A New Look at Psalm 139

When I am feeling insecure or afraid, one of my “go to” passages I turn to is Psalm 139. In this beloved Psalm, I am reminded that:

God knows everything about me – 1 You have searched me and you know me.
God is always with me – 7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
God made me as he planned – 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers’ womb….I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

When I meditate on these truths, I find great comfort and can sense God smiling on me.

This morning though as I was re-reading this Psalm something struck me in the closing words…

19 “If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty. 20 They speak of you with evil intent……21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord… 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.”

I can honestly say that when I have thought of Psalm 139 in the past, these thoughts have never crossed my mind…. until this morning.

I love the fact that David could be so honest with God. It’s what made him a man after God’s own heart. He was free to express the gamut of his emotions. When David looked around at his world, he had good reason to be ticked because of the corruption, lies, deceit and rebellion against the God he loved.

We do as well. I bet you have recently struggled with some anger and frustration because of the constant lies and hatred in our world. If you haven’t, just turn on the news for a minute.

This morning when I came to the closing words of Psalm 139, I heard God say to me:

“Jon, you have permission to get angry. There are many things that make me angry too; namely all the things that hurt and mislead my people for whom I died.”

As Christians, we may not feel we have permission to feel or display anger. We do! However, we are also given this warning - “Be angry, and yet do not sin.” Ephesians 4:26 NASB

There is a thing called ‘righteous indignation’. And then there is simply ‘indignation’.
I was also reminded that…

Ephesians 6:12 - Our [real] struggle is not against flesh and blood [people], but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

So the next time you feel ‘righteous anger’ boiling to the surface, first remember to give yourself permission to be angry. But then remember to direct your anger appropriately, against the real enemies of your soul.

- Pastor Jon Black