13 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16 ESV).
For the next several days, I will explain what David wrote concerning God’s knowledge of the unborn. We begin with vs. 13 which says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”
The subject is God and has been for the first twelve verses of this psalm. He alone knows not only our spiritual condition (vs. 1-6) but also our physical location (vs. 7-12). Why is this so?
It because the LORD formed out inward parts. The Hebrew word formed (qā·nîʹ·ṯā) means to create. The grammar indicates that this creative act occurred as a past, completed action with continuing results.
What is it that God formed? David said our inward parts. In the Hebrew (ḵil·yōṯ) it means the reins of a persons or their most vital organs. This includes the kidneys.
David continued to say, “you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Using metaphorical language, the psalmist evokes the image of a silk weaver who interweaves, intertwines and shapes. God does this during the nine-month gestational period. This activity occurs within the mother’s womb during three distinct stages: The Germinal Stage, the Embryonic Stage, and the Fetal Stage.
Following the Germinal and the Embryonic Stage, there is the Fetal Stage.
Once cell differentiation is mostly complete, the embryo enters the next stage and becomes known as a Fetus. The fetal period of prenatal develop marks more important changes in the brain. This period of development begins during the ninth week and lasts until birth. This stage is marked by amazing change and growth.
The early body systems and structures established in the embryonic stage continue to develop. The neural tube develops into the brain and spinal cord and neurons continue to form. Once these neurons have formed, they begin to migrate to their correct locations. Synapses, or the connections between neurons, also begin to develop.
Between the ninth and twelfth week of gestation (at the earliest), reflexes begin to emerge. The fetus begins to make reflexive motions with its arms and legs.
During the third month of gestation, the sex organs begin to differentiate. By the end of the month, all parts of the body will be formed. At this point, the fetus weighs around three ounces. The fetus continues to grow in both weight and length, although the majority of the physical growth occurs in the later stages of pregnancy.
The end of the third month also marks the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. During the second trimester, or months four through six, the heartbeat grows stronger and other body systems become further developed. Fingernails, hair, eyelashes, and toenails form. Perhaps most noticeably, the fetus increases about six times in size.
The brain and central nervous system also become more responsive during the second trimester. Around 28 weeks, the brain starts to mature faster, with an activity that greatly resembles that of a sleeping newborn.
During the period from seven months until birth, the fetus continues to develop, put on weight, and prepare for life outside the womb. The lungs begin to expand and contract, preparing the muscles for breathing.
While development usually follows this normal pattern, there are times when problems with prenatal development occur. Disease, malnutrition, and other prenatal influences can have a powerful impact on how the brain develops during this critical period.
“Brain development does not end at birth. A considerable amount of brain development takes place postnatally, including growing in size and volume while changing in structure. The brain quadruples in size between birth and preschool. As children learn and have new experiences, some networks in the brain are strengthened while other connections are pruned,” writes one physician. (Information accessed from http://www.verywellmind.com).
What should be our response and wonder? We will see how David’s reaction to the truth of psalm 139:13 should mirror ours. May we realize how holy, and awesome is our Creator and Sustainer.
Read and meditate upon today’s passage of Scripture. Have a blessed day in the LORD.
Soli deo Gloria!
The His Word Today Weekly Podcast begins Monday, September 5 featuring expository messages from the Epistle to the Ephesians.