Bible Verses: Psalm 139: Commentary, Study and Art
I accepted a challenge last week to memorize Psalm 139 in the Bible. Although I attend church on a regular basis, I must admit that memorizing verses or scriptures are not my strong point, although certain ones I do know by heart. Most of those however are short ones, which I thought Psalm 139 might be.
After looking it up in the Bible though, I almost freaked out when I saw how long it was. A small voice even told me it would be "impossible" for me to memorize it all, and that maybe I should back out. I knew where that voice was coming from though, so I was determined not to give in to that discouragement.
I do have to say after reading it through it did resonate strongly with me, and I knew that I really did want to learn it, I just wasn't sure how I would do it and how I would remember all the passages...
How God helped me remember scripture
For me, it's been a long long time since I've been in school. I haven't had to memorize anything for years. After reading Psalm 139 and realizing I needed help, I went straight to the source and said God, "If you want me to memorize this, I need you to help me figure out how to do that."
I have no problem talking to God, and I figured He would help me somehow. It was a couple of days later when I got that "aha" moment when a creative idea came to me:
I created a text image with the first verse of the Psalm on a photograph, then I memorized it. Hmm... I thought, maybe I was onto something here!
I figured out that all I had to do was to create a series of designs with each verse of the Psalm on it. This way I could digest it better because it would be in small chunks. I would be writing the text down as I did the design, and I would be repeating the Psalm as I sent it out into the world (the designs came out so well that I actually decided to feature them at my Zazzle store too)
All in all, I never cease to be amazed by God when He does something really cool and uses our talents to help us get through something we otherwise might not be able to do. Below I have included images of the designs I have made so far, and will make another hub with the rest of the designs when I am finished learning and designing all of Psalm 139. All the photos are original and taken by me, some have been edited and some have had special effects added. Some photos were left alone in their original state because sometimes nothing can make a great photo any greater (not being conceited but sometimes we just need to leave a photo alone - it will speak all for itself)
I have been sharing these images on FaceBook and Pinterest and I encourage you to do the same. My belief is that something that is God breathed needs to be shared - it is not meant to be hidden or stored away.
This is the Psalm I am working on memorizing, and I have broken it down below with thoughts, art and commentary. Below is Psalm 139:1-18 from the NIV Bible translation:
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 139:1 Design
Commentary and inspiration for Psalm 139:1
In this first part of the Psalm, I chose one of my favorite photos of a water pool at Shinn Park in Fremont, Ca. I love the colors and the way the leaves were drifting in the water. The photo fit the words:
Psalm 139:1 "You have searched me Lord, and you KNOW me."
To me, this one sentence speaks volumes about how God feels about me and what He thinks. It tells me that He knows my innermost thoughts, and I find comfort in that, knowing that someone truly knows me even when it may seem that others do not understand me. I find great peace in these words.
These words also remind me that he knows my heart.
Psalm 139:2 "You know when I sit, and when I rise. You precieve me thoughts from afar."
I chose the rose photo (another one that I took at Shinn Park) for this one because it reminded me of how a rose unfolds (or rises outward) I also love the colors on this one and the way the rose is highlighted by the light. This verse reminds me that no matter where I am, God still knows me and my thoughts, and that He is there for me, still understanding who I am even from far away.
I love that thought.
Psalm 139:3 "You discern my going out and my lying down, you are familiar with ALL my ways."
This photo was taken at one of my favorite parks in San Mateo, where my husband and family like to go to walk the beach and watch the planes and wind-boarders sail. The photo was one that I loved from the first minute I saw the scene, the way the tree wrapped around the water scene behind it. It was fitting for this Psalm because I thought of how the tide flows both in an out.
The words of Psalm 139:3 remind me again of how intimately God knows who I am. That He knows every nook and cranny of me and that he knows me totally. Some may find this disconcerting but like I said earlier, it gives me peace being able to have that kind of relationship with Him. That He would be concerned about meager me. That He loves and cares enough about each one of us to the point that He wants to know all about us.
Psalms 139: 3-7
In the rest of the Psalms, I have put my commentary under the photo and left the photo full size for your viewing enjoyment. I used to own and operate a sign company for 14 years and I was the graphic designer, so using fonts and words has always been enjoyable for me. The wonderful thing about this series of designs is that I was able to use many of the creative talents God has given me to render these images - my art and design skills, my writing abilities, and my love of photography. Most of the images were done in PicMonkey, an online editing site that I really like. I have been a working artist for over 25 years, and currently teach fine art and design to children ages 4-16.
These designs are also for sale at my Zazzle store called "An Encouraging Word" if you would like to browse my products with these designs (I also have many other designs of other things there - nature, pit-bulls, flowers, scenes, art...)
And like I said before, feel free to share these images on Facebook and Pinterest. They are meant to bless people as I have been blessed.
Poll on these designs I made
Just out curiosity...
My Zazzle store and website
I hope you have enjoyed the Psalm 139 series of designs I have made. I am not done yet as I still have several more to memorize! Perhaps this will be a new way for me to learn more scripture and it has also been a wonderful creative outlet for me.
To see more designs and artwork like this you will find more of my art and photography at my website www.DorsiDiaz.com, and also at my 2 Zazzle Stores, "An Encouraging Word" and also my "Pit-Bull Granny" store (I love pitties too)
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the art!