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Psalm 139:10

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Psalm 139:10, ‘…even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.’

Verses 7-10 of Psalm 139 form something of a meditation on the inescapable presence of YHWH. David poetically maps out the heights (‘If I ascend to heaven’), the depths (‘If I make my bed in Sheol’), and the width (‘the wings of the morning’=the East; ‘the uttermost parts of the sea’=the West) of the cosmos, acknowledging the personal presence of the Lord with him in each of these hypothetical extremes.

Of course, its true that YHWH is present wherever we might go, but the poetic weightiness of David’s examples (Heaven, Sheol, the utter East and utter West were all inaccessible, and therefore mysterious, quasi-mythic locals) suggest that he has more than this in mind. The emphasis falls on the fact that YHWH is present in His personal, shepherding faithfulness to His people in every situation…in heights of joy, in depths of grief, in the disorientation of the unfamiliar, and the overwhelming magnitude of the incomprehensible, no matter the pain, loss, hardship, or fear—‘even there’ He leads and He holds.

And consider that, for YHWH to be present with His people in every ‘place,’ He Himself must be in—indeed, must descend to—every place (c.f., Is. 57:15). The omnipresence of the Lord is not a matter of cold theological speculation, rather, it is an expression of His personal faithfulness to His own…a faithfulness that descends and holds and leads even in the ‘Sheol’ of our darkest hour.

It is, therefore, not wholly insignificant that David envisions the merciful omnipresence of YHWH in the form of a cross inscribed upon the cosmos (heights, depths, and width). Indeed, it is only because YHWH is—from all eternity—the One whose outstretched arms embrace the incalculable span of our sufferings, who descends to the Sheol of our damnation and so raises us into the Heaven of His own life, it is only because He is *this one* that He is now and ever the one *with us* wherever we may be. It is only the hands wounded at the extremity of His people’s every conceivable suffering that now, ‘even there’ hold them in and lead them through those sufferings into glory.