Faith column: God knew you’d read this article

"Your desire to know God ought to grow exponentially, like it did for David."

Rev. Chad Werkhoven
Chad Werkhoven

You’re being watched, monitored and tracked nearly every moment of every day. When you walk or drive through your neighborhood, multiple doorbell cameras document your trip, and what they miss is likely picked up on the dashcam of a passing car and charted by your cell phone carrier.

The local store captures your likeness from multiple angles as you park, wander the aisles and then checkout using a stubbornly uncooperative robot that also keeps a record of your purchases via your club card.

Google Earth likely has a better read on how the grass in your backyard is doing than what you do. In fact, I just saw an ad from a fertilizer company that offered to evaluate my lawn based on satellite imagery.

Several months ago on a road trip, letters showing images of my car exceeding the speed limit in Des Moines and zooming under the tollway entrance in Chicago were waiting in my mailbox when I got home (I’m pretty sure somebody else was driving in those instances…)

On one hand, all of this monitoring offers massive improvements in security and convenience. You were willing to give up some privacy in trade for an occasional fifty cent per gallon discount at the grocery store’s gas pump. Being watched from above is the price we pay for the conveniences we have in a super connected world.


But most people don’t like being spied on and never will. Big Brother will never win an election, even if he does know how each individual would likely vote before they step into the voting booth.

This same tension is present in Psalm 139, one of the famous poems written 3,000 years ago by King David. He realizes that God knows when we sit down and when we get up. Nothing that has happened or will happen escapes God’s attention or comes as a surprise to Him, since He’s “familiar with all of our ways.”

Unsurprisingly, most people don’t like this aspect of God. Even in our hyper vigilant world, you can still find a dark corner where nobody will see what you’re doing, but good luck ducking out of view from God! “Surely the darkness will hide me,” begins David, before quickly concluding that “the darkness is not dark” to the one who spoke light into being.

The idea that God “perceives thoughts” and knows what people will say “before the word is on their tongue” ought to be terrifying. It was to David at least. God’s endless oversight results in a feeling of being “hemmed in” and unable to “flee from God’s presence” for David.

But God’s omnipresent gaze is there for your comfort, and Psalm 139 helps you understand this. It promises you that God’s “hand will guide you, and his right hand will hold you fast.” God watches over you because of how He created you, having “fearfully and wonderfully” “knit you together in your mother’s womb.” What a privilege to know that all of your days have been “ordained…, written in God’s book before one of them came to be!”

So although God’s oversight will remain somewhat unsettling while we live in this sinful world, the more you know God, and the more you consider His thoughts “precious,” the more comfort and confidence you will experience being assured that no matter what, you will always “still be with God.”

A growing knowledge of God shifts your attitude. Rather than being angry at the idea of God watching your every move and knowing your every thought, your thoughts become more and more like His. You begin to love what God loves and hate what He hates, so much so that David cries out that “he hates all who hate you, Lord, and abhor all those in rebellion against you!” It takes a lifetime of wisdom, insight and practice to hate the enemies of God in a loving way as Jesus commands!

Your desire to know God ought to grow exponentially, like it did for David. He concludes this psalm by invoking God to search him even more and to know his heart, and to know his anxious thoughts.


It’s hard to know the path forward when you’re hiding in the dark from God, but God sees in the dark where you can’t. Pray along with David that God will see the offensive ways in you and lead you in the way everlasting.

Rev. Chad Werkhoven pastors Worthington Christian Reformed Church. Today they’re reading Psalm 139 in their daily Bible reading plan. Read or listen along at

What To Read Next
Get Local