************ Sermon on Psalm 139:13-18 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on January 17, 1999
"You Are Someone Special/Precious"
OCTOBER 5 – Today my life began. My parents do not know it yet for I am as small as a seed of an apple, but it is I already. And I am to be a girl. I shall have blond hair and blue eyes. Just about everything about me is settled already, even the fact that I shall love flowers.
OCTOBER 19 – Some say that I am not a real person yet, that only my mother exists. But I am a real person, just as a small crumb of bread is yet truly bread. My mother is. And I am.
OCTOBER 23 – My mouth is just beginning to open now. Just think, in a year or so I shall be laughing and later talking. I know what my first word will be: "Mamma."
OCTOBER 25 – My heart began to beat today all by itself. From now on it shall gently beat for the rest of my life without ever stopping to rest! And after many years it will tire. It will stop, and then I shall die.
NOVEMBER 2 – I am growing a bit every day. My arms and legs are beginning to take shape. But I have to wait a long time yet before those little legs will raise me to my mother's arms, before these little arms will be able to gather flowers and embrace my father.
NOVEMBER 12 – Tiny fingers are beginning to form on my hands. Funny how small they are! I'll be able to stroke my mother's hair with them.
NOVEMBER 20 – It wasn't until today that the doctor told mom that I am living here under her heart. Oh, how happy she must be! Are you happy, mom?
NOVEMBER 25 – My mom and dad are probably thinking about a name for me. But they don't even know that I am a little girl. I want to be called Kathy. I am getting so big already.
DECEMBER 10 – My hair is growing. It is smooth and bright and shiny. I wonder what kind of hair mom has.
DECEMBER 13 – I am just about able to see. It is dark around me. When mom brings me into the world it will be full of sunshine and flowers. But what I want more than anything is to see my mom. How do you look, mom?
DECEMBER 24 – I wonder if mom hears the whispering of my heart? Some children come into the world a little sick. But my heart is strong and healthy. It beats so evenly. You'll have a healthy little daughter, mom!
DECEMBER 28 – Today my mother killed me.
(Taken from the "Diary of an Unborn Child")
Christians are abhorred by this – and rightly so. We know and believe that every person is someone special/precious in God's sight. Every person – whether young or old, whether in the womb or on the death bed, whether whole and sound or disabled and disfigured, whether male or female, whether white or black – is special/precious to God.
What makes us special/precious to God? The words of our text from Psalm 139 tells us we are special/precious from conception on because we are persons and because we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I Special/Precious Because We Are A Person
A The basic question in the abortion issue is this: Does God consider the unborn to be a person? If the answer is "no," then we probably have the right to dispose of an unwanted fetus as if it were a tumor or burst appendix. If the answer is "yes," then we must treat the unborn with all the love and concern God requires us to show to all persons.
B Abortionists say and claim that what is in the womb is certainly not a person; it is nothing but a blob of tissue. But in the Bible God tells us that what is in the womb He knows as a person – a real, full, complete person. It is not a blob of tissue. It is a real person. In other words, we as Christians know and believe in the pre-birth existence of each and every person.
Inspired by the Spirit of God, David, in Psalm 139, speaks of his pre-birth existence:
(Ps 139:13) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.David could speak of "my" and "me" as existing before birth already. There is no doubt that David, under the inspiration of the Spirit, believes in the existence of his person and being before birth.
Not only that, but David confesses that God saw and knew him as a person from conception on:
(Ps 139:15-16) 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.The God Who keeps His eye on every sparrow so that not one falls to the ground without His knowledge and forbearance, also keeps His eye on David and you and me and every human being as it grows and develops in the womb. Before birth and conception He knows everything about us, including the number of the days of our life on this earth.
What we hear in Psalm 139 is affirmed in many other places in the Bible. I think of God's call of the prophet Jeremiah. This is what God says to Jeremiah:
(Jer 1:5) "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."God both knew and acknowledged Jeremiah as a person, as a human being, before he was born.
When the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and the power of the Most High overshadowed her, she was said to be "with child" (Lk 1:31; Mt 1:18). It is clear, isn't it, that Scripture affirms here the personhood of Jesus before birth?
Remember also the time a pregnant Mary went to visit her relative Elizabeth? Mary entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth.
(Lk 1:41-44) When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (42) In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! (43) But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (44) As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy..."Did you notice that what is inside Elizabeth's womb is credited with both human action and human emotion? The baby leaped and did so with joy! Inside Elizabeth's womb, obviously, is not just a blob of tissue but a person – a real, full, complete person.
C Personal experience and current medical technology also lets us know beyond any doubt that what is in the womb is a person – a real, full, complete person. Mothers, do you remember the first time you felt the kick of the baby inside of you? Or fathers, do you remember your wife reaching for your hand, allowing you to feel the movement of the child within her? I remember going to the hospital for a pre-birth peek at Christopher by way of an ultra-sound. Arms, legs, head, and trunk were clearly visible.
Abortionists claim that what is within the womb is but a blob of tissue. But we as Christians know better, don't we? God's Word, personal experience, and medical technology all tell us that what is inside the womb is someone special/precious. Inside the womb is a person – a real, full, complete person deserving all the love and concern that every person deserves.
II Special/Precious Because Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by God
A Psalm 139 also tells us that all humans are special/precious because they are made by God. Listen to David here:
(Ps 139:13) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
God made us. And that makes us special/precious; everyone of us is someone special/precious because we have been made by God. To fully understand this we have to go back to Genesis 1. Genesis 1, as you know, tells us about Creation. And over and over again it uses the word "good" to describe what God has made. It becomes clear that God did not make junk. Seven times God pronounces that His creation, the work of His hands, is good. "God saw all that he had made and it was very good," says the end of the creation account (Gen 1:31). Included in this goodness is humankind. We are part of God's good creation.
B In our Scripture reading there are two wonderfully descriptive words that are used to picture God's act of making or creating what is in the womb. The first word is found in verse 13. David says that God "knit me together in my mother's womb." The second word is found in verse 15. There David says "I was woven together in the depths of the earth."
Did you catch the two words? I am thinking of the words "knit" and "woven." Knitting is becoming a lost art. I remember watching my mother with fascination. She would have a ball of yarn on the floor by her feet. She would have a long knitting needle in both hands. A third needle would either be on her lap or between her arm and her side. A pattern would be sitting on the end table beside her. The needles would click and clack together, and somehow a sweater or a pair of wool socks or a baby's blanket would emerge.
The word for "woven" is actually the word for "embroider." It is the word used to describe the work of Aholiab – who was an embroiderer in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen (Ex 38:23). He used this skill to fashion the cloth for the Old Testament tabernacle. You ladies know what embroidery is – the little fancy stitches that are used to make lace or a doily or to decorate a piece of cloth.
David pictures the work of God within the womb as a knitting process. This tells me that God makes us according to a plan – His plan. He makes us so all the parts fit together just right and support one another. God also embroiders us within the womb. This says something about how intricate and complex we are. Look at it this way:
Topic: CreatorWe have been knitted and woven together by God. We are someone special/precious.
Title: It Works!
Man's body is a masterpiece of exquisite design. Beautifully "engineered," it is governed by several hundred systems of control -- each interacting with and affecting the other. His brain has 10 billion nerve cells to record what he sees and hears. His skin has more than 2 million tiny sweat glands -- about 3000 per square inch -- all part of the intricate system which keeps his body at an even temperature. A "pump" in his chest makes his blood travel 168 million miles a day -- equivalent of 6720 times around the world! The lining of his stomach contains 35 million glands secreting juices which aid the process of digestion. And these are but a few of the involved processes and chemical wonders which operate to sustain his life.
C David speaks not only of being made by God. He also speaks of the wonder of that act:
(Ps 139:14) I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
David knew nothing about conception as we know it. He didn't know that each of us starts as a single cell that comes from the union of a sperm and an egg. Then that cell divides into two, then four, then eight, then sixteen, on and on to millions and billions of cells. A great scientist once pointed out that at a certain stage in this process one particular cell appears. This one cell, as it divides, will become a human brain. Everything needed to learn to talk, to write, to play music or softball is in that one cell. All we need to learn to argue or give up an argument; every ability to be surprised, thoughtful, or bored; every raw material for thinking, imagining, or planning – all of it is in this single cell that keeps dividing and dividing until one day it becomes that trillion-cell wonder, the human brain.
David knew nothing of this, yet he can say, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." What does David have in mind here? David remembers how God made Adam. I am awed every time I read about man's creation:
(Gen 2:7) the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground ...Like Adam, every human is made, formed, created by God. Like Adam, we all have been made from clay (Job 33:6); "all come from dust, and to dust all return" (Ecc 3:20). We have been fearfully and wonderfully made. Look through Genesis. You will see there that all of the universe and everything in it was simply voiced into being. But not man. Man alone was made by the hand of God and formed from the dust of the earth. We are someone special/precious.
God made us. And, He gave us life and breath. Go back to the creation of Adam. What did God do after He formed Adam from the dust of the ground? He
(Gen 2:7) ... breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.And, what God did for the dust that became Adam, He does for every person. Job's friend, Elihu, can say:
(Job 33:4) The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.To the wise men of Athens the Apostle Paul says that God,
(Acts 17:25) ... gives all men life and breath and everything else ... (28) 'For in him we live and move and have our being.'Of everything in creation we alone have been granted life by means of the breath of God. The life-giving Spirit was breathed into us alone. We have been fearfully and wonderfully made. We are someone special/precious.
But that's not all we can say. Turn once again to the creation of Adam. What do we read there? God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness" (Gen 1:26). "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him" (Gen 1:27). Man, and man alone, is made in the image of God. We have been fearfully and wonderfully made. We are someone special/precious.
Human life is special/precious. From conception on, every one of us is a person. From conception on every person is fearfully and wonderfully made by God.
The opportunities are limitless for you and I to affirm this specialness/preciousness of life. I hope and pray that each one of us will do what we can to observe the sanctity of life.
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