The psalmist speaks of God’s complete knowledge of him: The Lord knows what the psalmist will say before he says it, what he will do before he does it. The psalmist uses the words I, me, and my to speak of his close relationship with the great God of creation. “You . . . are acquainted with all my ways.” Yet, how can this sense of intimacy with God possibly be true?
How do we square those words with the dark nights of our soul? How do we take comfort from those words in our sleepless nights? Why does the Lord seem far removed when we say certain things and take certain actions?
Our challenge in understanding the psalm’s message may arise because we hear the message from a human perspective. From our point of view, this intimacy with God does not seem possible. Yet when we hear the psalmist’s words and seek to internalize them, we find ourselves drawn into the possibility of relationship with the Creator of the universe.
For all our misplaced arrogance about how no one could be worse than we, God has seen much worse—God has seen our worst. God knows us and chooses to be in relationship with us. The Hebrew Bible describes a rhythm of life between God and people in which we are and are not in relationship with God. This scripture affirms God’s persistent desire for relationship no matter what we have said, no matter what we have done. The next move is ours.
O Holy One, remind us of your presence and your willingness to understand, to accept, and to forgive us, even when we find it impossible to understand, accept, and forgive ourselves. Teach us again that the power of your love comes as a most welcome gift of your grace. Amen.
We read the stories of Samuel and the calling of Jesus’ disciples in John, and it is easy to feel jealous. God spoke so directly into their lives that they should have had, it seems to us, full and unwavering confidence in their calling. Didn’t they have an unfair spiritual advantage over us? However, the psalmist reminds us that God knows and sees us individually just as well as God knew Samuel and Jesus knew his disciples. God has plans for us, even if they are revealed in less obvious ways. The reading from Corinthians is quite different in its message. Perhaps we can at least recognize that even if we never hear God’s audible voice, through scripture God still provides guidance for our lives.
• Read 1 Samuel 3:1-20. In what ways do you remain responsive to hearing God’s voice?
• Read Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18. What sense of God’s involvement in your everyday life do you have?
• Read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. How do you remind yourself of the spirit–body connection?
• Read John 1:43-51. When have you allowed prejudice to affect your decision about a person’s competency?
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