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How Much Must a Mother Know?

Psalm 139:13-18.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on Mother’s Day May 14, 2018.

Today as we honor mothers, I want to look at a passage that is normally reserved for proving that God sees the fetus in the womb as a human life.  The reason I want to do this is because a fetus does not lose its value when it is born, neither does it lose its value when it is completely grown and dealing with the rigors of life.  Thus moms, and frankly all of us, need to be reminded, over and over again, that God has created us, that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and that He has given a great amount of thought to our particular life.

We can lose sight of this in life.  The Psalmist who pens this psalm is not a baby in the womb anymore.  Rather, it is David and he had encountered many obstacles and difficulties in his life.  He was a man who had a heart for God, but had also failed God at times.  In this Psalm he is remembering God’s constant care, all the way back when he had yet to enter the world.  This thought fills him with the knowledge that it is still so, and he mixes it with faith at the end of the psalm where he cries out in prayer to God, “Lead me in the way everlasting!”

Moms, God has created you.  He knows you, and He is always thinking of you.  Lean upon Him today and cry out with David, “Lord Jesus, lead me in the way everlasting!”  You may not feel like you know enough to do the tasks before you.  But you only need to know this one thing: how to lean upon the Lord.

God has created us

We are jumping into this psalm mid-way through it.  If you do look at the verses leading up to this section, you will recognize that David ponders the reality that God’s Spirit is everywhere we go and knows everything that we experience, both externally and internally.  It is somewhat scary to think that there is a being who knows everything about us and from whom we can hide nothing.  David lists different places as if searching for a place to get away from God.  Heaven, nope God is there.  The grave, nope God is there.  The uttermost parts of the sea- nope, but His hand will lead me and his right hand shall hold me.  Darkness falls on me, but with God the night shall be as the light.  In the end David points out that God’s constant and inescapable presence in our life is not something to be ran from.  Regardless of where we go in life and what we end up facing, God will be there to hold us, lead us, and dispel the darkness.  How can we trust this?  David does so by remembering the most vulnerable time of his life, when he was in the womb.

David realized and sings about the amazing truth that God has created us.  Sometimes we think about childbirth as simply a natural thing that does not involve God.  But here we are told that God is just as active in the birth of every child as He was at the creation of Adam and Eve.  Sure, it is different, but God is involved nonetheless.  In fact, Psalm 100:3 says, “Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.  We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”  Thus the womb is seen by David as a secret and hidden place of this earth, where God forms each individual.  It is tragic that modern society has turned this truth into a travesty.  Childbirth is a partnership between God and humans, and as such, we should respect His involvement in the process.

As David thinks upon the amazing creation of a human being that goes on in the womb due to the work of God, he describes it with two adverbs: fearfully and wonderfully.  Humans are fearfully and wonderfully made and that includes you.  The more we contemplate and inspect the design of God in our bodies the more we are amazed with a reverent awe.  It is scary in a good way how wise and powerful God’s design is.  However, it also fills us with wonder.  Unless you work in fields that focus on the human body it is easy to lose sight of such a wonderful and fearful truth.  You are not an accident of the universe.  You are not somehow more deficient than any other human being.  You were meant to be, and God was involved in your making as much as any other human.

This becomes even more important as we enter a new era of technology, where we are discovering the processes of conception and how to manipulate them.  Our technology is leading to a point where a human being can be brought into the world, not through parents that will love and care for them, but through lab technicians.  Such a process has a dehumanizing effect, as we become a commodity that is created on demand by people rather than something that was as God fully designed.  Of course technology cannot completely throw off the design of God (it must still deal with DNA, Germline Cells, and such).  Yet, conceptually even those concepts could one day be dethroned in humanity’s unslakable appetite to remake things.  Even in the midst of such chaos, I believe that God is still there.  He sees our formation and is involved in ways we may not completely understand.  Our value as humans is not based upon the people who brought us into the world, or their particular DNA makeup.  Rather, our value is based upon the God who is the most important being involved in our existence.  Our value is not based upon what we may think or do in this life, but rather upon the sure intention of God.  He has formed you and covered you in a wonderful and amazing fashion.  You exist because of Him, period.

God knows us

In verses 15-16, David recognizes that, even more than God’s involvement in our creation, He also intimately knew us during that time.  The processes and events of the womb have become less and less hidden through technology.  But the main point is well taken.  What is a mystery to humanity, including a mother, God knows full well.  What man could not see, God could see and was working out His will, even when we were still being formed.  Yet, it doesn’t end there.

David says that before even one day had passed in our development, God has already fashioned particular days for us and had them written in a book.  Now we can attempt to make this only about fetal development, but David is clearly implying more than this.  There is a parallel between the unformed fetus, which goes through a certain amount of days that God has fashioned for it until it is fully formed, and a child who is born into the world.  Such a child has a particular number of days fashioned for it by God.  When we have fulfilled those days then we will leave this world behind and enter the next.  The knowledge that God intimately knows our formation and life is intended to be an encouragement.

God knows what the future holds, whether we are an adult facing a crossroads or a newborn whose life has yet to unfold.  Yes, a child is fully human and is as valuable as a person in their prime.  Yet, their life is not fully revealed yet.  We do not know yet what sort of substance this child has within it.  Every trial, joy, difficulty, and pleasure is part of our formation until we have fully become what we are.  Of course there are differences.  A fetus cannot make choices of what will be formed in them.  But as humans we can.  You may not know what tomorrow holds, but God does.  Instead of anxiety and worry, embrace the peace that comes from this knowledge.

I want to come back to the idea that God has written down the days determined for us before they occur.  That might be a scary thought to some, but on the other hand, when you think about God’s heart, it is an amazing encouragement.  No matter what you face and no matter what people tell you is the right path, God knows your every day and is intimately aware of all that you face.  He has made a way through it for you.  The things you fear today, may build in you the courage you will be thankful for tomorrow.  Trust God’s loving hands.  He knows your name and your very being.

God thinks about you

In verses 17-18 we see the thoughts of God.  Knowledge is directly connected to thoughts and both point to God’s care for you.  He has not forgotten you, nor is He too busy to give thought to your life.  David recognizes this as a “precious” thing.  Of all of the treasures of David’s life, the knowledge that God had given thought to his whole life is of incalculable value.  Just as childbirth is a partnership between parents and God to bring a new human being into the world, so life is a partnership between us and God to unfold to the world just who that human being is.  Just as I think about my life (and often worry), so too God thinks about it.  How precious is that?

In speaking of God we know that the quality of His thoughts is great.  One thought from God is greater than a million thoughts of the wisest man on earth.  Yet, David points out that God’s thoughts towards us are of great quantity.  If it was possible to count the thoughts that God has thought about you, it would be a great sum, more than the sand on the seashore.  That is a lot of thought.  In fact, if God gave that much thought to our life, then perhaps we spend too much time trying to imperfectly recreate all His thoughts towards us.  I am not advocating that a person give no thought about their life.  But that we can temper those thoughts with the knowledge that God has already given thought to those things that we don’t understand.  This is intended to give us peace and the freedom to trust Him and His design.  Believers must cling to this great truth rather than to worry and despair.

The last line of verse 18 says that “When I awake, I am still with You.”  Though it is a short statement, it speaks to the faithfulness of God.  He is constantly faithful to us.  When we go to sleep, we are taking a break from life and all of its worries.  But when we wake up we find ourselves still with God.  He does not sleep or slumber.  He is constantly watching over us and with us.  He is always there.  Yes, we often feel all alone, even when we are not humanly alone.  But God is always right there with you, regardless of how you feel.  Take time to develop a relationship with the One who created you, who knows you, and has given great thought to your every day.  Thus moms, dads, kids, and friends, you only need to know one thing to do what you need to do, and that is this.  You can cast your cares upon Him because He is the One who cares for you.

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