Since my childhood I dreamed about learning to interact with dolphins. I knew that they were among the smartest animals on the planet. Finally, a few years ago such an opportunity arose. My wife and I got tickets to the dolphin encounter in Hawaii. The trainer who led this tour made the dolphin swim toward him on his back with his belly up. He told us that this is how dolphins come to trainers for medical checkups so that trainers would be able to draw blood samples and conduct other research. However, while dolphins are indeed very intelligent animals, I don’t think they get the concept of what a medical checkup really is. Instead, it takes a trainer multiple weeks of day and night interacting with a dolphin before an animal could start trusting its trainer enough to willingly let him draw the blood samples.

In Psalm 139 David begins by saying: “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me” (vs. 1, NIV). In the original Hebrew the verb ‘search’ (KHaQaR) occurs 38 times throughout the Old Testament appearing for the first time in Deut. 13:15 where the command is given to conduct thorough investigation of a crime. In the Modern Hebrew, Israelis use this verb in reference to scientific research. Speaking the modern language, we could say today that David begins his psalm by acknowledging to be God’s research subject. And since God is the perfect ‘researcher,’ He knows everything about David and possesses knowledge not only about his sitting down and getting up, but also about his utmost intimate thoughts. Typically, to express the concept of thoughts, Hebrew would use the noun ‘makhshav’, which occurs quite frequently in the Old Testament. However here in vs.2 of Psalm 139 David uses the noun ‘reah’ which is a very rare ancient Hebrew word similar to the word ‘friend.’

Our Creator has wonderfully designed people to be free thinking beings capable of making decisions,  having emotions and being able to dream. Our thoughts comprise what we are: our personality and our character originates from our ways of thinking. Sometimes our thoughts can be understood by other people through our gestures, demeanor or facial expressions. And at times we even wish that other people would understand what we are thinking. But there are some thoughts we keep close to ourselves and do not want them to be known by others. Such thoughts are called ‘friends’ in Hebrew and they comprise our intimate inner world.

There are only selected people whom we allow to know and be a part of our personal inner world. This all depends on how we choose to build our boundaries. The book of Gen. 2:24-25 teaches us about the ideal marriage experience “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” The last words of this passage indicate the level of trust the first couple had between each other. This means that between the first spouses there were very few barriers. One of the greatest attributes of a true loving marital relationship is the removal of boundaries and mutual trust.

On the other hand, if a stranger breaks your privacy, this can feel terrifying and cause extreme trauma. However, God, who really knows everything about us is not a stranger. He is closer to us than our parents or our spouse because He has such intimate knowledge of us beyond our understanding! But unlike a stranger who can use that kind of knowledge to bring us harm, our God, Creator and Redeemer desires only the best for us.  This is why David writes:

“You hem me in behind and before,

and you lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too lofty for me to attain” (Ps. 139:5-6, NIV).

For David, divine knowledge of his intimate world was a benefit rather than a detriment. God uses His knowledge of us to guide us on our paths as long as we are willing to drop our boundaries before Him and let Him into our intimate inner world. We can absolutely trust our Lord in everything because our Creator will never hurt us. What a wonderful God we serve!

Pastor Sasha Bolotnikov is currently the pastor of The Edge Christian Worship Center and Pathways Fellowship in the Minnesota Conference.