I shared this devotion at our pastoral staff meeting today, reflecting on the miracle of birth, and God’s presence and power.

Psalm 139 is a familiar psalm that speaks of God’s omnipresence, omniscience, and perhaps even omnipotence.

v.1-12 God’s presence (Spirit)

  • v.1 already searched, known

  • v.3 familiar with all my ways, intimately acquainted

  • v.5 hem me in, enclosed, siege, protection, shut in, keep out; wrap around, Lord’s hand laid upon me

  • v.6 response

v.13-18 God’s creation

  • v.14 fearfully, wonderfully made; I know that full well, my soul knows it very well

v.19-22 God’s vengeance, wrath, justice (holiness)

v.23-24 God’s sanctification (search, try, see, lead me)

  • hidden, cherished sin

Notes:

  • David, man after God’s heart

  • caesura (Latin cutting), between v.18, 19

  • God with me, God for me, God in me

This psalm is also recited during the Jewish week of Parshat Bereishit. Bereishit (בְּרֵאשִׁית — Hebrew for “in the beginning,” the first word in the parashah) is the first weekly Torah portion(פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading. The parashah consists ofGenesis 1:1–6:8. The parashah is made up of 7,235 Hebrew letters, 1,931 Hebrew words, and 146 verses, and can occupy about 241 lines in a Torah Scroll (סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, Sefer Torah).

Jews read it on the first Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in October or, rarely, in late September or early November. Jews also read the beginning part of the parashah,Genesis 1:1–2:3, as the second Torah reading for Simchat Torah, after reading the last parts of the Book of Deuteronomy, Parashah V’Zot HaBerachahDeuteronomy 33:1–34:12.

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