A Cure for Identity-Crisis: Psalm 139

by: Larry Davies | Feb 5, 2010

“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.”

Do you feel insignificant occasionally? Other athletes run faster: Another businessman is more successful. Other ministers can preach better: Another writer has a more creative grasp of words. No matter how talented and gifted you may be, there is usually someone who is better, faster or more creative. At times, it may seem that anyone can do anything better than you.

“You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away.”

Modern science doesn’t help much. The universe is ever expanding while our planet in comparison seems just an inconsequential speck. Computers do our work and do it faster and more efficiently. It’s easy to look around and feel… insignificant. This is especially true around Christmas when the whole world seems to be rushing on in a frenzy of shopping and partying. If you are not a part of the hustle and bustle: What is wrong with you?

Are you having an identity crisis? You are not alone and God has a cure called Psalm 139.

Would it surprise you to find that the author of Psalm 139 was having his own identity crisis? David, the slayer of giants, gifted poet and powerful king actually doubted himself? It’s true and those doubts make Psalm 139 one of his best. If you divide the Psalm into four equal parts you will discover David asking and answering important questions about his struggle for self-identity.

  • Does God really know me? I’m confused! “You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am.” (v3) This is an active sentence for an involved God who cares about every moment of your life. Matthew 10:30 adds, “the very hairs of your head are numbered.” Does God really know you? Intimately!
  • God seems so far away? I’m lonely! “I can never escape from your spirit!… If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there.” (v7) The promise is pretty clear that wherever you go, God is always there. Are you feeling abandoned? God is in the midst of those feelings. How close is God to you? Close enough to really care!
  • Did God really make me? I’m worthless! “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous…” (v13) Here is a beautiful image of God carefully working within your mother’s womb to create the miracle that will soon be born: you. How were you made? God carefully and deliberately made you precious in His sight!
  • Will God really protect me from evil? I am so afraid! “If only you will slay the wicked, O God!” At first, David expresses righteous indignation towards those who hate God, which doesn’t offer much help. After all, evil still exists. But then in horror, David realizes that evil is not just in others… it is also deeply rooted in him and in a more humble tone, he concludes: “Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Instead of looking to God to protect him from others, David begins to look deep within and asks God to thoroughly examine him and remove the offenses. Will God protect you from evil? Absolutely!

Are you having an identity crisis? Psalm 139 claims God knows you intimately and always promises to remain close enough to really care. God carefully and deliberately made you and will protect you from wickedness by removing the evil from within. The proof is in the Psalmist’s own life as God transforms a lowly shepherd boy into a mighty king.

Ray Boltz sings about David and God’s cure for identity crisis in, “Shepherd Boy.” But when others see a shepherd boy, God may see a king. Even though your life seems filled with ordinary things. In just a moment, He can touch you and everything will change. When others see a shepherd boy, God may see a king.” This week, allow the potent touch of God to examine your heart and cure your shepherd boy self-image and bring out the king in you. Merry Christmas.


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