To be known by God (Psalm 139:1-6)

“Even before a word is on my tongue (or in my pen), O Lord, you know it completely.” (Ps. 139:4, NRSV, emphasis mine).

Anyone seeking a confident statement about belief in an omnipotent and immanent God need only reflect on this Psalm.

The spiritual writer Laura Mariko Cheifetz, writing in These Days, the Presbyterian devotional she edits in Decatur, Georgia, notes that being known is both disconcerting and comforting.

Cheifetz includes a prayer with her meditation:

Holy One, you know me better than I know myself. Thank you for loving me. Amen.


And, Holy One, thank you also for knowing me better than I know myself.

Many Christians learned as children in Sunday School the poem turned song called “Jesus Loves Me,” written in 1860 by the New York poet Anna Bartlett Warner. (A musical update was published in 1865 adding verses and the familiar “Yes, Jesus Loves Me” chorus.)

A few years ago during a Christian Formation discussion in my parish, I mentioned my memory of the song of my Sunday School days: “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.”

A woman in the group jotted down the verse the way it had been modified in her experience: “Jesus Knows Me, This I Love.” Her shared note revolutionized my reflection.

The writer of Psalm 139 seems as concerned and grateful for being known by God as for being loved by God.

Of course, knowing and loving are intimately linked.

Being known by God: Don’t you just love it?

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