When I was first saved, one of my favorite Psalms was Psalm 139. If you’re not familiar with this Psalm, then I invite you to read it here. I think the message of this Psalm is clear and is largely reflected in these two verses from Romans.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

As I said, I think Romans 8:38-39 is a good representation of Psalm 139 up to verse 19.

If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!

Psalm 139:19 (NIV)

Even without reading the previous 18 verses, this verse is an abrupt change from extolling the wonder of God we read of in verses 17 and 18.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:17-18 (NIV)

For years, I didn’t understand the transition here and might have even felt a bit ashamed to love such a Psalm that called upon God to kill people. Albeit, they are wicked people but this sentiment seemed out of character with the mercy of God. It did, however, seem to be far more in character with the heart of a person. Therefore, I shied away from verses 19-22:

If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

Psalm 139:19-22 (NIV)

Picking the Psalm back up again at the last two verses.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

Now, I’m not advocating that anyone should do this. There are passages in the Bible that are hard to read. Just as there are hard truths in the world. However, we shouldn’t turn away from them, burying our heads in the sand as if they were some repellant thing we didn’t want to think about.

Today, as I was reading this Psalm, I finally (after 16 years) stopped and sought understanding about verse 19 and this shift from an otherwise beautiful psalm into a condemnation of evil. I present to you a “new” thought on verse 19 (new for me).

This verse reflects the abrupt change that can occur in our thoughts. Although verse 19 might appear to surface without a transition, we actually can see that it’s might be a manifestation that comes from verse 17:

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!

Psalm 139:17 (NIV)

The Psalmist is thinking about God’s thoughts here in 17 and 18, so it might be a logical continuation of the stream of consciousness that can occur in our minds. However, if we consider verse 2, “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar” (NIV), we see that these thoughts in verses 19-22 might be the thoughts Psalmist is considering. Not those leading up to verse 19. When we get to verses 23 and 24, we see the anxious thoughts come from considering evil: and its place in the world, coupled with the earnest desire to be free from the evil that might lurk in the Psalmist’s heart so he might walk eternally upright with the Lord.

Whether the Psalmist followed a stream of consciousness in this Psalm or intended to reflect on the wicked from the beginning, I see this Psalm as an accurate reflection on how turning the focus of our thoughts away from God is not only distracting but harmful to our peace and well-being. As evident in these Scriptures:

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Now, when I think about Psalm 139, I not only see it as an amazing Psalm about God’s love but as an object lesson into how easily our thoughts can turn from thoughts of peace and love to the anxiety of self-reflection. Redeemed only through the correct and true perspective that can only come from God.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be free from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.