What are we to do with a God “before whom all hearts are open, all desires known"? An all-knowing God is immensely threatening, which is why we try to banish him from our minds. Arthur W. Pink, whom I quoted yesterday, notes that the thought of divine omniscience "fills us with uneasiness."

The theme of the first six verses is the omniscience of God, the proper term for the fact that God sees and knows everything. But omniscience is not expressed here as mere doctrine. It is confessed in wonder and adoration, as the other doctrines (omnipresence and omnipotence) will also be. We should remember that confession is one way in which we worship God.

Somewhere in J. I. Packer’s writings there is a reference to the Puritan theology as theology of that “older, better, wiser and more practical sort.” That applies to the Puritans, but it applies even more to the theology of Psalm 139. For here is theology that is even older, even better, even wiser and even more practical. It is theology of the very best sort.

In the last stanza of the psalm the writer comes back to his own needs. He knows that God is great, that he has compassion for the lowly and disdain for those who vainly exalt themselves (v. 6). He knows that God preserves his life, that he stretches out his hand in anger against his foes, that he saves him by the power of his strong right hand (v. 7). But still he walks “in the midst of trouble” and cannot survive unless God preserves his life and stands by him (v. 7). So he prays, “Do not abandon the works of your hands” (v. 8). 

Earlier in this study I wrote that the psalm is somewhat messianic due to the way it mentions the kings of the earth worshiping God in some future day. That must be the coming day of messianic blessing when the promised king will have come to rule from his throne forever. This is what verses 4 and 5 are describing. I pointed out before that because David is himself a king he is concerned for kings and looks forward to a day when all the rulers of the earth will bow before him who is King of kings and Lord of lords.