Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen discovered the X-ray in 1895, and the first X-ray image he created was of his wife’s hand on a photographic plate. His wife was startled by the image, and is quoted as saying, “I have seen my death.” Roentgen’s discovery captivated the world and transformed diagnosis and treatment in medicine. He was awarded the first Nobel Prize for physics in 1901.
Certainly doctors have the ability to know us in an intimate way, to look beneath our clothing and our skin to see what is happening to our hearts, lungs, and internal organs. But this passage declares that God, who designed us, knows us better than anyone else. He is not only acquainted with our physical being, He knows our actions (v. 3) and even the words we will speak (v. 4). Each step we take is known by God. There is nowhere we can go that will be out of His reach.
The psalmist, King David, declares that God not only knows us as individuals, He lays his hand upon us and “hems” us in from behind and before (v. 5). The word hem means to guard or to border us. So, not only does God go before us as we move through life, He is also behind us, no matter where our path might lead.
For David, realizing God’s omniscience and omnipresence meant knowing the actions He did would be seen by God. There was no hiding from the Almighty who chose David for who He was on the inside and then loved Him despite His failures.
It is impossible for us to hide from God. Just as Adam and Eve discovered in the Garden of Eden when they tried to escape God’s notice, God sees us completely (v. 7). We are exposed, naked before Him. Nothing we think, do, or say is hidden from God.
Apply the Word
Take time to dwell on this amazing idea, and then read this psalm as part of your prayers to God today. The Lord knows what is in your mind and heart: the good, the bad, and the ugly. God knows what we need to confess to Him even before we say it. Therefore we can bring Him our praise, our confession, and our requests.