The information age and the rise of social media have created a new layer of identity for individuals. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and online gaming have all made it possible for people to build a persona online that sometimes has little to no resemblance to real life. The deception that once fell within the purview of online dating websites has gone mainstream—so much so that creating completely fictional characters for the purpose of fooling others has turned into sport. However, the practice of maintaining separate identities did not originate with the internet. Ordinary people on a daily basis—for years on end—have sought to project a certain image to others while hiding their true selves. Some project confidence to mask their insecurity. Others project a friendly demeanor to hide the malice in their heart. Indeed, some people have become so adept at disguising their character that one wonders whether they themselves know who they truly are. Nevertheless, the reality remains. And this is what God sees and knows. David’s reflection on the LORD’s omniscience in Psalm 139 offers a needed reminder of just how transparent we truly are to our God.
The opening words of David’s poem offer a challenge to the soul: “O LORD, You have searched me and known me” (Psa. 139:1). God knows about every aspect of our lives, from the biggest event to the smallest detail. The Lord is aware of what we do daily. Heaven then holds a record of our regular routine (Psa. 139:2a). No thought escapes His notice (Psa. 139:2b), and no activity of purpose or habit lies beyond His sight (Psa. 139:3). Every word spoken—harshly, vainly, angrily, carelessly, or purposefully—appears before Him for consideration (Psa. 139:4). Indeed, the LORD knows every individual of His creation to a degree far beyond our meager comprehension (Psa. 139:5-6). To the careless soul, this thought alone provokes fear. Instinct seeks refuge and shelter from the threatening thought of being known so thoroughly. And yet, we cannot escape God’s presence nor remove ourselves from His knowledge (Psa. 139:7). Whether high or low, whether east or west, God knows where we are and what we are doing (Psa. 139:8-9). This frightens the sinner—and rightfully so—but it should serve as comfort to the saint, as David also recognized.
Our God watches, and sees, and knows—not simply to catch us in our folly but to lead us out of darkness into light (Psa. 139:10). He remains always near to help (Psa. 139:11), seeing all regardless of what remains hidden from us in our ignorance and weakness (Psa. 139:12). Therefore, He should have our full and complete trust. He knows us better than we know ourselves, having knowledge of our existence and individuality in the womb before we could sense it ourselves (Psa. 139:13-16). Such personal interest continues through life. The God of heaven watches and waits, wanting a relationship with each of us. What an amazing thought it is to be known and loved by the One who is love and knows all (Psa. 139:17-18)! He knows the hurt and heartache caused by sinful men. He knows their wickedness and is ready to judge them (Psa. 139:19-20). Thus, He knows how we feel and respond to wickedness as well, whether we sidle up to sinners or shun evil companions (Psa. 139:21-22).
The LORD knows us—fully, completely, deeply. And for this we should be thankful. Indeed, we should cry out to Him, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting” (Psa. 139:23-24). The LORD knows us in every way, but only by opening ourselves up to the LORD do we gain the benefit of knowing Him too. By opening up to God and baring the soul, we can hand over our worries and cares to find peace (Phil. 4:6-7). By opening up to honest evaluation we discover our flaws, our shortcomings, and our sins so that we can correct them and grow (2 Cor. 13:5). By opening ourselves up to our LORD and trusting Him, we can begin to know and understand life and eternity (2 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 4:16-18). We can hide nothing from the LORD, nor should we try. Indeed, we should be thankful that He knows us so well—and thankful that such a God wants us to know Him too.