"They did not say, 'Where is the LORD who brought us up from the land of Egypt...I brought you into a plentiful land...but you defiled my land...The priest did not say, 'Where is the LORD?' Those who handle the law did not know me.'"
Having just read Psalm 139, I find this passage in Jeremiah remarkable. God, speaking through Jeremiah, is holding the people of Israel to account. He is calling for them to remember their first love and devotion as a bride and return to Him. He asks the question, "What wrong did your fathers find in me?" They did not have to ask where God was because He was the One who delivered them from Egypt and kept them in the wilderness.
The priests who the LORD appointed as His shepherds, did not know Him and led the people astray. Even though He broke the yoke and burst the bonds of their slavery, they responded: "I will not serve." Their rejection of the LORD led the people to say to a tree "You are my father and to a stone, You gave me birth.” The people turned their back on God rather than turn their face to Him. In effect, the nation of Israel said, at last, we are free from the God of Israel. We don't need Him anymore! Isn't that the perennial problem of mankind? Man is determined to prove his ability to rule and rely upon himself alone.
Psalms 139 is the antidote to this enduring problem. David acknowledged the all-knowing, ever-present LORD instead of looking at himself. He admitted every moment of his life was lived out before the face of God. God knew him intimately because He had "knitted me together in my mother's womb." God knew what he would say before he spoke. There was no place David could flee that God was not already there. Even darkness would not hide him from the face of God.
Instead of finding this stifling, as it seemed to the Israelites in Jeremiah's day, David rejoiced in the freedom of living before God's face. Rather than turning His back to the One who he knew it was impossible to hide from, David expectantly turned his face to Him in praise and worship.
David's trust in the all-knowing, ever-present God is reflected in his closing prayer. May it be ours this morning.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!