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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, January 21, 2021  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 139:1–6, 13–18

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 far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you. (NRSV)

In this psalm, the psalmist speaks to one of the most human of needs—the need to be known. In our human relationships, the truth is that the thing we most seek is to be known. We look for people who know us and love us anyway.

The good news from the psalmist is that we already have someone who knows us, perhaps better than we know ourselves. God, having made us, knows us better than anyone else ever can. And despite what many of us might describe as our shortcomings, God loves us. Here is the miracle of God’s grace: God loves us in spite of ourselves.

Moreover, God knows our future—“all the days that were formed for” us. Wow! God knows what will become of us. This knowledge, the psalmist acknowledges, is too much for us to understand. But in the end God will be with us. God is there at our creation and throughout our lives.

What a great promise, and one to which we should cling always. This promise is especially reassuring when we are beset with challenges. When we are isolated from others, God is with us. When we cannot be with distant family members, God is with us. When we suffer loss that we cannot express, God is with us. When we cannot meet for weekly worship together, God is with us. What an amazing promise this is. We are known and loved and never alone. Praise God.

Dear Lord, who knows us better than anyone, who made us and knows what our days hold for us, thank you for your love. Remind us daily of your deep knowledge of our most inward thoughts, and remind us that your love will not fail us, even in our human imperfection. Amen.

Written by Juli Crabtree, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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