids, what were you thinking?

We're probably wondering if they were. God not only knows if we're thinking, David is saying he knows what we're thinking and why. Verse 3, you search out my path and my lying down. The word for search means to literally scrutinize.

It refers to minute scrutiny. David says, I am under your scrutiny, your insightful examination. He says, you know, every thought we have, every step we take, and then even our lying down.

That even has a sexual connotation, by the way. He's saying I see in secret what others might not. I know everything. I search out your path. I know every private aspect of your life. John Phillips writing on this text says, the Lord knows when I leave the house. He knows whether I walk to work, take my car, or ride the bus. He knows when I go for a coffee break. He knows when I leave to go back home, when I walk back in the front door from my first step, I love the way he put this, as a toddler to my last step. There is not one step in between that he does not know. Look further at verse 4. Even before a word on my tongue, behold, oh Lord, you know it all together. Even before there's one word.

So God isn't waiting to see what we're going to say. It isn't that he knows all the options. He knows the future. And this isn't just true about David. This is true about everybody you know. Everybody on the planet. Everybody throughout human history. Every action, every thought, every motive, every secret, every word. You see how he's just kind of building this case of God's omniscience. I like to pose the omniscience of God by asking, has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God?

Never once. See, by the way, this is the astounding claim of Jesus Christ. This is why they had to kill him. Because it was clear he was God incarnate.

And so Jesus is telling his disciples in John chapter 13, and he says this this way, I am telling you this, he's talking about the crucifixion of their betrayal. I am telling you this now, before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you will believe that I am. That ego-y me. That I am that I am.

That's the name that God introduced himself through Moses to the people. I am. This is how Jesus Christ then could look Peter in the eye and say, Peter, I hear what you're saying about how committed you are above all these other men. But you're gonna deny even knowing me, not two times, not four times, or five, but exactly three times. And after the third time, a rooster is going to crow to remind you of this conversation. And Jesus, you know, is not saying under his breath, man, I hope it works out like that, that he only does it three times, and I hope that rooster doesn't get a little distracted by some cute head walking across the barnyard and forgets to crow after the third time.

Now, he's not ringing his hands with fear. One author describes God's omniscience by writing it this way, God knows everything actual and everything possible, past, present, and future. In fact, you go to that last part of verse four again, and he says, behold, Lord, you know it altogether.

So he kind of summarizes it as he takes a breath. You know it altogether. In other words, oh God, you know it all.

He is, by the way, the only know it all because he does. Notice verse five, you hem me in behind and before and lay your hand upon me. You could paraphrase that, you fence me in. In fact, the word translated hem or enclose is a strong word we lack a little bit in our English translations because it's most often somewhat frightening.

It's the word, the Hebrew word used for a city that is being besieged. Under siege, it is surrounded. All the escape routes have been cut off. They are hemmed in.

So here's this interesting thought. God, David says, you have shut off all my escape routes. I can't run, even if I wanted to. You can apply it, Lord, you are keeping me from escaping that situation. You've hemmed me in. I've tried to figure a way around it.

I can't. Obviously, you want me here. You keep us from running away from that responsibility. Might be tempted and you wake up a month later, realize you didn't, you work through it, and you say, thank you God, he hemmed you in. He keeps you pressed in and he keeps you held fast.

That's the idea. He keeps us pressed in, as one poet wrote it. We are pressed into loving the staff and the rod, pressed into knowing no helper but God.

You can't run away from God. Notice what he writes in verse six. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high.

I cannot attain it. Now you see, his theology is breaking into doxology. He's about to sing here about great truths. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. Don't ever wonder if God knows about you. The truth is there isn't anything about you that God doesn't already know and care about and graciously superintend. Omniscience then, as we understand it a little better, produces in us some responses, doesn't it? I mean, one could be discomfort. Do you remember when you had the theory that your parents were omniscient and they wanted you to think that?

But you tested that theory every so often, right? But would you notice that with David, it doesn't bring him discomfort. It brings him delight.

Look at verse six again. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. I've got to sing about this. This is wonderful. Instead of running and hiding, David is singing, my God, you know everything about me. This is wonderful news, which means, beloved, this is the song sung by someone with a clear conscience.

Otherwise, it is not wonderful. So David is, at this point, in his walk, confessed up, as we would say it. Everything is right. And one thing about David, we learn, is not that he doesn't make mistakes, but that he knows how to confess. This is the song of someone who's clean and surrendered. You know, when you think about it, the omniscience of God produces several reactions, actually. I'll put it this way, the omniscience of God sobers us. We're going to appear at the bema seed of Christ and give an accounting of what he thoroughly knows, not just our service, but our motive. Not just our actions, but our intention.

Not just the plans that we did with our lives as we roll them out in the name of Christ, but our purpose. If we truly understand the omniscience of God, there is no room for pride in any of us, because the best things we do for God are tainted by our flesh, aren't they? The old Puritan said it, even our confessing needs confessing. Even our repentance needs repenting. We have been found out by him, and he still loves us, and he still chooses to use us.

No wonder we will one day place our crowns at the base of his throne, Revelation chapter 4 verse 10. But the omniscience of God should sober us. Secondly, the omniscience of God secures us.

Think about it this way, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from every sin, 1 John 1-7. Jesus Christ could not have paid the penalty for all our sins unless he knew all our sins ahead of time. If God were not omniscient, he would be unable to secure our redemption. Packer writes it this way, the omniscience of God is wonderful truth.

I am never out of his mind. There's no moment when his eye is off me, his attention distracted from me, no moment therefore when his care falters. This is tremendous relief in knowing that his love for me is utterly realistic, based at every point on knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him. This is momentous knowledge and unspeakable comfort. The omniscience of God secures us. Third, the omniscience of God satisfies us. Matthew chapter 6 verse 8, we know that verse and talk often of the truth, but think about it in relation to omniscience.

He knows what we have need of before we ask. That's omniscience. God will never say, I didn't see the fact that you'd need that and I didn't prepare for it, I'm sorry.

I didn't see that problem coming. Now the omniscience of God means that when you face a problem tomorrow, he's already there, he's already provided, it's part of his plan, it's designed for your best and for mine. Such knowledge then is too wonderful for me. Not just that he knows what tomorrow brings for you and for me, but he's prepared for it and he's provided for you and for me.

Such knowledge is wonderful. Did you notice he writes, I cannot attain it, which you could render that in fact Wycliffe 400 years ago translated it, I cannot comprehend it. That's a pretty good translation. Eugene Peterson paraphrased it, it's too much, it's just too much, it's too wonderful, I can't take it all in.

That's the idea. No wonder David thinks that the omniscience of God is a wonderful thing to sing about. Beloved, the omniscience of God is not a threat for the believer, it's a wonderful refuge. So we rejoice in the omniscience of God. This is Wisdom for the Heart and today's lesson is called Rejoicing in the Omniscience of God. Stephen Davey is your Bible teacher on this daily series. He's currently in a series called The Song.

It features a selection of the songs David wrote and that we have recorded for us in the Psalms. We'd enjoy hearing from you. Write to us at Wisdom International, P.O. Box 37297, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27627. Join us next time here on Wisdom for the Heart. you
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-21 02:04:48 / 2024-02-21 02:14:00 / 9

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