Devotional Readings, M'Cheyne Bible Reading Notes

Psalms 139:2  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

As I’ve mentioned there are four readings each day in the M’Cheyne plan. Our church is doing the first three, since the last one is a repeating cycle of the Psalms and New Testament which duplicates what is read during the year in the other cycles.

Today’s reading includes a Psalm 139 which is often quotes. I include it entirely below.

Family: Joshua 8; Psalm 139. Secret: Jeremiah 2; Matthew 16

I’m curious how the English for sitting down got reversed since we still use the term uprising, though with another meaning, but do say downsitting.

Psalms 139:2  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

Verse 2. Downsitting and uprising. “Uprising” following “downsitting” is in the order of right sequence; for action ought to follow meditation. Jacob saw the angels ascending to God before they descended to service among mortals. Hence we are taught first to join ourselves to God by meditation, and afterwards to repair to the aid of our fellows. –Thomas Le Blanc.

Psalms 139:2 Gill

Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising,…. Here the psalmist proceeds to observe the particular circumstances and actions of his life, which were known to God; as his “downsitting”, either to take rest, as weary persons do. Schultens (a) explains it of the quiet rest in sleep; this the Lord knew when he betook himself to it, and to whose care he committed himself and family; under whose protection he laid himself down, and on whom he depended for safety, Psa 4:8. Or, since lying down to sleep is afterwards mentioned, this may respect sitting down at table to eat and drink; when the Lord knows whether men use the creatures aright, or abuse them; whether they receive their food with thankfulness, and eat and drink to the glory of God: or else this downsitting was to read the word of God, and meditate upon it; so the Targum paraphrases it,

“my sitting down to study the law.”

When men do this, the Lord knows whether in reading they understand what they read, or read attentively and with affection; whether it is to their comfort and edification, and for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness; whether their meditation on it is sweet, and is attended with profit and pleasure.

“Uprising” may respect either rising from bed, when the Lord knows whether the heart is still with him, Psa 139:18; what sense is had of the divine protection and sustentation, and what thankfulness there is for the mercies of the night past; and whether the voice of prayer and praise is directed to him in the morning, as it should be, Psa 3:5; or else rising from the table, when the Lord knows whether a man’s table has been his snare, and with what thankfulness he rises from it for the favours he has received. The Targum interprets this of rising up to go to war; which David did, in the name and strength, and by the direction, of the Lord;

thou understandest my thought afar off; God knows not only his own thoughts, but the thoughts of men, which none but themselves know; by this Christ appears to be truly God, the omniscient God, being a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, Mat 9:3, Heb 4:12. God knows what thoughts his people have of him, and of his lovingkindness in Christ; what thoughts they have of Christ himself, his person, offices, and grace; what thoughts they have of themselves, their state, and condition: he knows all their vain thoughts, and complains of them, and which also they hate; and all their good thoughts, for they come from him. And he knows them “afar off”, or “of old” (b), even before they are; so Aben Ezra interprets it, a long time past, and compares it with Jer 31:3; where the same word is rendered “of old”: God knows the thoughts of his people, as well as his own, from all eternity; see Isa 25:1; as he knew what they would say and do, so what they would think; he knows thoughts that are past long ago, and forgotten by men, or were unobserved when thought; how else should he bring them into judgment? or though he is afar off in the highest heavens, yet he sees into the hearts of men, and is privy to all their thoughts.

(a) Animadv. Philol. p. 181. (b) מרחוק “q. d. dum illa longe abest”, Piscator; “longe ante quam incidat in animum meum”, Gejerus, & Campensis in Ibid.

Here is the whole Psalm.

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

Psa 139:1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.

Psa 139:2  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

Psa 139:3  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

Psa 139:4  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Psa 139:5  Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Psa 139:6  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

Psa 139:7  Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

Psa 139:8  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

Psa 139:9  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

Psa 139:10  Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

Psa 139:11  If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

Psa 139:12  Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Psa 139:13  For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

Psa 139:14  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Psa 139:15  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Psa 139:16  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Psa 139:17  How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

Psa 139:18  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

Psa 139:19  Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.

Psa 139:20  For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.

Psa 139:21  Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

Psa 139:22  I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

Psa 139:23  Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

Psa 139:24  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

You can read on your own, the military plan presented in Joshua 8.

Jos 8:1  And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:

Jos 8:2  And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.

And the warning Jeremiah gives to Jerusalem.

Jer 2:1  Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

Jer 2:2  Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.

Jer 2:3  Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD.

Jer 2:4  Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:

Jer 2:5  Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?

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