Stronghold 5: Psalm 139 (The Way Everlasting).
If you’re in need of a stronghold then Psalm 139 is the place to go. Never mind just the psalms, this is one of the most wonderful chapters in the whole Bible, 24 verses of pure gold. Here are truths about God to make you strong and hold you firm.
You are always on God’s mind. He knows you deeper than you know yourself (v. 1), He gives you His full attention (v. 2) and He watches over your coming and going (v. 3). He knows what you’re going to say but wants to hear it anyway (v. 4), and He knows what you want to say even when you don’t. He goes before you and comes behind (v. 5). This psalm is for all who are lonely or feeling isolated. God is always with you, and knows you better than any friend. It is for those for whom life just doesn’t make sense. When you don’t know what to pray or what to do, know that God is there and that He understands.
God’s Holy Spirit is everywhere and His presence is always with you (v. 7). There’s nowhere you can go that He is not (vv. 8-9). No matter how much travelling you do, God will keep you safe (v. 10). No matter how far you try running from Him, He’ll always be there for you. No matter how dark it gets, He will find you and bring light (v. 12). This psalm is for all who need guidance and reassurance – God will guide you wherever you go and hold you fast whatever you do (v. 10). This psalm is for all who are afraid or trying to hide – God will lovingly come to find you and comfort you with His presence.
You are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (v. 14) – God knew you and planned you from the beginning. You are wonderful in His sight and He has a purpose for your life. All the days of your life have been ‘ordained’ in advance (v. 16) and God’s thoughts about you are beyond count (vv. 17-18). This psalm is for all who are insecure or self-doubting. You are not an accident or a mistake. God wanted you alive and He wanted you just as you are. You have a purpose for living.
God is always with us. He made us and loves us. He guides us and guards us. He knows us deeply and goes wherever we go. When we understand this, when we connect with God like this, it brings courage. It instils in us a passion for Him and a hunger for righteousness. That’s what verses 19-22 are all about. David wants nothing to do with those who hate the God whom He has come to know and love so deeply, and neither should we. We shouldn’t listen to those who misuse God’s name, who deride His ways or try to trample His promises underfoot. It’s good to be zealous for God, and enemies are unavoidable, but what’s changed since verse 22 is Matthew 5:43-44 where Jesus tells us to love our enemies. Zeal should always be tempered by love.
So lay aside your anxious thoughts, and open your life up to God (v. 23). Stop resisting Him. Let Him show you the way forward. He will help you root out the bad things in your heart and life (v. 24), and give you the courage to step out in His ways. This psalm stems from the secret place (v. 15) and stretches into eternity (v. 24). God is everlasting, and He invites us into that everlasting. Come into this stronghold with all your loneliness, anxiety and timidity, and leave them there. By the time you’re finished with this psalm you’ll be changed. You can walk out again with confidence and conviction, ready to follow God in the way everlasting.