This portion of Psalm 139 speaks of God’s relationship to human life in the womb, before birth occurs. In fact, the Psalm even argues that God’s Personal relationship to every human life exists before a person even possesses a physical body!
I. God decided to create you before you were conceived. 13-14
13 For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well.
A. It is GOD, and not us, who creates. 13
13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
This verse takes away the argument that it is solely an issue between a father and mother whether or not they will conceive a child—God claims a proprietary (ownership) right in the matter.
1. He formed our inward parts = our deepest, core identity. 13a
13 For You formed my inward parts; = kidneys = the deepest organs, most inaccessible. Ancient cultures/languages referred figuratively to the kidneys as the seat of the innermost core of one’s personality.
2. He wove us in the womb. 13b
You wove me in my mother’s womb. = covered, protection and concealment. = like the veils of the Temple and Tabernacle, intricately woven fabrics designed as the boundaries and borders of places where the Almighty God chose to dwell with His people.
B. God’s creation of life—all life—is a cause for grateful praise. 14
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
Application: There are no “unwanted” or “excess” people with God, so all can thank/praise God for life itself.
II. Before you existed God knew you. 15-16a
15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; 16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
A. God knew you before you were “know-able” 15a
15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, = Our physical structure, our bones, were always present and observed by God.
Illustration: Part of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade was based in the court’s admission that the greatest minds of science, medicine, and theology had been unable to reach a consensus on when human life began, and so the Court would not bother itself with that issue. But the Bible does tell us when life begins—it begins when God identifies it, names it, knows it—long before we can “see” it with our technology and scientific application.
B. God made your body as a dwelling place for Himself 15b
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; = woven (roqem) together in a skillful fashion, in the womb= Allusion to the roqem work of the tabernacle, the Psalm goes further, implying not only that God has made the infant in the womb, but also that the infant is being woven into a dwelling for God. What tragedy it is that some would claim the right to violate and destroy this marvelous place of divine dwelling!
C. God saw you before you were “see-able” 16a
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; = (go’lem = embryo, fetus) = unformed substance = David’s substance (material aspect) BEFORE it was formed, as in conception. This is how the verse has often been understood. But an embryo or a fetus (medical names given to the unborn person) does have a form, a recognizable structure! However, David states that God recognized us when we could not be seen, by the human eye, microscope, or any other instrument of measurement. This means nothing less than the astounding assertion, by David, that God recognizes, plans, and sees human life before the life exists in a physically recognizable form! As Pastor Ray Stedman said, “There is not a subatomic particle anywhere in the universe over which God is not absolutely sovereign.” Apparently, to God, human life begins BEFORE conception—although it is at that time that human life becomes merely recognizable to other humans. According to this text, life begins when God began life—when God said, “Let there be…”, “and there was…”!
Application: A God who took such care in creating you, from the yesterdays of eternity past, can be trusted to care for your life today.
III. Before you were conceived God determined each day of your life. 16b
And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
God has a plan and purpose for us, before we’re even born! Cf. the acknowledgement of purpose and identity of unborn children in the Bible: God knows and orders the events and course of human life before that life sees the light of day: There are a few places in the Bible where the lives of the unborn are mentioned.
Ishmael = Destiny foretold: Hagar conceived with Abraham, prophecy about the child in her womb (Gen. 16)
Jacob and Esau = Destiny foretold (Gen 25)
Samson = Destiny, Consecration to ministry “set apart to the Lord” from the womb, “will begin to deliver his people from the Philistines” (Judges 13:5-7,16:7)
Jeremiah = Consecration, “from the womb”: Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
John the Baptist = Consecration, response to Messiah. Leaping in the womb at the presence of the Lord Jesus (who was in Mary’s womb!) (Luke 1:39-44)
Paul = consecration: set apart “from the womb”: Galatians 1:15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased
Jesus = Consecration, from the womb (Isaiah 49:1 Listen to Me, O islands, And pay attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called Me from the womb; From the body of My mother He named Me.), 49:5 And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength), = “from the womb” = before birth God has a relationship with people. Purpose and role in life, from the womb: Isa 9 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. = The gender, political role, reputation, accomplishments, extent of power, source of power, etc., are all known and told regarding this Child, Jesus Christ.
What about us today, here at Grace Church? The God who knew you, loved you, and then created you—can be trusted with your life today.