In this episode we take a brief look at God’s knowledge. According to Scripture, God’s knowledge is exhaustive. There is not anything our God doesn’t know. Positively, we would say our God knows all things. According to Isaiah, God knows the end from the beginning. His knowledge of creation is so deep and intimate that he knows the very number of hairs upon our heads. This is a true comfort to Christians. The God who knows us so well cares for us so deeply. Yet, for the unbeliever, this is a terror. Their sins will find them out and they will one day stand before Jesus Christ in the judgment. They will have to give account before the one who knows all things.
Psalm 139:1-6 O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
More on God’s Knowledge
The assertion of Psalm 139 is that God, having brought us under his omnipotent gaze, knows everything we do. In verse one, David speaks to the Lord and acknowledges that God has looked deep into his heart, and discovered the truth of all that is there. When the Psalmist moves from place to place, and even when he takes his seat or rises from it, God is not caught unaware. He knows everything we do.
There is a very good example of this in the New Testament. Was not the Lord most surely aware of every circumstance in the life of the apostle Paul when he sent an angel to tell his apostle that not one person’s life on board the ship would be lost? (Acts 27:21-25). How could God have his messenger say such a thing if he did not know all that would take place?
Did he not also know that Paul would do the responsible thing and tell the soldiers that if the sailors did not stay with the ship, they could not be saved? Surely, the Lord knew that the soldiers would make the right decision. The Lord was not waiting to find out what they would do. Though there are passages that indicate that the Lord tests us, and “awaits” our obedience, these are certainly anthropomorphic. There are far too many affirmations in Scripture that God knows all things, from the beginning, to think otherwise.
You perceive my thoughts from afar (Ps. 139:2b).
Does God know everything that we are thinking and can he “read our minds” without being present with us to observe our mood? Indeed the Lord can do such a thing, and that is part of David’s confession of faith. He knows everything we think. Does not this aspect of the knowledge of God undergird the teaching of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount? We cannot be content with a show of outward obedience to the law, because there is a God above who sees into the very heart of man. This is the view of the writer of Hebrews. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord (Ps. 139:4).
As I write, I do not know precisely what I will say in the next sentence or paragraph. In fact, thanks to word processing I will no doubt easily revise my words repeatedly, hopefully for the better each time. I do not know what I shall say, but the Lord knows each statement, each change, and the outcome, though I do not. This is the testimony of the Word of God. God knows everything that we will say before we say it.
For practical purposes, is this not the definition of the omniscience of God? He knows all things, past, present, and future, and therefore he knows all that we do (which includes the remembrance of all that we have done), all that we think (and the record of those thoughts), and all that we say.
~ Joe Nesom @ Founders.org