Theme: God’s Omniscience
In this week’s lessons, we see the importance and blessing of God’s omniscience.
Scripture: Psalm 139:1-12
The theme of the first six verses is the omniscience of God, the proper term for the fact that God sees and knows everything. But omniscience is not expressed here as mere doctrine. It is confessed in wonder and adoration, as the other doctrines (omnipresence and omnipotence) will also be. We should remember that confession is one way in which we worship God.1
What can we say about God’s omniscience? The unique quality of the knowledge possessed by God is perfection. That is, God knows all things, and he knows them exhaustively. We also know things. That is why we have some idea of what we are talking about when we refer to God’s omniscience. But our knowledge is only partial and imperfect. 
How can we describe God’s knowledge? Arthur W. Pink wrote, “God…knows everything; everything possible, everything actual; all events, all creatures, of the past, the present, and the future. He is perfectly acquainted with every detail in the life of every being in heaven, in earth, and in hell….Nothing escapes his notice, nothing can be hidden from him, nothing is forgotten by him….He never errs, never changes, never overlooks anything.”2
A. W. Tozer expands this description by adding negatives. “God has never learned from anyone,” he says. Indeed, wrote Tozer: 
God cannot learn. Could God at any time or in any manner receive into his mind knowledge that he did not possess and had not possessed from eternity, he would be imperfect and less than himself. To think of a God who must sit at the feet of a teacher, even though that teacher be an archangel or a seraph, is to think of someone other than the Most High God, maker of heaven and earth…. God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell…
Because God knows all things perfectly, he knows no thing better than any other thing, but all things equally well. He never discovers anything, he is never surprised, never amazed. He never wonders about anything nor (except when drawing men out for their own good) does he seek information or ask questions.3
This is what the psalmist is writing about in the six opening verses of this psalm. Verse 1 states the psalm’s theme: God’s perfect knowledge of the psalmist: “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.” The next three verses develop three important aspects of that knowledge. It embraces: 1) the psalmist’s thoughts (“you perceive my thoughts from afar,” v. 2); 2) his ways (“you are familiar with all my ways,” v. 3); and 3) his words (“Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O LORD,” v. 4). After this, in verse 5, he begins to anticipate the theme of the psalm’s next section, God’s omnipresence, since the ideas overlap. But he breaks off the pursuit of that idea to wrap up his contemplation of God’s knowledge in verse 6: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
This is exactly the note struck by the Apostle Paul in the great doxology that concludes the eleventh chapter of Romans: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out” (vv. 33)!
1This was discussed in our study of Psalm 136. 
2Arthur W. Pink, Gleanings in the Godhead (Chicago, IL: Moody, 1975), p. 19. 
3A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God, Their Meaning in the Christian Life (New York: Harper & Row, 1961), pp. 61, 62. 
Study Questions: 

How is omniscience expressed? 
What does confession lead to? 
List the things God’s knowledge embraces. 

Reflection: How does Tozer’s expansion of what it means to understand God as omniscient change your thinking? 
Application: What role does confession play in your worship of God?
Prayer: Give praise to God as the psalmist and as Paul did.
Key Point: The unique quality of the knowledge possessed by God is perfection. 
For Further Study: To learn more about God’s omniscience, download for free and listen to R. C. Sproul’s message, “The Omniscience of God.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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