Jehovah the All-knowing God: (3) His Eternal Knowledge of His People

July 6, 2003 / No. 3157

Dear Radio Friends,

      We have seen so far in examining Psalm 139 that David is praising God for being the all-knowing God.  That was the attribute of God’s omniscience — that Jehovah knows all things.  How can it be that He knows all things?  Because He is God.  He is not bound by time, He is not bound by space.  And David gives that as a reason in verses 7-12 when he speaks of Jehovah’s omnipresence — that Jehovah is present everywhere.

      Having spoken, then, of the doctrine of God’s omniscience and of His omnipresence, David now speaks of God’s omnipotence — that Jehovah is all-powerful and able to do whatever He wants.

      But again, David makes this confession of the omnipotence of God from a very personal viewpoint and from an angle that we often forget about — the wonder of God giving conception in the womb.  David does not speak of Jehovah’s omnipotence from something that we can clearly see — from the viewpoint of a storm in nature, a tornado or a hailstorm.  David does not speak of it from the viewpoint of Jehovah’s governing of all of history in outward ways.  David speaks of the omnipotence of Jehovah from the viewpoint of a hidden work of God — the wonder of giving conception in the womb.

      Man might think that he is able to control the conception of a child.  He can prevent it, if he wants.  And he can use medical means to cause it, if he wants.  But man is really wrong in thinking that.  Jehovah alone gives conception.

      So David comes now to the doctrine of God’s omnipotence — His all-powerfulness — in order to demonstrate that Jehovah is the all-knowing God.  There in the womb where man cannot see and where man does not know exactly what is happening, Jehovah is working, and He knows what He is doing.

      Of this David speaks, then, in Psalm 139:13-16.   Please read these verses.

      It is the omnipotence of God that David speaks of.  The omnipotence of God is God’s ability to do whatever He pleases.  I added that phrase “whatever he pleases” intentionally.  There are some who say, “If God is able to do everything, can He lie?”  The answer is, “Of course not!  God is a holy God.”  There are some who ask, “If God can do whatever He pleases, can He make something black and white at the same time?”  The answer is:  “Absolutely not.”  Not because God is limited in His power, but because He does not please to do such.  But what God is pleased to do, He can do.

      The psalmist teaches us this in Psalm 115:3, “But our God,” he says, referring to Jehovah the God of Israel as opposed to any other idol God, “is in the heavens:  he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”  And the apostle Paul, by inspiration, teaches the church of Ephesus that God is able to do exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20).

      The child of God makes this confession:  “Our God Jehovah is omnipotent.”  Making that confession, we weep when we hear some deny the power of God.  To deny that the miracles recorded in Scripture were done by God in a wonderful way but were instead natural events that can be explained scientifically; to speak of God being able, perhaps, to create the world out of nothing but not actually creating the world that way, rather enabling the world to evolve; to speak of God being able if He wanted, perhaps, to save every man or to save His people irresistibly but not actually doing so because He wants man to have a role and a say in his salvation — none of that is true.  It denies the omnipotence of Jehovah.  God is sovereign and all-powerful.  He has determined what He wants to accomplish and He will accomplish it by Himself.  That is the doctrine of God’s omnipotence.

      In His creation of the world; in the miracles that He performed; in the chief of miracles — sending Jesus Christ His only begotten Son into our flesh by the virgin birth; in the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ; and also in the miracle of the working of the Holy Spirit in your heart and mine renewing and regenerating us — in all these, Jehovah God is all-powerful and sovereign.  The prophet Isaiah says to the people of God in chapter 59:1, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save.”

      As David contemplates this unlimited power of God he does so from the viewpoint of the forming of a child in the womb of a mother.  We know something about that wonderful work.  We know that an egg is fertilized.  When fertilized, it grows and divides into several cells, which redivide so that eventually, out of one fertilized cell, organs develop — brain, heart, lungs; limbs develop — arms and legs; bones, tendons, muscles, and skin develop, until, at the day of the birth of the child, one cell has become millions.  And they are often perfectly formed into the shape of a child.

      Did David really know how a child develops?  By inspiration and revelation of God, he knew something of it.  He speaks of it in our text.  “Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb,” he says in verse 13.  He is speaking of the skin and the flesh that has covered his internal organs.  He has spoken of those inward organs also in verse 13:  “For thou hast possessed my reins.”  The “reins” are the kidneys.  He uses the term in this text to refer to all the internal organs of his body.  He knows what his body is made of.

      But is it true that David knows only of what his body is made from the viewpoint of that body as it has been born?  Does he know what Jehovah did in the womb?  David speaks also of that.  In verse 16 he says, “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect.”  His substance — he is speaking of the early, unformed mass of cells that are the beginning of the development of a child.  That word substance in verse 16 is a different word from the word substance in verse 15, which refers to the bone structure of the person.  David speaks as though he knows something of the anatomy of a human and something also of the development of a human being.  Thinking on all of that, he says:  “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

      Why should praise be given to Jehovah for this development of a child?  The answer is, because Jehovah is the One who causes that development.  David says that.  “Marvellous are thy works; … thou hast possessed my reins:  thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb… thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect.”  There is no thought in David’s head about man being able to give conception or development.  The praise goes to God.

      That Jehovah is omnipotent in the creating and developing of a new life in the womb of a mother proves that Jehovah knows His people from all eternity.  For what is true generally of the development of every human being is true specifically now of the development of the child of God.  God knows His people in Christ, not just at the moment of their conception, but before.  He knew us from all eternity in His counsel.  David indicates that in verse 16, “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”  Even before we were conceived, God knew us.  We were in His book.  That book is the book of the decree of God.  Included in that decree, first of all, is everything that happens in time and history.  We call that the decree of God’s providence.  So the time of the conception of His people, the time of the birth of the people of God, the purpose of the birth of the people of God — all is decreed by God.  This is part of His eternal knowledge of His people.

God knows His people in Christ,
not just at the moment of their conception,
but before.

      But that knowledge of God of His people from all eternity is not only a knowledge of the bare facts — when we would be born, when we die, and what purpose we would serve in this earthly life — but it is also a knowledge of us in love for us in Christ.  For that book of which David speaks, the decree of God, is not merely the decree of God’s providence, His having determined everything that happens in time and history, but also the decree of His predestination, His having determined who would be born and who would be saved and who would be not saved.  Yes, although David does not speak of it in this text, he does later in the psalm indicate that there are some who will not be saved.  He speaks in verse 19, “Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God.”  Not every man will be saved.  And Jehovah knew this from all eternity.

      So David speaks of the place that the children of God have in the body of Christ.  As David speaks of the wonder of the development of the child of God in the womb of his mother, we can say that he thinks also of another body — a body of which our earthly body is a picture — the body of Jesus Christ and the development of that body.  As much as God knew each member of our body from all eternity, how much more does He know each member of the body of Jesus Christ from all eternity.  Which members were needed to make that body complete, when should those members be born, how should they develop, what about their earthly conception and development was necessary in order to serve their place in the body of Christ — God knows all this from all eternity.

      Dear radio listeners, Jehovah is an all-knowing God!

      What effect does the knowledge of Jehovah being all-knowing have on you and on me?  On David it had this effect:  he sang the praises of God.  “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Let us praise Him also.  Whenever we think of any of the works of God in time and history, they must lead us to praise Him.  So also when we think of the work of the development of a child.  When we think of the wonder of the human body, think of this:  the human body is made up of many different systems — the nervous system, the endocrine system, cardio-vascular, respiratory, muscular/skeletal, reproductive, digestive, and immune systems.  Yet all of these different systems work together for the good of one body.  In each different system there are many organs working — the heart or the lungs, the stomach and the intestines.  Yet, though many different organs, each contributes a necessary part to the well-being of the whole body.  Each organ contains cells — not just a few cells or a million cells — but trillions of cells.  Yet each cell is important to the right functioning of the body.  Each cell contains DNA — strands of DNA — containing enough information that could fill fifteen hundred pages in a human book.  Yet, down to the minutest details Jehovah has determined the development and the makeup of the human body.  Of course we will praise Him!  “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Whenever we think of any of the works of God
in time and history,
they must lead us to praise Him.

      Once again, the creation of the church induces the believers and children of God to praise God.  God, from all eternity, having determined who would be saved in Jesus Christ has determined that they would be saved into a body.  One person plays this role in the body, another plays that.  One has strong faith, another has knowledge, another has wisdom.  We cannot see so easily right now how that will be true of the church of Jesus Christ.  We can begin to see it in the individual congregations of believers as they love each other and work for each other’s good.  But in heaven we will see that perfectly God, from all eternity, has determined the body of Christ and brought it to its realization.

      And this is a reason to praise God!

      Because God is sovereign, because God is all-knowing, because God is all-powerful, we must say also that God is worthy of our praise because in doing all that He does He makes no mistakes.  Sometimes we might think, as we contemplate the development of the human body, that He does make mistakes.  Not every child is born perfectly formed.  Some children are born with birth defects that cause them to die relatively soon or which afflict them for their entire life.  Has God made a mistake?  Can Jehovah God ever make a mistake?  Jehovah, the all-knowing God, the One who accomplishes all that He purposes to do in Jesus Christ — is it even conceivable or possible that He should make a mistake?  Not Jehovah God.  He is wise, and His works are best.

      We will see that again in heaven when we see the body of Jesus Christ perfectly realized.  God has made no mistakes in the realizing of that body.  Every member there in heaven will serve God exactly as He has determined.  And for that reason, sometimes born to believing parents are children not completely formed, humanly speaking.  Did God make a mistake?  No!  Jehovah, who fearfully and wonderfully makes all His people in such a way that they give Him praise, knows also how to make special children to the glory of His name and for the realizing of His church.

      Do not speak against this work of Jehovah.  Do not speak against His power.  Rather, dear radio listeners, praise Him for it.  “Marvellous are thy works.”  David sings of this.  The works of God in creation induce us to praise Him because they show us that there is none greater and none wiser than Jehovah God.

Jehovah knows also how to make special children
to the glory of His name
and for the realizing of His church.

      Having contemplated now both the development of the body of Jesus Christ and the development of a human body, we can give God the praise for every child of God that He makes.  But even more, the child of God can say with absolute confidence:  “Thou God knowest me better than I know myself.”  And a child of God who is not content with himself or with some aspect of his life can say with absolute confidence, “This is the will of God in this circumstance of life or with this defect of human body.  I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”   Amen.