O Lord, Thou hast proved me, and known me . . .
David, although a warrior, murderer, adulterer, and conqueror, was also a poet and singer of extraordinary talent and sensitivity. He composed verse and hymns to express piety and love, fear, the search for redemption, the need for deliverance. He knew that God knew. His awareness of God’s awareness is most profoundly stated in this psalm.
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine up-rising: Thou understandest my thoughts from afar . . .
God’s love and will are the same. God loves David, and knows David’s actions and thoughts, and witnesses whether David’s actions and thoughts conform to God’s will, and blesses accordingly.
Thou hast traced my path . . . , and hast foreseen all my ways . . .
God is with David always--whether awake or asleep, He is part of him, as He is part of all the Creation. David was exceptional only in that he had such a profound awareness of God’s presence in every moment of his life.
O Lord, Thou hast known all things, the last and the first . . .
God does not form the word on the tongue, but God nevertheless knows. Such awareness allows David the insight to be able to speak and act in a way that is apt to conform to God’s will. God is present in the past and future, before and after, in the previous step and the forthcoming step. Awareness of this is a sure guide in taking the multifarious steps of life.
The knowledge of Thee is too wonderful for me; it is very difficult, I cannot attain to it . . .
The greatest counter to hubris, David knew, was the realization of the supremacy of God’s knowledge and the overwhelming gulf separating David from God. He could not come close to God or His knowledge. Rather, he must wait upon God.
Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? . . .
David imagines the ways a being could escape from Being, and it is impossible. One cannot hide from God. If I imagine that I can hide in the dark, the dark is but light to God, who sees all.
For Thou, O Lord, hast possessed my reins; Thou hast helped me from my mother’s womb . . .
God has been with David always, even from the womb, and has held onto his path, directed him, as David ran along through life.
Thine eyes saw my unwrought substance, and all men shall be written in Thy book . . .
God formed the flesh and bones and spirit, brought David out of the depths into the light, and composed the record of his life in the book of life.
I awake, and am still with Thee . . .
It is not a dream, this utter connection with the Lord. Though the knowledge of the relationship is intuitive, found deep within the self, in the innermost being, nevertheless daily, upon awakening, Being is among us.
Prove me, O God, and know my heart; examine me, and know my paths . . .
David has proven his devotion to God by the point of his sword; the blood dripping from his enemies is his testament to his faith in God. And he asks God,
See if there is any way of iniquity in me, and lead me in an everlasting way . . .
Bloodshed on behalf of God to David is not iniquity, but such are the king and warrior’s way. As the Hebrews came to know God more fully, and as the descendants of David grew to accept God’s will and ways, to accept defeat as well as victory, no longer was the sword needed. And Jesus counseled His disciples: put away the sword.