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Designed By God

July 01, 2016

God fashioned you in the womb, and continues to be concerned with every aspect of your life.

FROM A SERMON BY Darrel Lee

M

ost of us probably do not look in the mirror in the morning and say, “Lord, You did an amazing job here.” However, He did do an amazing job. He made you! God’s involvement with you did not begin at your birth, but at the moment when you were conceived. On the basis of God’s very personal involvement, the Psalmist stated in Psalm 139, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (verse 14).

The Psalmist David expressed a number of reasons to praise the Lord, beginning with the fact that God is omniscient—He is all-knowing.

The theme of Psalm 139 is praise to God. In it, the Psalmist David expressed a number of reasons to praise the Lord, beginning with the fact that God is omniscient—He is all-knowing. “Thou hast searched me, and known me,” the writer stated. He went on to give specifics: God is aware when we get up and when we lie down. He knows the path we will take before we choose it. God is all-knowing, but we are not, and David acknowledged that. He declared in verse 6, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”

In verse 7, David indicated that God is not only omniscient, but He is omnipresent—everywhere at the same time, all the time. He asked the question: “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” pointing out in subsequent verses that there is no escaping God. On land, on the sea, in the air, in life or in death, wherever one could possibly be or go, God is already there. That too gave the Psalmist cause for glorifying his Creator.

God's intimate knowledge of us

Something David found to be another reason for praise is God’s intimate knowledge and care for him, saying, “Thou has possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:13-14). The word covered in the phrase “thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb” could be translated woven, which suggests that we were knit together by God. Knitting takes skill and attention; it is an intricate process. That gives us an idea of the careful interest and time God invested in making us. He not only watched over our development, but He was our Designer and Creator!

God noticed your beginning, and He was aware as you began to grow. The Psalmist went on, “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (verses 15-16). Think of the fashioning and the forming that took place while you were still in your mother’s womb. During that period of early growth, David says, “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect.” You were not fully developed, but before you had fingers and toes, God was there, and He fashioned them as He developed you. I believe the Psalmist gave all these details to indicate just how much God is invested in each one of us.

God is 100% vested

Years ago I did some book work for employers who had an employee pension plan. In order for an employee to become “vested” in the plan, he had to be an employee of the company for a certain number of years. In his first year of employment, funds were set aside for his retirement. However, if the employee left the company during that first year, those funds would be distributed to other members of the plan. The same applied over the next three years as well. At the end of year five, the employee became fifty percent vested, and then gained an additional ten percent per year for the next five years. Finally, at the end of ten years, the employee was one hundred percent vested. If he quit after those ten years, he received the full amount of the retirement funds set aside for him. In contrast, vesting is immediate with God. He has been one hundred percent vested in you since you were conceived in your mother’s womb.

Think of the excitement in the mind of God when your mother was expecting you. He is excited about you! God formed Adam from the dust of the earth. He made Eve from the rib of Adam. He fashioned you in the womb of your mother. And in each case I like to think He was thrilled and excited about what He was doing.

We can identify with the excitement about a coming baby. Some months ago, my wife and I learned that our son and daughter-in-law were expecting their fourth child. When they were expecting their third, we went to Medford to visit them and observed that their second child, our granddaughter Margeaux, had a shirt on that said “Big Sister.” Debbie saw that shirt and knew right away that number three was coming. I didn’t notice the shirt; I just noticed my granddaughter. So when we headed down for another visit this past September, I told Debbie, “The first thing I am going to do is find Moses (their youngest) and see what shirt he is wearing.” Sure enough, when we went into the house and found Moses, his shirt said “Big Brother.” We were so excited!

Your life story in God's book

The way He made you was not an accident or a mistake—He had it all sketched out in His foreknowledge

In verse 16, David alluded to God’s detailed interest in us, pointing out that the intricate details of who we would become were all “in thy book.” It is almost like God had a sketch of us. We were no surprise to Him when we were born. Some babies are cuter than others at birth. Some rate higher on the evaluations done on newborns. But from God’s perspective, every baby is perfect! God was happy with you as you were being formed. The way He made you was not an accident or a mistake—He had it all sketched out in His foreknowledge. We can only put it in human terms, but He invested a great deal of time designing you and what you would become.

Perhaps fifteen years ago Debbie bought two books, each of which are titled, Your Life Story in Your Own Words: A Lasting Heritage for Your Children. They are designed for parents or grandparents to write in, responding to a series of questions that prompt them to fill in details about their lives. Debbie made some progress on filling in her book, but I forgot about mine. Recently she reminded me about it, so I glanced through it last night. It asks many questions. Here are a few: 

  • What were your youthful goals and ambitions? That’s easy. I wanted to be a major league baseball player.
  • Were you able to fulfill them? The short answer to that is no, my goals and ambitions changed.
  • When you were young did you admire a famous person? Yes.
  • Who was it, and what made you admire that person? I will not give the name, but the reason I admired that person was because he hit more home runs than anyone else in major league baseball.
  • When you were young, did you ever go to a funeral? No, I didn’t go to a funeral until I was in my twenties.
  • Did you have brothers and sisters? Yes, three brothers and three sisters.
  • Did your parents treat you all the same? Since I am a middle child, I can’t wait to answer that one!
  • How old were you when you discovered that God loved you? I was twenty-one.
  • How did it affect your life? It changed me completely!

From the moment of conception to this very day, God continues to be concerned with every aspect of our lives.

I am not sure how much my children and grandchildren will value my book if and when I ever finish filling in the answers to all of its questions, but they will certainly learn a great deal more about me if I do. However, God knows far more about any of us than could be contained in such a book. From the moment of conception to this very day, God continues to be concerned with every aspect of our lives. He sees when we are burdened. He notices when we are happy. He knows when we are broken-hearted. He is aware when we grieve or when we rejoice. He knows when we are misunderstood.

God is aware of all of that because He is everywhere at the same time and knows everything all the time, so with the Psalmist we respond, “Praise the Lord!” I am glad that God knows everything about me and cares about each detail. I am glad He is capable of bearing my burden and seeing me through on the path that He has charted for me.

Psalm 139 indicates that you have great value in God’s eyes. He wrote a book—His biography of you.

The Psalmist must have learned as a child that God loved him. No doubt his mother told him, “God formed you in my womb before you were born, and God loved you before I gave birth to you. God was happy with you!” Some people grow up feeling they are not worth much. Perhaps you are one of them, but Psalm 139 indicates that you have great value in God’s eyes. He wrote a book—His biography of you. In the opening pages, I suppose, is His sketch of what you look like. Perhaps if we could see God, He would be standing back and smiling broadly, thinking, I love this person! Then in His foreknowledge, He looks through the years of your life, taking into account the free will He gave you. He knew the course you will take before you were ever born. He knew that you would hear of His great interest in you on this very day. He wrote that in His book. He knows what you will do with what you have learned about Him. He knows already if you will drop to your knees and give thanks and praise to Him, or occupy yourself otherwise and not do that. God allows your story to unfold the way it is going to be. There are decisions you have made and will make that will affect your story, but God knows your whole history already.

God thinks of you

No wonder the Psalmist, upon realizing that, could say, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand” (Psalm 139:17-18). What a vast number of thoughts . . . and they are good thoughts! The Prophet Jeremiah said, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

God’s awareness of David was not alarming to the young Psalmist, but reassuring. Verse 18 continues, “. . . when I awake, I am still with thee.” God will be with us when we lie down tonight, and He will be with us when we wake up tomorrow. Let us give Him thanks for His intense interest in us. In another Psalm, David said, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord” (Psalm 34:1-2). When we are proud of something, we let it be known. We are not reticent about expressing our admiration and appreciation. We have reason to be proud of God’s interest in us. We have reason to praise the Lord. We have reason to give Him thanks. He is deserving of our worship, and we want to render our praise to Him.

Saying thank you to God

We teach our children at an early age to say thank you. It is just common courtesy to express appreciation when someone does something for you. We want to say thank you to God! If we have a need, we can let it be known to the Lord, but we should always remember to express our gratitude for His blessings and His care for us.

Today, as we look back over the years of our lives that have elapsed so far, we are all aware that we have not always done everything in a perfect manner, but let us determine by the grace of God that we are going to do things as He would have us do them as we go forward.

If you find yourself in an unsaved condition, drop to your knees and ask the Lord to forgive you. Ask Him to come into your heart and to give you power to live the way He wants you to live. You may think initially you cannot live the way God desires. That is true; in your own strength you cannot. It takes His power, but He is all powerful, too. He is omnipotent. He can change your heart and life, and give you a heart full of praise and thanksgiving for His all-seeing, all-knowing, and ever-present care for you.

About the author

Darrel Lee is Superintendent General of the Apostolic Faith Church and pastor of the headquarters church in Portland, Oregon.