Psalm 139. 13-18

Our Body and Our Days

In this Psalm, David asks two rhetorical questions, ‘Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?’, v. 7. The answer, of course, was nowhere. Thoughts about God’s comprehensive knowledge and presence had captivated David’s mind. His reflections upon God were acts of worship. The pattern set by David is an example that should be followed today. Meditating or reflecting upon God’s attributes is God-honouring and soul-strengthening.

In verse 13, David considers God’s power. He thinks about God’s power in designing him. Stephen Charnock, a believer in the 1600s, was recorded as saying, ‘The power of God is that ability and strength whereby He can bring to pass whatsoever He pleases, whatsoever His infinite wisdom may direct, and whatsoever the infinite purity of His will may resolve’. The theological term used to describe God’s power is omnipotence (from the Latin: omni potens: ‘all power’).

Our Body

David understood the complexity of the human body. Since his day, great advances have been made. As a result of research, we are now able to appreciate in more detail the great complexities and wonderful design that David spoke of. The great astronomer Johannes Kepler, the founder of celestial mechanics, described science as man attempting to ‘think God’s thoughts after Him’. In the study of the human body, we are able to see something of how God is a powerful and creative designer. George Gallup, the famous statistician, said, ‘If I could prove God statistically; take the human body alone; the chance that all of the functions of the individual would just happen, is a statistical monstrosity’.

The most powerful computer system that has been built by man cannot rival the human brain. The brain calculates and transmits billions of bits of information through the body. This information controls every action, right down to the blink of an eye. In the body, nerves carry the information back and forth through the central nervous system. And in just one human brain there is probably more ‘wiring’, more ‘electrical circuitry’, than in all the computer systems of the world put together.

The heart is a muscular pump actually forcing blood through thousands of miles of blood vessels. Blood carries food and oxygen to every part of the body. The heart pumps an average of six litres of blood every minute, and, in one day, pumps enough blood to fill more than 4,000 two-litre bottles.

The raw material for our body can be found in the ‘dust of the ground’. However, these chemicals cannot arrange themselves into cell tissues, organs, and systems. The book of Genesis teaches that God took ‘the dust of the ground’, a heap of chemicals, shaped a man and then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Then, man became a living soul.

What makes man distinct from the rest of God’s designs was that he was made in God’s image. Sin has marred, but not destroyed this image. Through faith in Jesus Christ and by the work of the Holy Spirit, that image is being created in believers. Yes, only mankind can know God, and have a relationship with Him through prayer, praise, and worship. Truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, v. 14!

Our Days

David took great comfort in the fact that God had written every one of David’s days before there was even one of them, v. 16. The God who loved him, and knew what was best for him, had taken care of every detail of his life. God had planned David’s life. The same truth holds for everyone today. What God had purposed before time began did not mean David was not responsible for his actions and choices. David could not say that his sin with Bathsheba, 2 Sam. 11, was inevitable and, therefore, not his fault. Likewise, all of us are responsible for every action and deed we commit.

There is always a tension between God’s rule over all things, and man’s responsibility. This is best illustrated by thinking about the cross. In Acts chapter 2 verse 23, Peter proclaims, ‘This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men’. In one sentence, Peter states that the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus was God’s plan before time began, yet also the men who crucified him were responsible. We can never fully comprehend how these are both true, but we know that they are.

The God who has created all things has thought of us with great care from eternity. He continues to think of us every moment, and always will. Of His thoughts, we can shout, ‘How great is the sum of them!’