The number 139, at first glance, is an unprepossessing, even lacklustre numerical label; what can be remarkable about 139? But wait! 139 is a prime number and (perhaps at the risk of giving undue credence to biblical numbers games) here we have a prime example of a fine psalm of primary teaching:
God you have searched me (1)
Where can I go from your Spirit? (7)
I thank you because I am wonderfully and fearfully made (14)
Such gems are accompanied by fine poetic imagery entirely characteristic of the Psalter:
If I climb up to heaven you are there; … if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand will lead me and your right hand hold me fast. (8-10)
Climbing to the heavens with the wings of the morning in far-flung places might too readily leap out of the page for this former pilot. Many verses however, such as those which refer to God’s hand in the development of the unborn child, will have universal impact. Wonderfully and fearfully made indeed.
An earlier post reflected at greater length on this psalm, matters of transparency, deceptive appearances and some music associated with Psalm 139. The comment was made there that regardless of your image of God — a dark remote benevolent idea somewhere out there on the face of the waters, or a personal spirit who numbers hairs and counts sparrows — the psalms seem to cater for all. Here, whether as a result of an active if belated conscience or as an expression of belief, David sees the divine spirit as all-seeing, discerning.