Focal Passage: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
This week’s lesson begins a new six-week study on “Real Questions People Ask.” Christians are often faced with challenging questions by skeptics of faith. I Peter 3:15 tells us to “always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” The Word of God will continually help you answer tough questions with love and truth. In keeping with Sanctity of Human Life Sunday this week, the first lesson asks the important question, “Is every life sacred?” In Psalm 139 King David answers with an emphatic, “Yes!” Life is valuable because of who God is and how He has created us.
God intimately knows us (vv. 1-6). When a new hobby catches your interest, it often becomes something close to an obsession. Soon, you want to know everything about it and begin to spend more and more time enjoying the new activity. This becomes extremely valuable to you because of the investment of time and learning. How much more is this true about God’s knowledge of us! The first six verses of this Psalm describes the ways in which God intimately knows us. His understanding of us is all-encompassing. Yet, this intelligence is beyond us. We cannot scale the heights of God’s overwhelming omniscience. This passage highlights the dual nature of God’s presence among His people. God is completely and utterly transcendent from us. Yet, He has encircled us and has placed His hand upon us (v. 5). The God who is so far away has come near to us. Jesus said that not one sparrow falls to the ground “apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31). Every human life is supremely valuable because God intimately knows every single one of them.
God intricately created us (vv. 13-16). Not only does God know us, He created us in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). This amplifies the relationship that God has with humanity. All human life is valuable because we are intricately and purposefully crafted by God. When an author writes a book, or when an artist crafts a new sculpture, that individual infuses great value into the end product. Even though others may not share the same level of excitement over the result, it retains inherent value and purpose from its creator. No matter what others think about human life, all of us are highly valuable because God created us. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (v. 14) by the Lord of the universe who numbers our days before even one of them has come to pass (v. 16). We have not been fashioned by blind chance mutations, but rather intricately woven together in His image, infusing us with great worth.
God incredibly sustains us (vv. 17-18). David praises the Lord for His infinite wisdom and knowledge. God’s thoughts are so vast, that they outnumber the sands of the desert. God’s knowledge comforts David, for when he awakes, he is assured the Lord is with him. The psalmist was so confident in Yahweh’s sustaining presence that he maintained peace even in the midst of overwhelming trial. In Psalm 3 he declares, “But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head … . I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.” God’s people can have peace and assurance because the Lord who created and knows them also sustains them through all of life. Therefore, Christians should mirror God’s value placed upon us by speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves (James 1:27), dealing compassionately with sinners (John 8:1-11), and seeking to restore those who have gone astray (Gal. 6:1).
— Moore is the director of church relations at Union University in Jackson. He also serves as minister of education at First Baptist Church, Dresden.