Focal Passage: Psalm 139:1-10, 13-16
Though not a Catholic, we should appreciate the words of the late Pope John Paul II in his 1995 Papal Encyclical — Evangelium Vitae — when he compared two opposing cultures: the “culture of death” that devalued life and the “culture of life” that valued life from conception to death.As Baptists whose worldview ought to be grounded in Scripture, we value life from conception to death because God does. Psalm 139 makes the promotion of a “culture of life” crystal clear.
God For Us (Psalm 139:1-6). God does not love us because we are valuable; we are valuable because God loves us. God, the progenitor of life itself, values life because He not only creates life, but knows our lives in intimate detail. Psalm 139 notes that God knows us (v. 1), understands us (v. 2), is aware of all our ways (v. 3), knows what we will say before we say it (v. 4) and encircles us and leads us with His kind providential care (v. 5). The knowledge that God knows us is enough to confound the wise, but console our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.
God With Us (Psalm 139:7-10). But God doesn’t just know us from a distance. The text before us reminds us that God is with us. For this reason we cannot and must not escape from the presence of God (v. 7). Whether in life or death, God is with us (v. 8). There is no escape from God’s presence. God’s presence leads us and upholds us (vv. 9-10). God’s abiding presence is the source of our hope and the foundation of our faith.
We ought not to look upon God’s presence with us as if God is some “cosmic peeping Tom” concerned only with catching us in some sin. Rather, the knowledge of God’s presence is a reminder that our caring and loving God values our life in all of its dimensions and circumstances. Because He knows us God can comfort us in our sorrows, convict us in our sins, and lead us in our times of confusion.
God Forms Us (Psalm 139:13-16). This section in Psalm 139 is remarkable. The intimate details of God being for and with us can be seen in how He formed us. We are not made in our own image but in the image of God with detailed precision and care. Like a Master Seamstress, we are knit together in our conception and formation before our birth (v. 13), wondrously made by a wondering-working God (v. 14).
Nothing is hidden from God (v. 15). Even when our life was but a “secret” in our mother’s womb, God was making us into a form and shape that would please and glorify Him (vv. 15-16). God was creating life from beginning to end.
And then, in a stunning assertion of sweet sovereignty, Psalm 139:16 notes, “all my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began.” This breathtaking statement means that our lives are not accidents, but the life God gave us and put into us has purpose within God’s plan.
Our great God is sovereign in life and death, in salvation and sanctification, and in purpose and intent. Ultimately, God desires to put His life in our lives in Christ. Let us then promote a “culture of life” rather than a “culture of death,” a culture that is most characterized by the good news of eternal life in Jesus Christ. B&R