Skip to comments.The Darkness and Light are both Alike to Thee (Psalm 139)
Posted on 07/13/2019 4:45:27 PM PDT by pcottraux
The Darkness and Light are both Alike to Thee
By Philip Cottraux
Psalm 139:1: O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. You cant hide anything from God. This can be both terrifying and comforting.
For the last blog, I examined the 34th Psalm, which David wrote while on the run for his life from Saul. He and his men lived as fugitives in the wilderness every day for ten years. Think of how many nights he cried out to God for it to end, to no response. Yet he still had the faith to say they that seek the Lord shall not want (lack) any good thing (Psalm 34:9).
The 139th Psalm, on the other hand, was written toward the end of Davids life. The opening verse is significant, as he surely looked back on the sin he thought hed covered up. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, and when she got pregnant with, had her husband killed in battle, then married her. He thought he had gotten away with it, but the prophet Nathan exposed his sins to his face. II Samuel 12:12: For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
David then wrote Psalm 51 as a prayer of repentance. Ive always found the most poignant scripture to be verse 11: Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. David was all too aware of the consequences of losing the Holy Spirit. Hed seen it happen to Saul so many years before: But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him (1 Samuel 16:14). Saul was changed forever after that, a demonic madman who would never regain the anointing. The church today is far too careless with the Holy Spirit. When the Jews lost the ark of the covenant, it was never seen again. If the Holy Ghost leaves us, we may not get Him back.
But contrast Psalm 51:11 with Psalm 139:7: Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? In his senior years, he no longer worried about going down the path of Saul; the Spirit would be with him wherever he went.
Verse 8 is one of the more well-known scriptures in Psalms: If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed hell, behold, thou art there. This doesnt mean, however, that Gods presence literally dwells in hell; as Christians well know, the true suffering of hell is not so much the flames, but the eternal separation from God. Hell here more accurately translates to Sheol, the Israelite name for the underworld at the time. What David is saying here is more symbolic than literal, and this continues in verses 9-10: If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. In the ancient Near East, the sun was often depicted with wings soaring across the sky; but the point that David is trying to drive home is that no matter where he goes, God will be with him, whether its in the sky, the deepest underground caves, or the most remote parts of the sea. Perhaps more significant is his reference to Gods right hand holding him at the end of verse 10. This foreshadows the New Testaments depictions of Christ being at the right hand of God, which symbolizes mercy. Matthew 25:33: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.
Sinners think darkness can hide their sins. But darkness flees from Gods light. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me: even the night shall be light about me (Verse 10). The good news for the saints is that even in our darkest hours, God finds us with His penetrating light. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee (verse 11).
Consider the opening chapters of Genesis. We often look at them strictly as the Creation account, but sometimes fail to consider their historical context. God gave the book to Moses during the wandering in the wilderness. The Israelites had come out of Egypt and were heading to Canaan. Its helpful to contrast Genesis with the Egyptian and Canaanite Creation myths. In the pagan world, the sun god created everything during the day but the moon god created all nighttime activities. Genesis smacks that down by declaring that the only true Almighty created both. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day (Genesis 1:4-5).
What is often missed here is that the Hebrew word for create in the Genesis account, bara, implies to create with a purpose. God brings life and order to a chaotic cosmos. He assigns function to the plants, animals, waters, stars and moon. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years: (Genesis 1:14). In other words, they serve a purpose for the pinnacle of Creation, man. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth (verse 26). In pagan myths, mankind was an accident, the least significant of all creation. But to the Israelites, all the prior creative acts were to set the stage for man. This is why it was so important that God assign specific purpose to the day and night by dividing the light from the darkness.
Back to Psalm 139: For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mothers womb (verse 13). Although the Bible doesnt specifically say this, Jewish historical tradition says that David was actually illegitimate. This is why the other sons of Jesse were out fighting the Philistines as brave warriors while the youngest, an outcast, was out tending his fathers sheep. I dont know whether or not this is true, but if so, it sheds new light on Davids writings, especially in this particular Psalm. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth (verse 15).
God has a perfect will for childbirth. He designed marriage with the intention of children being born into stable, two-parent households. Yet an often-asked question is about children who are products of sin. It clearly wasnt Gods will for their parents to commit such fornication or adultery, but did He not plan for these children to come into the world? This isnt an easy question obviously, but if David was a product of sin, verse 16 sheds enormous light on the matter: Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect (unformed): and in thy book all my members (body parts) were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
In other words, David writes that before he was even conceived, God had all the details of his body written down in advance. The point is, just like the rest of the chapter says, God is both the master of light and dark. Even children who are conceived in darkness (sin) can be raised up to be a light for this world. If you look through the ancestry of Christ, the only perfect man who ever lived, youll find murderers, prostitutes, and adulterers, and deceivers. And maybe even children who were conceived under sinful circumstances. This is why life is so crucial and valuable in Gods eyes, and we should fight to protect the innocents no matter how theyre brought into the world.
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