His pursuit sets us apart in love

August 13, 2016  |  Craig St. John

By David Conley

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.

Oh the love we witness in the first few versus of this chapter says it all. God’s love for us is unmatched by any. Could there be any doubt after reading this psalm? Sit for a moment and meditate on the wonderful words of a servant who has watched God’s hand move in his life from a youth. Now ask yourself is there any love greater than his towards us whom he is pleased with.

We continue on in the sermon series rightfully named “Psalms.” Hopefully, as we listen to each sermon, we are reminded that the creator of the universe has not left us on a rock spinning throughout the cosmos with no identity.

Pastor Riccardo continues the series with Psalm 139, and what a wonderful comforting Psalm it is. He opens up the true themes of this text with a bold statement “God knows us.” This, on the surface, can seem a little played out (which should never be the case) if we looked at it through the common Christian phrases spoken every day; but Ricardo makes it plain that this phrase is not exhausted by the common. God completely knows us; and that can be frightful if we don’t recognize the love in that phrase. Who really wants someone to know them fully? Every thought, every action would be under a microscope if humans had the ability to do such a thing. How scary would that be to have your thoughts known even to your family members who probably know you best (humanly speaking)? We would probably never leave the house for fear of being judged and rejected. Well, God knows all of those things and more; he actually knows our life actions in advance; yet still he loves us. Every fiber of our being is fully known to God and yet he has called us to himself. That’s beyond just accepting his children, there has to be a level of sacrifice, for a holy God to love us in spite of us.

That brings me to Riccardo’s second point; God actually “pursues us.” What exactly does that mean considering he created us and knows us? That means he actually desires for us to be in constant fellowship with him and does not stop his pursuit even when we do. That’s amazing to know that the Holy One of Israel wants to be in loving communion with us at all times and is actually the one who always wants fellowship with us. I don’t know about you, but that is mind-boggling to me; and yet, this is where we find comfort to continue on in our walk with him. We sin constantly, and God cleanses us, repairs our relationship with him, reminds us that we are his, and that he will have it no other way in spite of us. Let us sit still and ponder that for a bit. Have we known anyone to act in such a why and yet not turn to the one we pursue into an idol? Not likely, but God can and does.

Riccardo reminds us that he “sets us apart.” How does this sanctification affect us? Simple—it causes us to not only desire the things of God, but also to hate what is not of him. Listen to the psalmist David as he whole heartedly says, “They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?” Now, as followers of Christ, we obviously aren’t walking around telling people we hate them or want unbelievers to be destroyed right before our eyes—hopefully we are preaching the gospel and hoping they reach repentance. No, this speaks of a deeper conviction. As God sets us apart, Riccardo explains that we should want to see righteousness and justice throughout God’s creation. We have a new heart that desires holiness and hates evil, for it is a distortion of the holy. This new heart has sanctified us and called us to recognize evil and shun it.  King David wants evil to be exposed and removed, because he personally witnessed what sin and sinfulness will do to what God has declared “very good.” Our desire should be to see righteousness flow in our lives and in those around us.

I hope we daily go before the Lord and meditate on his true love, knowledge and pursuit of us in holiness!

Lord God, we are reminded of your total love and acceptance of us. This truth is not only humbling, but comforts us beyond measure. Help us to desire the things that are pleasing to you and walk in holiness today. Thanks you that you’re never fails. We bring all before you in Jesus’ name. Amen.