“O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” (Psalm 139:1-6).
Dr. J.I. Packer once wrote concerning the knowledge of God that “a little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about Him.”
There are two phrases the psalmist David uses in Psalm 139:1-6 which I want to highlight for you. They are, in referring to the LORD’s knowledge, (1) “acquainted with all my ways and (2) “you know it altogether.” Both phrases refer the reader to the omniscience of God. David was saying that there is nothing of which God does not know. In our study of knowing God, it is wise for us to understand that at the same time we are seeking to know God, God knows us completely: past, present and future.
Omniscience literally means to “have all (omni) knowledge (science).” Since God is eternally existent, He is therefore capable of knowing everything because His knowledge of everything and everyone is eternally existent. This is in contrast to our knowledge which is finite or limited because we are finite creatures.
Theologian and author Arthur Pink writes, “God is omniscient. He knows everything: everything possible, everything actual; all events and all creatures, of the past, the present, and the future. He is perfectly acquainted with every detail in the life of every being in heaven, in earth, and in hell.”
King David said, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” (Psalm 139:6). One commentator explains, “David’s initial response to this staggering knowledge was that he was troubled. Like many who respond to the fact of God’s omniscience, he thought it was confining, that God had besieged him and cupped His hand over him. Moreover, this kind of knowledge was out of David’s control—it was too wonderful for him. The word “wonderful” is in the emphatic position, at the beginning of the sentence, meaning “extraordinary or surpassing.” In other words divine omniscience is too high for humans to comprehend.”
If we truly know ourselves as sinners, then it stands to reason that God’s omniscience may cause us great uneasiness. He knows everything about us. However, the understanding of God’s omniscience should cause believers in Christ to have great comfort that God knows everything which is occurring in our lives. As Job said, “But he (God) knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10).
God knows when I am weary (Psalm 103:14). He knows when I am filled with doubt and disbelief (Psalm 139:23-24). He knows when I am a failure (John 21: 16-19). Consequently, believers in Christ should be filled with holy awe, amazement and adoration of God in light of God’s omniscience.
As one commentator writes, “Omniscient” means “all-knowing.” Scripture declares that God’s eyes run everywhere (Job 24:23; Psalm 33:13-15, 139:13-16; Prov 15:3; Jeremiah 16:17; Hebrews 4:13). He searches all hearts and observes everyone’s ways (1 Sam 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 139:1-6, 23; Jeremiah 17:10; Luke 16:15; Romans 8:27; Revelation 2:23). In other words, he knows everything all of the time. He knows the future no less than the past and the present, and possible events that never happen no less than the actual events that do (1 Samuel 23:9-13; 2 Kings 13:19; Psalm 81:14-15; Isaiah 48:18-19). He does not have to acquire information about things; all his knowledge is immediately and directly before his mind. The authors of the Bible stood in awe of the capacity of God’s mind (Psalm 139:1-6; 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14, 28; cf. Romans 11:33-36).”
“Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139:4).
Soli deo Gloria!