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Fearfully and wonderfully made

We have many descriptors for newborn babies:  lovely, helpless, wrinkled, beautiful, looks like his mother, and so many more.  Now is the time to remember that each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made.
We have many descriptors for newborn babies: lovely, helpless, wrinkled, beautiful, looks like his mother, and so many more. Now is the time to remember that each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made.Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images

Read Psalm 139

Make no arguments with atheists. They are blind.

Scripture tells us that our awareness of our surroundings reveals the presence of a Creator. Creation itself is evidence of a creator.

Those who are not blind are fools. Scripture gives us many warnings about wasting our time with fools. The wicked fall into that same category. We don’t sit down and have discussions with those who have rebelled against God.

This is to cast our pearls before swine.

We continue to proclaim the gospel.

We defend the faith.

But we do not waste time discussing things that are certain.

To the one who knows with certainty that there is a God, we also know that he is good.

To those who know Jesus, we know that he is the way.

To those who have experienced the presence of the Spirit, we know that God is still with us.

We are people who have eyes to see and ears to hear and this 139th Psalm should be speaking to our hearts and minds and to the core of our very being.

At the heart of this psalm are these words:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

So much of the evidence of God’s presence is all around us but the psalmist looks within us. He looks at the miracle that is humankind.

Lions are majestic.

Puppies are cute.

Elephants are just outright impressive.

Butterflies are just unbelievable.

There is so much in creation that amazes us, mystifies us, tantalizes us, and just plain intrigues us.

But the psalmist says, “Consider yourself. What a fantastic miracle you are.”

We have mind and body and spirit. We are a living soul.

We have thoughts and ideas and communication and reasoning and can calculate and matriculate and demonstrate our learning and our growth.

God knows us inside and out and gives us a lifetime to discover all that we can do.

Sometimes folks wish they had a million dollars, ok make that ten million considering inflation; then they could really live.

Sometimes people think, if I only lived in this place, then I would have so much more opportunity.

If only I had something that I don’t have, then I would be so much better off.

But have we ever really considered that we are quite the miracle. We are the most complicated organism alive and yet everything works for us so simply.

We want to walk down the hall or the street or up the stairs and our bodies know what to do. We see something and we like it or dislike it or wonder how it works or decide to make something like it or something completely unlike it.

Not that the psalmist wanted to get away from God, but he realizes that such a quest would be impossible. God is everywhere and in everything and always present.

God knit us together.

This whole package that we call man or human or a person was divinely designed.

If you want to debate mosquitoes and divine design, I might put on a pot of coffee and join you in that discussion. But we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We are a masterpiece of our Lord’s handiwork.

We are wonderfully made.

Then we consider the fearfully part of fearfully and wonderfully made. It is very poetic. It has definitive meter even in a language that is not the author’s.

We could just say it is just poetry and not dwell upon the fearfully part, but it is more than poetry. It is the inspired word of God and the word fearfully should speak to us.

The Hebrew word is Yare’ and most often means to fear or revere or be afraid or stand in awe.

That sort of makes sense. But who is afraid? We are afraid of ourselves? God is afraid?

Let us go back to the biblical record of the beginning, specifically, the beginning of humankind.

We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are to rule over the creatures of the earth. We have dominion.

That’s impressive.

That is awesome.

We have been made in the image and likeness of our Creator and we have been given dominion over this earth.

And we have been given a will to choose. We have free will.

That is fearful.

What will we do?

We are the most amazing creation in all of creation and the question for all history is what will we do?

The psalmist said that all of his days were ordained for him before he even existed. But the question remains, what would he do with his days? What will we do with our days?

The psalmist’s answer was that he stood with God. Whatever God required, he was ready to do.

He detested the wicked but at the same time asked God to search him for any anxious or impure thoughts.

The first part is the easy part. “God, we are with you all the way. Now just destroy the wicked.”

The second part is the real part. “God, you made me to be your masterpiece. Rid me of anything that I have thought or done to tarnish your perfect work.”

Looking outward we see both evidence of a divine creation and we see wickedness that God continues to permit in this age.

Looking inward we see that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, but we also see that we have allowed ourselves to be tarnished by sin.

Looking outward, we could stand in awe or stand in judgment.

Looking inward, we could stand in awe or hang our heads in condemnation of what we have done with our lives.

The psalmist is poet and prophet.

He is precise and providential.

He praises and he pronounces the thoughts of God to be too numerous to number.

He realizes what a fantastic creation he is and reveres his Creator all the more.

The psalmist is most likely David, a man after God’s own heart.

He was a man given to the slingshot and the sword.

He knew love and lust.

He knew condemnation and confession.

In the midst of all of David’s experience, he knew that he was fearfully and wonderfully made.

Fearfully and wonderfully made!

And for all that David was and all that he revealed in this psalm, he did not know of the cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb who would come from his line.

But we do.

We live in this age of the Lord’s favor. We know and live in the grace of God that comes through Christ.

And we are fearfully and wonderfully made; yet when God searches all places our sin is covered by the blood of Jesus.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We are made in the image and likeness of God himself.

We are made in the image of Christ Jesus—the image of the invisible God.

We are a child of God and we are without blemish and we are loved.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. What fault and defect that we have allowed into our lives has been washed away by the blood of Jesus.

Understand that God made you with awesome intentions. You were made to subdue the world. You were made to go into the world with good news and hope and love and light.

We were made to understand all of God’s promises as “Yes in Christ” and not to get wrapped up in all of the “Thou shalt nots” that the world so enjoys.

Fearfully and wonderfully made, equipped by God’s word for every good work, and surrounded by the family of faith that we know to be the Body of Christ, there is nothing in this world that can stop us from living fully for God and enjoying him ever so much.

We sing Victory in Jesus.

We claim that nothing can separate us from the love of God that we know in Christ Jesus.

We believe that we are unblemished not because we have lived perfect lives but because of the perfect sacrifice made for us by God.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made and God wants us to realize our full potential.

The psalmist really wishes that he did not have to contend with all of the wickedness in the world.

His request is for God to destroy the wicked. Sometimes we have that request as well but we must all be content to let God judge in his time.

But the second request is that God search the heart of the psalmist and remove what is offensive, what is not perfect, what is not everlasting.

The psalmist asks God to lead him in the everlasting way.

Too often we get distracted by what everyone else is doing and surely how wrong it is. In the process we forget how uniquely we are made to do good things, accomplish things of eternal value, follow Jesus, bring hope to the hopeless, and love the unlovable.

We are designed, perfectly designed, to do this.

We are made complete in Christ and can do all things through him who strengthens us.

God has searched us and he knows us and he knows that we are designed and equipped and strengthened to do what he created us to do.

That’s something awesome to think about, maybe even a little fearful.

Too often we live as if we are helpless. We develop fatalistic attitudes. We become depressed and despair rules our lives.

We are no experiment.

We are no first draft of something better.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

What is to come is better and even more wonderful, but that is just God bringing what he created to our full potential.

So is this a let’s all feel good about ourselves and pat ourselves on the back psalm and message?

Yes and no.

Yes, you should feel good about who you are. You are God’s child and he did a fantastic job when he made you. You will get some wear and tear and breakage in this life, but you are fearfully and wonderfully made and God loves you more than you can imagine. Despite the wear and tear, the person that God made has been made clean by the blood of Jesus.

So yes, you should feel good about who you are.

And now for the “no” part. This affirmation is not so we can be complacent but that we may be confident!

God’s intentions for us, his will for us, his heart’s desire for us is all good and his actions have fidelity with his intentions.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

We are made to live fantastic lives, have fullness in our every moment, be creative and innovative as is our Creator, and know the wonder that our Father designed into us.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. It is time that we lived that way!

Amen.