“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
Sometimes I forget that the book of Psalms was intended to be sung! That is to say, It’s not a book of theology, but a book of praise.
But of course, it is theology. The word “theology” just means “study (or discussion) about God,” but it is theology set to music!
So here in Psalm 139, the writer is reflecting on God’s omniscience – His total knowledge of all He has made. And that’s the point he’s making: since He made us, therefore He knows us. He knows us completely.
But this is not just a thought to fill our heads, but one to fill our hearts.
What makes it so lovely is the way that the writer compares the creation of a newborn child with the same veneration as the creation of the world.
Rilke wrote “If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.”
There is no poor indifferent place! Everything is shot through with the glory of God. This morning I woke up singing those memorable lines of Phil Wickham:
” I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say
And every child that is born is a miracle, but it’s a miracle done in the “ordinary course of nature,” It’s entirely natural but nonetheless wonderful!! No “poor indifferent place.”
The psalm takes us into the womb itself, “from conception to birth” to the secret composition of every part and the harmony of the whole together. Indeed, we’re “fearfully and wonderfully made” (as the old version puts it). The wonder makes you smile! The “fear” makes you gasp in awe.
Anyone who has seen a baby born will acknowledge the mystery: the secret linkage of egg and seed at conception, once nothing, then something, and the tiny thud of a new heart beginning to beat. So mysterious, so wonderful, so awe-inspiring.
And “you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”
“See what reason we have then to praise God for our creation, and to conclude that he who saw our substance when it was unfashioned sees it now that it is fashioned.” (Matthew Henry)
Lord, we are in your hands. You created life –you created me! – and made each of us unique. You take pleasure in what you have made and you see purpose and intention in each of our lives.
I belong to you. Let me live out my life in the reassurance of that certainty.