Prodigal Day 5 Not By Your Strength: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!

We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!

Dig In!

The Passage

Fridays are 2-for-1! Check out the other Journey Post, Not By Your Strength!

Psalm 139:1-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

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.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

The Questions

1) What attribute of God is implied in verses 1-4? In verses 7-10?

2) What does “you hem me in” mean?

3) What does it mean that God’s knowledge is “too wonderful” for David?

4) In verses 11-12, what are light and dark representing?

The Findings for Intention

1) What attribute of God is implied in verses 1-4? In verses 7-10?
Verses 1-4 talk about how God knows everything about the Psalmist—what he is doing, his thoughts, what he is about to say, his past, his future, his heart motivations — everything. The word for that is omniscience. God is all-knowing. Verses 7-10 speak about how David could never escape God’s presence. He is in heaven, He is in Sheol (the grave), He is in every part of the earth. God is everywhere-present. The word for that is omnipresence.

2) What does “you hem me in” mean?
The NASB translates this phrase “you have enclosed me,” the Holman Christian Standard version uses “you have encircled me.” The original Hebrew word literally means “to cramp,” and carries the idea of being confined. When put in the context of the surrounding verses, David sees this as a good thing. God is surrounding and keeping him, knowing everything about him, and he finds this knowledge wonderful.

3) What does it mean that God’s knowledge is “too wonderful” for David?
When David considers God’s omniscience, how He knows everything, he calls such knowledge “too wonderful” and “high.” What he is saying is that God’s knowledge is beyond human knowledge. God is infinite; man is finite. Although God reveals Himself to us and we can know Him, the extent of His knowledge is unattainable for us, because God is transcendent. And this thought is something that David chose to write a Psalm of worship about.

The Everyday Application

1) What attribute of God is implied in verses 1-4? In verses 7-10?
God is omnipresent and God is omniscient. These are great truths that bring a Christian both warning and comfort! There is never a day that God doesn’t see exactly what you’re going through. He knows your thoughts, your words, and your actions. He is with you in the dark days of struggle, and He is with you in the triumphant joys. No matter what our everyday brings, we can take such comfort in knowing that He is a present God. Even when we struggle and choose sin over love, His presence is with us, covering the believer in His righteousness. Certainly something to sing about like the Psalmist!

2) What does “you hem me in” mean?
When I am fighting for my own agenda over God’s, I tend to resist God’s hand upon me. But when I am surrendered to His will for my life, the idea that He has hemmed me in and laid his hand upon me gives me great comfort and peace. Is there anything (sin, pride, rebellion) that is making me resist God’s presence with me?

3) What does it mean that God’s knowledge is “too wonderful” for David?
Just like Job, who saw his folly compared to God’s wisdom (Job 42:3), David understood that God’s knowledge and wisdom are far beyond human capacity to attain. Let this fact of God’s transcendence break down your pride and allow you to trust Him fully! He is the knowable Creator with an unknowable depth of love, grace, truth, and mercy. The literally boundless love of the Almighty is “too wonderful” for our comprehension, but spending time contemplating it, draws us in to His abundance in the middle of our everyday!

Don’t miss today’s other Journey Study, Not By Your Strength
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I Can Do That!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!

The Community!

Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into Prodigal Week One!
Don’t miss out on the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Tools!

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources.  Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

The Why!

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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Looking for other journeys from this theme?
See all past studies in Prodigal!