Skip to content

You Know Me (Psalm 139 1)

August 21, 2010

I wanted to include a psalm in Stories on the Way and Psalm 139 is one of my favourites. I think the promise of being known completely by a loving and ever-present God is one of the greatest gifts we have to offer our children.

Paraphrasing the psalm was very difficult and I am not at all confident that I succeeded. You may want to have a look at some of the other versions out there, such as The Message (which you can find on www.biblegateway.com). You may also want to use whatever translation is commonly used in your church, although you may find yourself needing to explain much of the figurative language. I would be interested in hearing what you decided to do and how it worked out.

Things to know about this lesson:

  • You need to have hearts cut out of red construction paper for the Regrouping (although you would probably have time to make them while the students worked on their activity.
  • If your mural paper is not big enough to trace whole bodies, just trace students from the waist or chest up.

You Know Me

Materials

  • mural paper in pieces large enough to trace students’ bodies (or at least from the waist up)
  • pencils
  • crayons/markers/pencil crayons
  • hearts cut out of red construction paper
  • glue

Open with prayer. (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

Today’s story is actually a poem. What do you know about poems? (they rhyme, they have rhythm, they’re pretty…)

Do you know any poems?

This poem is called a psalm and it comes from the Book of Psalms in the Bible. The psalms are very very old songs and poems that the Israelites used to use when they talked about or prayed to God. The psalms are still used by Jewish people and by Christians today.

Different languages make poetry in different ways. The psalms were written in the Hebrew language and we translated them into English. That means that they don’t sound quite like the poems you might be familiar with. They don’t rhyme and the rhythm is a little different. But they are still beautiful and full of interesting ideas and images. Listen to the psalm and tell me which image or idea you notice.

Read the Story

O Lord, you have searched inside my heart. You know me completely.

You know when I sit down to rest and when I get up;

You see my thoughts even from heaven.

You see where I go and when I lie down; you know everything I do.

You know my words before I speak them.

You are always with me – behind me and in front of me, you lay your hand upon me.

I cannot understand how this wonderful thing can be true!


Is there anyplace I can go where your spirit will not be?

Is there any place where you cannot see?

If I go all the way up into the sky, you are there.

If I dig a hole to the centre of the earth, you are there.

If I follow the sun and settle far across the sea, even there your hand will lead me and protect me.

If I hide in the dark, waiting until the day has become the night, you will see me because the night is as bright as the day for you.


For it was you who made me; you put me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am wonderfully made. I know how wonderful your works are.

My body was not hidden from you while I was being made in secret.

You saw me before I was shaped and you saw the days in which I would live before they were formed.

Your thoughts are greater than I can imagine, O God.

There are so many of them! I try to count them but you have more thoughts than there are grains of sand.

When I come to the end – you are still with me.

Psalm 139:1-18


Discussion

Which idea or image did you notice the most? (let the students share their thoughts briefly)

I would like to talk about the idea that God knows us completely – God knows what’s in our hearts.

Who do you think knows you best?

Who do you know really well?

God knows us even better than that! What do you think that means? (God knows our secrets; God knows how we feel about things; what we’re scared of; what we hope for)

The person who wrote the psalm says that God knows us because God made us. He also says that God’s works are wonderful – that means that we are wonderful! How does that make you feel?

Introduce the Activity

We are going to make self-portraits. Does anyone know what a self-portrait is? (a drawing you make of yourself)

These portraits are a celebration of how wonderfully made we are – a thank you to God for loving us so much and knowing us so well.

Self-Portraits

Distribute pieces of mural paper and pencils. Pair students off and help them trace one another.

Distribute crayons/markers/pencil crayons. Invite students to colour their tracings to look like themselves.

Regrouping

Admire everyone’s self-portrait.

But one thing is missing. These are supposed to be portraits of the people God knows completely – we need to show our hearts.

Distribute paper hearts and invite students to glue them onto their self-portraits.

Closing Prayer

Dear God, you know us completely. Help us to live like the wonderful and beloved people you made us to be. Amen.

O Lord, you have searched inside my heart. You know me completely.

You know when I sit down to rest and when I get up;

You see my thoughts from heaven.

You see where I go and when I lie down; you know everything I do.

You know my words before I speak them.
You are always with me – behind me and in front of me, you lay your hand upon me.

I cannot understand how this wonderful thing can be true!

Is there anyplace I can go where your spirit will not be?

Is there any place where you cannot see?
If I go all the way up into the sky, you are there.
If I dig a hole to the centre of the earth, you are there.
If I follow the sun and settle far across the sea, even there your hand will lead me and protect me.

If I hide in the dark, waiting until the day has become the night, you will see me because the night is as bright as the day for you.

For it was you who made me; you put me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am wonderfully made. I know how wonderful your works are.
My body was not hidden from you while I was being made in secret. You saw me before I was shaped and you saw the days in which I would live before they were formed.
Your thoughts are greater than I can imagine, O God.

There are so many of them! I try to count them but you have more thoughts than there are grains of sand.

When I come to the end – you are still with me.

Psalm 139:1-18

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s