Song title: Psalm 139 (Were I to Cross from Land to Land)
Music: Greg de Blieck
Lyrics: Greg de Blieck
CCLI no: 6467780

 

Were I to cross from land to land
And sail afar by sea
Descend the depths or climb the heights
My Lord remains with me

 

Before the blood ran in these veins
The days ordained for me
Were written in Your book O Lord
Before I came to be

 

I grieve to hear Your enemies
Speak hatred, Lord, of You
Long though they scheme with ill-intent
Their days are numbered too

 

How precious are Your thoughts to me
How countless, Lord, they are
More than the shores have grains of sand
More than the skies have stars

 

Come search and test this heart O Lord,
Dispel each anxious thought
And lead me onward evermore
To tread the path I ought

 

How blessed I am, so bound with love
Surrounded, yet so free
In doubt or blessing, life or death
My Lord remains with me

 

This is a paraphrase of psalm 139 which expresses amazement and praise of a God who knows, loves and cares for his people intimately.

 

The psalm is often used for sentimental reasons, a kind of “warm-fuzzy-God-is-always-there-like-my-guardian-angel” thing. However, consider how the psalmist seems also to be expressing that God is inescapable- even if we wanted to escape him, we can’t. This realisation becomes a source of reverent joy and he goes on to say, in effect “How wonderful to be hemmed in on every side by this wonderful God”.

 

The psalmist also takes a moment to express an emotive response to those who hate God. He cries out “oh that you would slay the wicked!” That’s not a verse you’ll see on greetings cards. Nevertheless – it is worth considering what precipitates that kind of strength of feeling.

I grieve to hear Your enemies
Speak hatred, Lord, of You
Long though they scheme with ill-intent
Their days are numbered too

This language is a call for justice, a response to seeing the holiness and perfection of God juxtaposed with the evil of godlessness. When you have witnessed the extent of the depravity that comes from rejecting God, it is likely that whatever patience and grace you had would run out far quicker than God’s. That God shows this kind of patience towards his enemies is mind-blowing. Before we judge the psalmist for this seemingly bloodthirsty emotion, we should consider whether we have the same perspective on the injustice of sin and godlessness which David had. Should our music not reflect the indignation and wonder that we ought to feel?

 

 


 

Bible Passage: Psalm 139

 


 

Themes:

  • Presence
  • Love
  • Guidance
  • Faithfulness

 


 

Have you recorded your own version of this song? Send us a link and we’ll include it here.

 


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