Psalm 139 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 139

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 afar.” Psalm 139:1-2

I am not sure which psalm is my favorite.  It depends on the day I suppose.  But Psalm 139 is certainly in my final top three.  Before I say anymore about it, please stop and listen to it told beautifully here.

Sometimes when I am deeply worried about someone, I read this psalm out loud slowly.  Instead of using the personal pronouns “I, me, my” in the psalm, I insert the name of the beloved person for whom I am praying.  If there is someone for whom you are burdened, may this psalm become a way for you to hold that person in prayer.  Perhaps you would like to stop and pray that prayer for someone now.

This psalm is strong in naming God’s intimate knowledge of us and tenacious presence with us.  This proclamation is both amazingly comforting and truthfully confronting.  There are no secrets from God.  No pretending.  No saying one thing and doing the other.  So while there are many verses I could have enthusiastically reflected upon, I must be honest.  Today the verse that begs to be  acknowledged is the first, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me….”  Well, actually the verse stood up and confronted me with the fact that I do not practice what I preach.  I am certain this isn’t a surprise to you, but there it is.  Yes, I preached a sermon on Sunday about the importance of listening to the Holy Spirit, and before the day was over, a situation came up where I knew the Spirit was inviting me to do one thing and I deliberately ignored the nudging and did the opposite.  This verse keeps me honest and humble today in a good way.  Like you, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, but God isn’t finished with me yet. Amen.


1. Read the verse and reflect on its meaning for you.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?

2. Listen to all of Psalm 139 and see how this verse fits into the whole.

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that is a window of this psalm’s meaning for you.

The next post will be on Psalm 140.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting an (almost) daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.


  1. And I cannot read this without thinking of Tony’s song…Praise our Great Creator…Oh, my God glory to you be for making me, I’m fearlessly and wondrously made…I’m wondrously made.