The vulnerability that comes with nakedness is accompanied by the fear of rejection. If they really knew who I am deep down at the core, would they still accept me? If they knew that I do not always feel like I belong, would they still receive me? If they knew everything I’ve done, they certainly would not welcome me into their company. To stand before someone else, completely naked, with every flaw, every blemish exposed, and not only be accepted by them but admired and adored, is the height of intimacy. This is the yearning of every heart. This yearning only God can fill.
Only God can fill this yearning, because only He can know us fully. Seven times in Psalm 139 the verbal root yada’ (to know) is repeated (vv. 1, 2, 4, 6 [the verbal root of da’ath (knowledge) is yada’], 14, 23a, and 23b) as the psalmist both acknowledges God’s vast and intimate knowledge of him and desires to be known of God. The broad usage of the word yada’ in the Hebrew Bible includes an experiential knowledge that denotes a relationship rather than mere factual disclosure. The Lord is presented as acquiring this knowledge through close investigation rather than by abstract omniscience. However, His omni-attributes give Him supernatural access to our minds (vv. 2–4), our actions (vv. 7–10), and our physiological makeup (vv. 13–16). “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (v. 6).
Only God can fill our yearning because only His divine love could love the unlovable. The psalmist acknowledges that he has anxieties and wickedness, and yet he still desires the Lord to search him (vv. 23, 24). Further, in the context of God’s incredible knowledge of him, the psalmist realizes that no matter where he goes, “Even there [His] hand shall lead [him], And [His] right hand shall hold [him]” (v. 10). “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works” (v. 14, NKJV), he continues. “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You” (vv. 17, 18, NKVJ). Evidently what the Lord knows about us does not deter Him from pursuing a relationship with us.
Psalm 139 presents the comprehensiveness of God’s knowledge of us and His love for us in light of that knowledge.
Verses 1–6: The depth of His knowledge—it is thorough
Verses 7–12: The breadth of His knowledge—it is inescapable
Verses 13–18: The duration of His knowledge—it begins before our conception
It is the Christian’s privilege not only to receive the all-encompassing love of God but also to become a conduit of this love to others. Inasmuch as it is the most intimate of all human relationships, marriage affords the greatest opportunity to invest in coming to know another, and to love them as typified in the sexual act. In fact, the term yada’ is used in the Hebrew Bible to refer to the sexual act (cf. Gen. 4:1). Beyond the marital unit, though, we may also learn from Christ how to create a safe environment that fosters true fellowship, where each person feels ever increasingly known, loved, and accepted, even as they are transformed by their experience with Jesus and His people.