VERSE OF THE DAY
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
This is a personal verse for me as Psalm139 is my ultimate favorite scripture from the good book.
We all are masterpieces of God’s amazing handy workmanship made in the beginning by God in our mother’s womb and continued in the care of our mother after birth into this earthly world as a child of God our Heavenly Father. I raise my praise and spirit in voice because I am fearfully and wonderfully made by your works you mastered me in the beginning of time in amazing works of wonder I know this over all. No one can master your hand God I am made in great love and great works of thy hand.You have seen the perfect image of me before I was formed you saw this in you God the image of yourself.
The exquisite description of the development of a tiny human form from conception to birth, is a message that speaks of the omniscience and omnipresence of the Lord, during the development of every child in the womb of their mother.
The growth of the unborn baby, is one beautiful example of the manifestation of the Lord’s magnificent wisdom in His unfolding plan of redemption. Indeed, the language and content of this special song of praise, dictates that every unborn child should be treated with great respect – and that God should be glorified in the formation of each little embryo, and every unborn baby.
For the first 12 verses of this well-loved Psalm, the writer lays out the doctrine of God’s omniscience and omnipresence. He outlines the master-plan of our Creator, Who determined at the beginning, that man should be fruitful and multiply, and that he should fill the earth with his seed. God determined from the beginning that a man would leave his father and mother and be united with his wife… and together, they would become one flesh – not only spiritually but physically.
God is the Creator of the human embryo, and speaking of the moment of conception, the psalmist writes, “For thou hast possessed my reins. You formed my innermost parts. You have covered me in my mother’s womb.” This beautifully explains that the Lord is the Originator and Owner of the little life within the womb. God’s supreme sovereignty over every newly formed life, is the meaning behind this verse, “for the Lord formed my inward parts. The Lord wove me together in my mother’s womb.”
God has the ownership rights over every human life, which should be treated with reverence and respect, but too often the Lord is held in contempt by those He knitted together at their conception – and too frequently the value of the unborn is considered inconsequential, or a matter of unfortunate inconvenience.
The womb of the mother should be a place of safety, where the unborn is nurtured. The secret place in the bowels of the mother should be a place of peace and protection, but too often the rights of the unborn are not valued, nor are they treated with awe-struck wonderment.
God in His grace, takes an interest in the life of every conception, for each one is specially created. The Lord forms and fashions every single one, and the psalmist rejoices that God lays out the life-plan of each – and schedules every day of our lives.
Psalm 139 is a most beautiful sacred song, which brings our rapt attention to the hallowed essence of the child in utero, and of God’s sovereign role in each little life. While this Psalm can excite our wonder and praise, it can also stir up much regret and deep-seated grief, in those that may have wittingly or unwittingly participated in an abortion, or been instrumental in the termination of an unborn child.
Though abortion is a sin, and the loss of life through terminating a pregnancy is a travesty, Jesus died to pay the price for the sin of every man and woman, including this one. The Lord offers cleansing and forgiveness for the unsaved sinner, who in recognising their need of salvation, trusts that Christ is the acceptable sacrifice for their sin – including the sin of abortion.
There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, for He even gives forgiveness and healing to those who commit this sin, both in their pre-salvation and post-salvation life – for if we, who have been justified by faith, confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – including this one.
Let us read through this beautiful Psalm of David, and recognise that the life of the unborn is given as a sacred trust, and that God is sovereign over all living things – and let us give Him all the praise and glory for the wonder of life.
What Does Psalm 139 Mean by “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”?
To be fearfully and wonderful made includes every person from the womb to the tomb as human beings who bear the image of God. “Fearfully and wonderfully made” means God intimately knows every person and all humanity belongs to Him.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
Psalm 139: Its Context and Meaning
In Psalm 139, the closing request, “search me, O God, and know my heart,” echoes the opening statement (“you have searched me and know me”). David, the Psalmist of Psalm 139, uses the word “know” (Psalm 139:1-2, 4, 6, 23) to communicate the Lord’s intimate knowledge of His people.
Then he moves in Psalm 139:7-12 to focus on how there is nowhere in the universe to run away from the knowledge of the Lord. In Psalm 139:13-16, David illustrates this by describing life in a very dark place, the mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:17-18 then exclaims how delightful the knowledge of God is. Then, in Psalm 139:19-22 he affirms his loyalty to the Lord and in Psalm 119:23-24, invites Him to examine his inner life by purging him from all that hinders his walking in “the way everlasting.”
“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” Meaning 1: God Intimately Knows Us.
Because all humanity is fearfully and wonderfully made, the Creator and Lord knows the hairs on our head and has such detailed and precise knowledge of our lives down to the very nanosecond of when we will be born, live, and die.
To know we are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Lord, we need to understand the smallest details of our lives occur according to the plan of the Lord (Ephesians 1:11).
Psalm 139:14 contributes to our understanding of this subject by highlighting the all-knowing, all-present, and complete knowledge of the Lord. Such knowledge reveals the Lord is not a casual observer who takes knowledge in as we do.
“I will praise you” (Psalm 139:14) because:
• The Lord ordains everything from eternity past to eternity future and everywhere in between.
• The Lord who is holy, good, and just also sustains and governs and brings all things to pass from the creation of the cosmos to the functioning of our cells in our bodies.
Now that we have some understanding of who we are speaking about in the Lord, we now can begin to answer the question posed at the beginning of this article.
“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” Meaning 2: All Humanity Belongs to its Creator, God.
Because all humanity is fearfully and wonderfully made by the Lord, He owns all humanity as well as the rest of the world He created, governs, and sustains.
Psalm 139:13-16 expands upon David’s earlier reference to the divine presence of the Lord, showing how His presence is so intimate that even in the mother’s womb, He carefully knits people together. By using this imagery, the Psalmist pictures the Lord attending to the details of his life as a knitter must pay close attention to knit a blanket to not produce a tangled mess.
The following truths also flow from this beautiful imagery used by David in Psalm 139:
• Because all humanity is fearfully and wonderfully made, all life is sacred (Genesis 9:6).
• Because all humanity is fearfully and wonderfully made, humanity is the pinnacle of creation created to resemble God and to fill the earth through procreation with fellow image-bearers of God.
• Because all humanity is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, all humanity should be treated with dignity and respect.
We Are “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” But Need Redemption from Sin.
We also know from Genesis 2:16-17 that Adam was commanded not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Since Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, all humanity are now sinners by nature (Psalm 51) and by choice (Psalm 14:2-3; Romans 3:10-18).
Jesus, the Second Adam, fulfills God’s image-bearing purposes. The image of God in man marred by the Fall can only begin to be restored through faith in the finished and sufficient work of Christ (Romans 10:7-17; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
One day the image of God will be fully restored when the people of God shall be entirely like Jesus (Romans 8:31-39). The Apostle Paul speaks to this particular issue when he talks about “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15). Jesus is the image of God that God the Father intended Adam to be in the Garden of Eden. Christians united to Christ by faith are now seen by God the Father as His adopted children, daily being conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-30) in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24).
Let’s now turn to consider how the following three truths relate to our previous points mentioned in the earlier sections of this article and how they relate today to our lives as Christians.
How Can We Live Like You and I Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made?
Christians are the possession of the Lord, the apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:10). This reality should cause those who have been made holy by the Lord and whose sins have been forgiven because of the finished and sufficient work of Jesus (1 Peter 1:13-25) to now live rightly before the Lord who is holy and just in all of His ways.
1. Remember your divine Creator.
John Calvin states in his commentary on Psalms 119-150, “One great reason for the carnal security into which we fall, is not considering how singularly we were fashioned at first by our Divine Maker.”
Christians must understand since the Lord is Creator and Lord over His people, they belong to Him, and has every right to intrude into their lives and discipline “the one he loves” (Hebrews 12:6). Since the Lord is just, He will also deliver divine justice against sin (Hebrews 9:27).
2. Speak to others, who are also fearfully and wonderfully made, about Christ.
Christians are taught to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5), and to be salt and light (Matthew 5:10-12). Since Christians have been saved by Christ and are the possession of Christ and now have new desires for Christ, Christians should tell others about Christ.
Christians should speak on biblical, ethical, moral, and social issues to point people to the finished and sufficient work of Christ. So, let’s as God’s people get to pointing people to Jesus who is Wonderful, altogether Righteous, and who now empowers His people through the Holy Spirit to tell others of glad tidings and good news of salvation in Christ alone.
“For you formed my inward parts. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works. My soul knows it very well.”
I love this chapter in the Bible. These verses. Just picture the psalmist overwhelmed by the beauty and the wonder, the majesty of God’s work in the womb. The way he crafted you and me formed our inward parts knit us together. What a picture of what is happening in the womb. God himself is wonderfully forming a child in his image and this is you. This is me. Don’t get over this. Just let it soak in where you are right now. You have been crafted, formed by God himself.
We praise God for crafting us together. He has made everyone fearfully and wonderfully in His image. May we promote the beauty and wonder of Psalm 139 throughout the world.
You know, I think we all have tendencies to think, “Oh, I wish I looked this way. I wish I had this gift. I wish I had what that person has.” Stop, stop and realize you have been fearfully and wonderfully made by God himself. You have been knit together by his hands. I think about the special needs area of our church and the families and children and adults with disabilities that are a part of our church and I see amidst what the world might say is not wonderful. I see the good hand of God creating every single person fearfully and wonderfully. Now to be sure none of our bodies are perfect in this world and there is coming a day when all of our bodies will be resurrected. “For those who have trusted in Jesus will be resurrected perfectly like his glorious body.” 1 Corinthians chapter 15 we cling to that truth. We cleaned that hope. When our bodies are aching, we cling to that truth and that hope amidst special physical needs that we experience in our lives, our families and church family around us, we cling to that hope.
At the same time, we don’t for a second doubt that God has done a wonderful work and every single person he has crafted and created and as a result we work to promote the beauty of this picture. Especially when we think about the sin of abortion. Taking this child being crafted, knit together by God himself and removing its life, interrupting this wonderful work God is doing. And I know there are people listening to this right now who likely have had abortions or encouraged abortions or supported abortions. And I would just encourage you to bring that before God, to confess sin, confess de-valuing and a dishonoring of his work in the womb and to receive mercy to receive mercy. And if you have confessed this before God, to be reminded of mercy. He loves you. He loves you so much. You don’t walk around with a scarlet A on you. You have been forgiven by God according to his abundant mercy, restored to God and all glory be to his name for the beauty you now see in Psalm 139 and the beauty you can promote in the world around us that we all are called to promote.
Like abortion, this is not merely a political issue. This is a biblical issue and it’s not just about children. It’s about beautiful women created in the image of God, who God is doing this work in their womb. It’s about men who are by God’s grace, a powerful part of seeing new life created. This about all of us saying, how can we glorify God in a culture that is missing the beauty and the wonder, in a world that’s missing the beauty and the wonder of Psalm 139.
Oh God, help us we pray. We praise you for creating, crafting, forming, knitting us together and our mother’s womb. Every single one of us. We praise you for the way you have made us. Help us to see ourselves today. I pray this just over everybody. Listen to this life. Help us to see ourselves today as fearfully and wonderfully made in your image by you and, oh God, we pray you’d help us to work. Help us work to promote the beauty and the wonder and the majesty of what we read here in Psalm 139. God, we pray. We pray that right now there would be someone who is considering abortion, someone who is about to perform an abortion, God, that they would not do it. God that by your grace you would keep that life from being taken. Oh, God, we pray for that right now and pray that you’d use our lives, our families, our churches, to work for life, life in children, life in women and men, and who you’ve created us to be as beautifully crafted in your image. To experience the wonder of being made by you. Help us, Oh God, to promote life in children, in women in men as your image bearers, as those who have been crafted and formed in your image. For your glory. We praise you for Psalm 139. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.
What does it mean to be fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)?
Psalm 139:14 makes the well-known statement, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” This verse is often quoted, especially in discussions regarding the Christian pro-life position, but what does it mean?
First, these words are a clear statement about the amazing capabilities of the human body God has created. Our bodies are made of billions of cells and a myriad of parts that can only be adequately explained by a loving and wise Creator and Designer (Genesis 1:26-27).
Second, this verse gives an indication of our value from God’s perspective. He designed us. Much care is involved in the creation of each human being. As the verses immediately following Psalm 139:14 say, “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
Third, this verse reveals the inestimable worth of all human life. A direct application of this verse is the protection of life at all levels, from the womb to the final breath of a person’s life. This is why Christians care deeply about the protection of life in the womb (Psalm 139:13), caring for those mistreated or undervalued by others in society (Proverbs 31:8-9), and for the elderly and those with terminal illnesses. As 1 John 4:19 shares, “We love because he first loved us.”
Fourth, God’s qualities of having all power (omnipotence) and all knowledge (omniscience) are revealed in this verse. God asked Job, “Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind?” (Job 38:36). It’s a rhetorical question; the answer is, of course, “God.” No one else can take the credit for creating every person. No one else knows each person at the most intimate level. The same God who created the universe (Genesis 1:1) also knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7).
Finally, in this verse we find yet another reason to worship the Lord Almighty. He has created us in such wisdom, power, and love, and the only proper response is to honor Him and glorify His name. As the Psalms note elsewhere, “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God” (Psalm 86:8-10).
“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” – What Does Psalm 139:14 Mean?
I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Beautiful words, right?
More so, the whole passage this verse comes from is full of beautiful poetry. But what does “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” mean?
Is it as simple as it sounds? God thinks I’m wonderful and uh…I guess fearful at the same time. I get it, easy peasy.
Ha, close but no cigar.
The meaning behind this famous verse is beautifully simplistic and also oceans deep. Which could also be true for the entire Bible, which is why we love this extraordinary book so darn much, right? Keeps us on our toes.
The meaning behind Psalm 139:14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” is honestly ridiculously revelatory and I have to say, my own sense of self-worth bumped up like, 3 notches after doing this study.
I hope it’ll do the same for you because it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, you my friend, are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Let’s dive in!
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Meaning
Have you ever looked in the mirror and told yourself that you are average, inadequate, or not enough? If so, then you’re not seeing yourself the way God sees you.
You are not seeing yourself as a result of God’s divine creation.
Listen to what God says about you:
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”
Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
This verse is nestled inside of Psalm 139 which might just be one of my favorite psalms because it is full of meaning and comforting passages about how God is an ever-present presence in our lives.
God is constantly aware of our problems and needs.
However, the key verse we want to highlight is, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. This is probably not a new verse for you. Maybe you’ve heard it before at church, or at least seen it on Pinterest boards, Instagram posts, or perhaps even t-shirts.
But, what does I am fearfully and wonderfully made even mean?
In Psalm 139:14, the psalmist, David, is praising God because he is overwhelmed by the majesty of a God who could create him in such an intricate and unique way.
David is in complete awe of our amazing God.
However, to say, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” while praising God is kind of an odd thing to do, right?
So, let’s look a bit closer at what’s going on here.
The word “wonderfully” is the Hebrew word “pala”, which means to be separate, distinguished, or unique. Basically it means that God made you to be special.
No, I’m not trying to flatter you, it really means that!
There is no one else like you. You are the only you that God has ever created. God made you to be special, distinguished, and unique.
But this verse doesn’t end with you simply being wonderfully made, it says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The “wonderfully” part might be easier to understand without needing a deeper level of explanation.
But the fearfully part?! That’s a very interesting word for David to use isn’t it?
The word “fearfully” used in this passage of scripture is the Hebrew word “yare”, which is the same word the Bible uses when referring to have a “fear of the Lord”.
When the Bible speaks of “fearing the Lord”, it doesn’t mean we are to be terrified of God. We aren’t to be constantly walking on eggshells, quivering in fear before God. Instead, what “fear of the Lord” is referring to is we are to have a respect and reverence for God.
Here’s a few examples of how the fear of the Lord is used in the Bible in reference to respecting and revering God:
“One the third day Joseph said to them, ‘I am a God-fearing man. If you do as I say, you will live.’”
Genesis 42:18 (NLT)
“And because the midwives feared God, He gave them families of their own.”
Exodus 1:21 (NLT)
In these verses the word “fear” isn’t used in reference to being absolutely terrified of God, but instead to have a deep respect and reverence for God. We follow God and obey God because we respect His ways and who He is.
We stand in awe of how great and mighty our God is and we come to Him in praise because He is worthy of our praise.
Praising God because God is worthy of our praise is exactly what David is doing in Psalm 139:14. David is coming to the Lord saying, “Lord, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!”.
It may sound ever so slightly self-absorbed but it’s actually not at all. It’s like David is saying, “Lord, how great is your work, except your “work” is me! Therefore, how great am I?
However, I am only great because it is the greatness of God that makes me great. In the same way, I am only wonderful because God’s wonderfulness makes me wonderful.
You see, it was God that created your innermost being and it was God that knitted you together in your mother’s womb.
Psalm 139 says:
“For you created my innermost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
So what David is saying is, “Lord, I praise you because of how amazing you made me!”. David is praising God, because of how amazing God made David to be.
Every single person is a masterpiece of God. Think about it, there’s seven billion people on the planet, but there is no one else with your finger print, or with your retina scan.
You are unique.
You are an original design.
Diamonds are expensive because they are rare, but you’re not rare. You’re the only one that exists. Or will ever exist!!
That makes you priceless.
You are a masterpiece. You are a priceless work of art. It is because God is wonderful, that we are wonderful.
Now let’s take it one step further, it is because we are to fear God that we are fearfully made.
Remember the word “fearfully” here is the Hebrew word “yare” which means to respect, to revere, to honor, to stand in awe of, and to be afraid of.
So, when God says you are fearfully made, what He means is when God made you, He made you full of respect, reverence, honor, and awe.
It is because God is worthy of respect, that we are respectfully made.
It is because God is worthy of reverence, that we are made in reverence.
It is because God is worthy of honor, that we are made in honor.
It is because we stand in awe of God, that we are an awe-inspiring creation.
Everything that we are first comes from the source of everything that He is.
We are made in the image of God.
Remember that when David wrote Psalm 139:14, David was praising God, because of how amazing God created David to be.
However, what is the opposite of praise? It’s criticism. So, when we say we are worthless, not enough, or insignificant, we are not only criticizing ourselves, but we are also criticizing the God who made us!
Think about that.
When you criticize yourself, you are also criticizing the God who made you. But God doesn’t make mistakes.
Psalm 18 says:
“As for God, His way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.”
God’s way is perfect, and His Word is flawless. That means when God’s Word says that He created your innermost being, then that means God designed you exactly the way He wanted you to be.
“For you created my innermost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Psalm 139:13 (NIV)
When God’s Word says you are His masterpiece, then you really are His masterpiece.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
When you look at yourself and everything that makes you (your giftings, your anointings, and your talents), you should stand in awe of what God has created in you.
You should thank Him and honor Him for everything He has given you, and the gift of life He has bestowed upon you.
To be fearfully and wonderfully made is not just a feel-good Bible verse, there is real power and authority that comes with being fearfully and wonderfully made. The same Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you.
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.”
Romans 8:11 (NLT)
Never give into the lie that you are anything less than the most wonderful reflection of our glorious God, who is worthy of honor and praise. Remember, you are made in the image and likeness of God.
So, just as David did, give God all the glory and praise because of how fearfully and wonderfully He has made you!
What does Psalm 139:13 mean?
Scripture credits God with creating children long before they are physically born. David addresses God as having formed his inner being before birth. Job says something similar: “You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews” (Job 10:11).
We know from Genesis 1:27 that we were created in the image of God. This passage also reveals that God wove us together in the womb. We are, therefore, not a product of randomness or nature, but of God’s omnipotent handiwork. God crafted each person in his or her mother’s womb to be a distinct individual. We owe our existence to Him and not to happenstance.
Because of this, human life both before and after birth is sacred. The unborn child is not simply tissue to be discarded at the mother’s discretion. Since every human being is created in the image of God, it is a heinous sin to commit murder, whether by aborting the unborn, killing oneself, or taking someone else’s life in an act of rage. Every person, whether male or female, no matter the ethnicity, age, or political persuasion, is someone made in the image of God and known completely by Him. Believers are called upon to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:44); often that begins by first acknowledging their inherent worth as a human knit together by God.
Psalm 139:13–16 describes God’s omnipotence: His attribute of being all-powerful. The psalmist, David, described God’s omniscience in verses 1–6 and His omnipresence in verses 7–12. In this section, he links omnipotence to the way God created the writer in his mother’s womb.
In this psalm David marvels at God’s amazing characteristics. God knows everything about him: where he goes, all David’s thoughts and everything about his conduct. The Lord knows what David will say even before David says it. There is no place David can go that God isn’t already present. David marvels at God’s creative work in the womb. He is thankful for God’s innumerable thoughts for him and for God’s presence day and night. Finally, David’s thoughts turn to the wicked. He considers them God’s enemies and his, and longs for God to slay them. David is disgusted by evil people because they rail against God and take His name in vain. He asks God to search his heart to see if any sin is there, and he asks God to lead him in the way everlasting