Fearfully and Wonderfully Made- Psalm 139:14

As we continue in our examination of Psalm 139, we come now to verse 14, which is translated as follows in the NIV: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. Here we find David praising God for something very specific, and he uses a word for praise here which is not the most common word for praise. He uses the Hebrew yadah, which is a far less common word of praise, for it is a word which expresses praise from man to God, which here expresses David’s praise to God for creating and loving David in spite of his weaknesses, character flaws and sinfulness. David has already noted his shortcomings, and here uses a word which gives praise to God for loving and accepting David, shortcomings and all. David here tells us he praises God because he is “fearfully and wonderfully made”. We will examine this phrase in its individual components, then put those components together in order to understand exactly what David is praising God for here, because it tells us something which we may not recognize or understand with just a surface look. The word translated fearfully is yare, which basically means to revere or respect, and is used primarily to refer to man’s attitude toward God. God has “fearfully” made us, which here means He created us with the desire to “fear” Him, to give Him the reverence and respect due to Him as our creator. The word translated as wonderfully is palah, which basically refers to something as being distinct, unique, separate or set apart. God has created each of us as a unique, distinct individual, with a unique and distinct purpose. This same word is used again in the next phrase, in which David praises God because “your works are wonderful”. God has created each person as a unique, distinct individual, and our highest purpose and most fulfilling endeavor in life is to understand and live out our uniqueness and distinctness. This can be further seen in the phrase which completes the sentence: “I know that full well”. The Hebrew word translated as “I” here is nefesh, which is more commonly translated as “soul”, and the word translated as know is yada, which refers to knowledge gained through experience. The final word here is meod, translated in the NIV as “full well”, and basically emphasizes the fullness or abundance of what it refers to, and it here refers to David’s knowledge of being fearfully and wonderfully made. So, when we put all of the component parts noted above together, what do we come up with, what is David telling us in this verse? What we find is David here telling us that each of us is a unique, distinct individual, born with a basic desire to praise and glorify God. That we express this praise by discovering and living out our uniqueness, by fulfilling the God given purpose each of our lives is meant to express. We discover this uniqueness and unique purpose by experience. This uniqueness is not revealed to us, this purpose is not dropped from the sky on stone tablets, but is discovered in our “souls” as we walk in the fear of the Lord, as we live our lives with the proper reverence and respect for God. As we do so, we will discover our unique purpose, we will come to know it “full well” and in living it, we will find the peace which causes us to praise God even when fulfilling that purpose is difficult or challenging. We will also bring God the glory He is due as we do so, expressing our praise to Him for accepting us, loving us and walking with as we find and fulfill our purpose, no matter how long it may take, or how many obstacles we may encounter along the way

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