Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

January 20, 2002 / No. 3081

Dear Radio Friends,

David is resolved to praise God for the wonder of his birth. Psalm 139:14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” He was resolved to praise God for an even greater wonder of spiritual birth: “Marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” David had been given spiritual understanding of God’s marvelous work: God’s marvelous work in the creation of a life in the mother’s womb, and God’s marvelous work in giving a man faith in his heart.

May we also today be resolved to praise God for the gift of physical life and to confess that this is a work of God. May we also be given grace to praise God for that spiritual work of God in our hearts.

It is very obvious, when we read Psalm 139 that the inspired David is speaking of the omniscience (that is, the all-knowledge) and the omnipresence of God (that God is everywhere present), and that David, as he considers these two truths, is overcome and staggered in his contemplation. He says, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high, I cannot attain unto it.” He says to us that God’s omniscience and omnipresence are together. God does not know from a distance, from a spyglass. He knows as the one who is present. Even in death, says David, Thou art there. God, who knows all in His eternal counsel, is present with me to work out that counsel. Even there shall Thy hand lead me and Thy right hand shall hold me.

Then he begins to think of that which is hardest for us to know: darkness. He begins to say that maybe the darkness will hide me. But immediately he knows that that cannot be. The darkness, he says, is like unto the light to Thee. Then he speaks of the darkness of his mother’s womb. His thoughts go to the very beginning, when he was created of God in secret, at the moment of conception, when the hand of God formed him. He says, “Lo, Thou art there.” There can be no mistake about it. The Bible is abundantly clear. Conception, embryo, the joining of egg and sperm – this is God’s work, God’s work of the creation of a child, of a person – God’s marvelous work for which we are to stand in awe and wonder.

God’s marvelous work, which so awed David, is exactly the marvel of birth and conception. He says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works.” And David piles up words to express the infinite wonder of God in conception and pregnancy and birth. The terms: “marvelous” – that is, done with such skill and wisdom that it produces amazement. “Fearfully made” – that is, in such a way as to produce awe in a heart. “Wonderfully made” – that is, in an overwhelming manner to produce oh-h-hs and ah-h-hs on the part of us.

What takes place, then, in conception and pregnancy and birth is not chance. It is not Mother Nature. Nor is it simply a man and woman’s fertility. It is not simply the physical process of the combining of cells – meiosis. But it is the marvelous work of the hand of God. Ecclesiastes 11:5, “Thou knowest not … how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.” God uses husband and wife. He uses you to bring into life another soul. God, at the moment of conception, makes a living soul in the womb. That means that sex is not a plaything outside of marriage. God uses husband and wife. And God says to the mother, “Your body is not yours. It is not about your rights with your body. But your body is my servant. And I will use it; I will change it. I will change your body to make way for another life. This is My work.” It is all of God.

What God makes is not a mistake. Marvelous are Thy works. At the moment of conception and through development in pregnancy and birth, God forms us – our height, our bone structure, whether we are going to be heavy or petite, our face, the color of our eyes and hair. You look in the mirror and say, “I don’t like my nose.” Well, God made that. God forms what we call healthy, normal children. But David makes no exceptions. He does not say, “Well, some children, we should put an asterisk here, it’s not so wonderful.” David says, “Marvellous are thy works,” the works of conception and birth, Downs syndrome, the extra twenty-first chromosome, birth defects. Now we know that defects can be diagnosed even before birth, within the womb. And many would counsel immediately, Abortion! No! A believer knows, and that is part of getting married, there is no exception to this Word of God, “Fearfully and wonderfully made … and that my soul knoweth right well.” God delights in bestowing abundant honor on what we call unseemly. It is a marvelous work.

That means that we must see God’s detailed care in the womb of her that is with child. All of God’s works are done in detailed care. The little things reflect the infinite power and the wisdom of God. Jesus said, “Not a hair falls from our head apart from our Father’s will.” The Bible tells us that our breath right now, and the beat of our heart, and the breakdown of our breakfast or dinner into energy – this is all of God. God does this. It does not just happen. God does it. Verse 3 of Psalm 139, “Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.”

God’s work in physical life begins nine months before birth, taking part of the husband and wife, and forming that first little cell (embryo), a size that can hardly be seen. At four weeks, we are told, it is the size of a grain of rice. And it grows. David says, “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect (that is, uncompleted); and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”

God’s work in physical life
begins nine months before birth….
God did this in secret. I did not see it. You, as a parent, did not see it. But God, each moment, performs His work upon the life that He has made in the womb; each day, when hundreds of thousands of new cells are made. Today we can be told of all of the stages, weeks and days, of pregnancy. We can be given the explanation of how the baby grows and develops. But, not really. Man can see what happens. But how does it happen? God does that. He does that in secret.

When a great artist paints, he wants light to see what he is doing. But God? No, in the darkness – because He sees, holds, fashions, and brings everything to pass. It is all known to God. For instance, the ear, the eye. The Bible says, “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? And he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” God makes the ear and the eye. Maybe you like to listen to music. You know a little about pitch, tone, and middle C. Did you know that when the inner ear (those three bones, the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup) vibrates two hundred fifty-six times per second, that is middle C? Your eye. In your eye are one hundred seven million cells, some called cones, each one loaded to fire off messages to the brain when light strikes it, able to distinguish one thousand shades of color. Your bones. Two hundred and six bones which have the strength of cast iron, made soft and pliable in a baby, hardened. Cells. Red and white blood cells, immune cells which can produce antibody cells – two thousand in one second to fight off infection.

God’s work is marvelous! It did not just happen. God’s work is past finding out. You can walk around sometimes for days and say, “Lord, show me a token of Thy power. Lord, I’m not happy with my looks. Lord, do you care for me?” Listen: I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Thy works. In a marvelous way God makes us mentally, physically, psychologically in such a way that surpasses all of our comprehension. Mankind battles about the speed of a computer, the down-load time, and the baud rate. All man can do is dabble a little in the things of God. But God? In Him we live and move and have our being. God calls us by our name. God directs the functionings of our body: our size, our shape, our skill. All of it is in the hand of God. God makes us entirely.

You hold your first child in your arms. That is a moment you will never forget. Maybe the wife counts all of the little fingers and looks at that baby. What a wonder of God! I remember once I was called to a hospital early in the morning. A premature child, six months old, had been born dead. The mother would not let go of her little child. Your child is made of God. And the growth of the child and all that is involved in the child is of God. After birth, as you grow and become a young person and you become a man or a woman – that is all of God – all the work of God, which is marvelous.

All man can do is dabble a little in the things of God.
The Bible tells us that this is but a dim picture of the greater marvel when He makes us spiritually alive. David says, “My soul knoweth [this] right well.” That is, he had been given a spiritual understanding. The matter of human life, being human life in the womb from its very beginning in conception, is not a matter that you come to understand merely by science. Nothing in science will tell you anything other than the fact that that is a human person. But the point is, you do not come to the understanding of that in your heart by mere science. You come to the understanding of that when God gives you to understand reality.

You see, faith is not merely grasping hold of uncertainties. But faith is to know truth and reality. God must give us understanding. And God must give us understanding of His works. You can look at the works of God in creation – the wonders of it – all of the creation and all of its marvels; and then that wonderful work of God in conception and birth. Unless God opens your heart, you cannot see it. You are like a blind person, a fool, says the Bible. God must create in us a spiritual understanding.

And that is His work, too. God does that out of mere grace. He does that when He takes His people out of the dunghill of sin, washes us in the blood of Christ, gives us the Spirit of Christ into our hearts. All of grace! And this work, also, is beyond comprehension. It is marvelous that God creates us spiritually.

It is out of that spiritual understanding that we marvel at physical life and that we praise God and confess without shame that the life in the womb of her that is pregnant is human life. It is a person. It is something that God has given. We declare, therefore, on the basis of God’s Word, that to take that life for selfish reasons, simply out of the nonsensical notion that a woman has a right over her body, is murder. Abortion is murder. It is murder because God says so. God creates life in the womb of a mother. That is the work of God.

Unless God opens your heart, you cannot see it.
Faith gives you to understand that. By faith we say, I believe and therefore I speak. Faith is not mute. Faith is not silent. But faith speaks. Faith speaks of what faith knows. Faith knows that our life is the work of God. We know that. The miracle of the formation of a child is God’s work. Man cannot make life. God does that. And God does that in a great marvel.

I was saying a moment ago that men boast today of their technology and of their computers. But think of the human brain. And think of how it works. Can you do that? God did it. That is the work of God. God did all of these things. And therefore we will praise Him from the bottom of our heart and we will receive our life as God gives it. God knows. He makes no mistakes. And we will receive our children as God gives them. He gives them to us. We will not be silent about this. This is a gift of God. We praise God for these things. Therefore, also today, when we look upon ourselves we confess that God has made us what we are. Maybe you do not like the way you look. Every woman, maybe, does not like something about her looks. But what are you looking at? Are you looking at God’s handiwork? Do you see it in the light of God’s work? And, above this, do you see yourself as redeemed in Jesus Christ, knowing that God will therefore raise you up and fill you with all the glory of God?

When we think of these things, then sings our soul: “My God, how great Thou art! I will praise Thee.” Let us praise God.

And if that is not reason enough for praise, namely, the consideration of all the wonder of God in physical birth and life, then think of how God forms the church. Think of the fact that God takes us out of the ashes of sin, that He creates us in Jesus Christ as a new people. He gives us to love God and to love His Word. Then He takes all of the people of God and He puts them all together into one body to be His temple, to be the body of Jesus Christ, to glorify and to praise Him forever. Think of that! Then, surely, we must say, “I will praise Thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Do you know the Word of God concerning life, physical life? God says, “The life in the womb is what God created.” At conception the life in her that is with child is a person possessing a soul. It is a life that only God who gave it may take. And we praise God in Jesus Christ for this wonder. Without shame we take our confession with David: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Let us pray.

Father, write Thy Word upon our hearts today and give us to see the marvel of Thy work also in our own life, our own physical bodies, whether that body is healthy or plagued with ailments. Give us to trust and hope in Thee and to see the marvel of Thy work and to praise Thee, world without end. In Jesus’ name, Amen.