Psalm 139 Known and Loved

Janet Aucoin October 22, 2021

Imagine someone knowing everything about you. Even the deepest, darkest parts of who you are and how you think that you don't want to acknowledge, even to yourself... Imagine Someone does know and does see - and loves you dearly anyway. This is the kind of love we find in our Creator. Janet and Alexandra take a long look at Psalm 139 to see how we are both fully known and fully loved.

Main Passage: Psalm 139

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Gospel Primer part 2 - Milton Vincent

Gentle and Lowly - Dane Ortlund

Systematic Theology doctrine of justification (Wayne Grudem, John Frame, John MacArthur)


Removing Idols of the Heart - Tim Keller


Known - Tauren Wells

Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.
Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no brainer as possible for ladies to see that
the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.
Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.
Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of
my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to
inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as
women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy. Typically, I’ll be joined by either
Jocelyn or Alexandra, but for our first full episode listen as all three of us discuss the topic of
Janet: Welcome back once again. I'm Janet, here with my friend and co-host, Alexandra.
Alexandra: Hi guys.
Janet: So today we'd like to dig into a Psalm that I've been familiar with since I was a new
believer. But my love for it has grown so much as my understanding has deepened. So if you're
somewhere where you can grab a Bible, we're going to head to Psalm 139.
Alexandra: Now I know the Psalm and it's quoted a lot, but I don't think people read to the end of
the Psalm every time they quote it.
Janet: Truth.
Alexandra: You know? I read to the end of the Psalm and it's pretty shocking at the end.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And I am curious on how people get to that point. So I'm really excited to go through
this today and hear what you have to teach about it because the end of the Psalm, it's pretty
Janet: So you know that everybody listening has just looked at the end of the Psalm now. What?
Alexandra: Like the last chapter of the book.
Janet: That's right. Don't, don't cheat. Well, before we even talk about the Psalm, let's think about
the writer of this Psalm which is king David. So, Alexandra, when you hear David, what are
some of the things that most people would say they know about David?
Alexandra: Well, I think the two most famous stories about David are the story of David and
Goliath, and then David's sin with Bathsheba and all that surrounds that.
Janet: Which is pretty amazing that those would be the two stories. Like how opposite could they
Alexandra: Right.
Janet: You know, David and Goliath, look how David was so strong. David witBathsheba. What?
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: So what do we know about David? And I think that's going to be really important as we
read the Psalm. Well, he was the youngest of seven. We're told that the prophet Samuel is told
that one of Jesse's sons-- he's one of Jesse's sons-- is going to be the next king. And when Samuel
comes and talks to Jesse saying, Hey, which one of your sons do you think it will be? They don't
even bother bringing David. He's the youngest and he's out as a shepherd. So God chooses him
from obscurity. It is true, God gave him some pretty scary times after God chose him. The
current king, Saul, decides it'd be better if David were dead. And he goes after David, and he
does try to kill him. But as a result, David sees the power of God on his behalf and protecting
him in ways we probably never will. So now David, who's a, nobody, chosen by God, has been
on the run and seen the power of God in his life. Amazingly, when he has an opportunity to kill
the king, doesn't. And he gets to see how God orchestrates all the events to get him to be king
without him even clamoring for it. He waits patiently on God, and God makes it happen. So
David has seen the graciousness of God in choosing him. David has seen the power of God
protecting him. David has seen the faithfulness of God's word, that God said he'd be king. And
he didn't even try to do it. And God made him king. He has seen all of that. And in 2 Samuel 8,
God tells the prophet, Samuel, this: Now go and say to my servant, David, this is what the Lord
of heaven's armies has declared. I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to
be the leader of my people, Israel. I've been with you wherever you've gone, and I've destroyed
all your enemies before your eyes. Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who's ever
lived on the earth. And I will provide a homeland for my people, Israel. Planting them in a secure
place where they'll never be disturbed. Evil nations won't oppress them as they've done in the
past. Starting from the time I appointed judges to rule my people, Israel. And I will give you rest
from all your enemies. Furthermore, the Lord declares that he will make a house for you. A
dynasty of kings. So Samuel is telling David, God reminds him of his history and then says, this
is how I'm going to exalt and honor you, David. And then here's David's response. Then king
David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed. Who am I? Oh, sovereign Lord. And what's
my family that you've brought me this far? And now sovereign YAWEH, in addition to
everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty. Do you deal with everyone
this way, oh, sovereign Lord? What more can I say to you? You know what your servant's really
like sovereign Lord. Because of your promise and according to your will, you've done all these
great things and have made them known to your servant. How great are you, oh, sovereign Lord!
There's no one like you, we've never even heard of another god like you Now, at this point we're
thinking, yes. And David is so grateful. And this we can understand God saying about David. He
was a man after God's own heart. But three chapters later, we read this. So now I'm in second,
Samuel 11. In the spring, at the time when Kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the
King's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.
But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening, David got up from his bed and walked around
on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful
and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, she's Bathsheba. The daughter of
Eliam and the wife of Uriah, the Hittite who is David's friend. So David knows this. Then David
sent messengers to get her. She came to him and he slept with her. Now she was purifying herself
from her monthly uncleanness. Then she went back home, the woman conceived and sent word
to David saying, I'm pregnant. So David sent this word to Joab, send me Uriah, the Hittite. And
Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the
soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, go down to your house and
wash your feet. So Uriah left the palace and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah
slept at the entrance to the palace with all of his master's servants and did not go down to his
house. David was told Uriah, didn't go home. So he asked Uriah, haven't you just come from a
military campaign. Why didn't you go home? Uriah said to David, the Ark and Israel and Judah
are staying in tents. And my commander, Joab and my Lord's men are camped in the open
country. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as
you live, I will not do such a thing. Then David said to him, stay here one more day and
tomorrow I'll send you back. So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. At David's
invitation. He ate and drank with him and David made him drunk. But in the evening, Uriah went
out to sleep on his mat among his master's servants. He did not go home in the morning. David
wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it, he wrote, put Uriah out in front where the
fighting is fiercest, then withdraw from him. So he will be struck down and die. Let that sink in.
David knows God. David has seen God's power and protection and experienced his blessing and
David rapes and murders and covers it. There's so much we could say about that. Uriah and the
honor, and David had all those examples of watching Uriah's honor and could have chosen
humility any of those moments and he didn't. Over and over. That's amazing. So while we don't
have time to do a whole deep dive into all of what that meant for David, I want you to know
that's who he is.
Alexandra: Yeah. And that's the context going into this Psalm.
Janet: Yes. So that's the David who wrote this Psalm and now let's see what he says. So
Alexandra, can you read verses one to six for us?
Alexandra: Sure. Lord, you have searched me and known me, you know, when I sit down and
when I rise up, you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways, even before a word is on my tongue behold, oh Lord. You
know it altogether. You hem me in behind and before. And lay your hand upon me. Such
knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high and I cannot attain it.
Janet: I used to read this, like it was a hallmark card. You know, like, oh, he knows everything
about me. And it was like, he said, I just love you and you're amazing. I just want to be known
lik that. I get that. But we just have to really think about what this really means. David is saying,
you know, everything. That's not a hallmark card. That's actually kind of terrifying.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: He says, you know, my thoughts. Think about that. You know, my words before I say
them, you know, my actions before I do them, you know, my thoughts. So think about what that
would mean for David. You know what I've done, you know that I did it after I've seen your
power. You know, that I didn't even repent. You know, that instead of repenting, I added to rape
and I'm calling it rape. I know that we talk about it as adultery frequently, but the reality is when
the king calls you, I'm not sure Bathsheba had a lot of choice.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: He had a position of power and that's how he used it. We need to hear that for the horror
that it is. We don't need to minimize that because it's David, David is saying, you know,
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: And I have to tell you, even when I think about that in my life, it makes me want to go,
can I just have 10 minutes where God can't get in my head? Like I wouldn't want you Alexandra
to know all my thoughts. When I think,
Alexandra: Same, I mean,
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: That’s all of us.
Janet: Yeah. It's terrifying when I think, oh, my word, it's hard enough that I need to ask your
forgiveness when I say something unkind. But if I needed to tell you every time I had an unkind
thought or an evil thought or a deviant thought. I'm grateful that nobody can read my thoughts.
Alexandra: And, you know, if you think about David, he had many years of prosperity leading up
to that sin with Bathsheba.
Janet: Yep.
Alexandra: I mean, to commit that deep of a sin, like it was thousands of little choices.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Little compromises leading up to that point.
Janet: Yep.
Alexandra: In his years of prosperity leading up to that. And so when he finally was open before
the Lord and repentant, knowing that God saw not only these big sins, but all the thousands of
little moments where he compromised.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: He says, you know, that.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: You see it all.
Janet: And at, not knowing where that's going to lead, what I believe when you read the next
verses, his initial reaction is that's terrifying. I don't want anyone in my head, including God.
And I want away. Now maybe I'm overreacting. Let's see. Why don't you read verses seven to 12
for us.
Alexandra: Where shall I go from your spirit or where shall I flee from your presence? If I
ascend to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol you are there. If I take the wings of
the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there, your hand shall lead me and
your right hand shall hold me. If I say surely the darkness shall cover me in the light about me be
light. Even the darkness is not dark to you. The night is as bright as the day for darkness is as
light with you,
Janet: how interesting David is saying, if I just go as far east as I can, you're there. If I go as far
west as I can, you're there. I can't get away from you. Well, why might he want to given what
God knows about him?
Alexandra: Yep.
Janet: And then he says, maybe I'll hide in the dark with the darks. I can't get away from. Not
even darkness covers him. And if you think about that's what we want to do, if you want to hide,
what do you do? You get in the dark?
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: Darkness and light are alike to God. So we already see, David saying, you know,
everything about me and that's not a hallmark card. You know the good, the bad and the ugly.
And I wish I could just get away from you, but I can't.
Alexandra: And if people, I mean, some people could be saying like, cause you know, we're
going to get to verse 14.
Janet: Yes, yes.
Alexandra: We're going to get there. And that's a very famous verse. In case anyone is thinking,
okay, is this a stretch? Is it not? Well, look at verse seven, where can I go from your spirit? why
would he even ask that?
Janet: Exactly.
Alexandra: Why would he want that? There's shame there.
Janet: Yes. Yes. So it's fascinating that when I first read this Psalm, I didn't see any of that.
Alexandra: Oh, me neither.
Janet: It's like, oh, isn't that nice? And I read it as there is nowhere that you won't be with me.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: Isn't that awesome. But that's not what he says. He says, where can I go?
Alexandra: Where can I flee from you?
Janet: Yeah. Where could I, and then I totally get it. When I think about Oh my word, somebody
reading all my thoughts, where can I get away from that?
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: Because what they would see brings shame. You're absolutely right. And then he goes on,
read verses 13 to 16 for me.
Alexandra: For you formed my inward parts. You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I
praise you for I'm fearfully and wonderfully made wonderful are your works. My soul knows it
very well. My frame was not hidden from you for 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.
And so I just read in the ESV and I know,
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Sometimes you like to teach from this, but in a different version.
Janet: Yes, because I love. Initially. When I read verse 14, which is the one that most of us know
when your version says I am fearfully and wonderfully made marvelous are your works and that
my soul knows right well. I don't know if that's your version or not. That's the way I memorized
it. So that's an earlier version. It leaves the impression that I'm marvelous. I'm wonderful. I love
how the NLT says this because I believe it's more accurate. Verse 14 says thank you for making
me so wonderfully complex. Your workmanship is marvelous. How well I know it. And I love
that because the emphasis of this is God is amazing. And think about the fact that my body
works, we are wonderfully complex and God's works are marvelous. So any fault is not God's.
And David is making that distinction. I want to hide from you in part, because it's all me and not
you. He says you knew me from conception and he even says you knew every one of my days
before there was one of them. And I think in that beautiful, except what does that mean? He
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: He means before I was born, you knew that after I had seen your goodness and your power
and your protection and your love that I would do what I did.
Alexandra: Ok, there is so much to unpack with that, Janet. I mean, my mind's going a million
places. So if we even, the version that you read from it really points to the Creator.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And so often we, cause it says, how wonderful, what is it? Can you read that one?
Janet: It says, He made us wonderfully complex. How marvelous are his works!
Alexandra: I love that because I think that when we hear, you know, I am fearfully and
wonderfully made. It's so often it's used kind of in the worst of ways. It's about me.
Janet: I am.
Alexandra: I... look at me, I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. And I honestly, I hear it most
often quoted when someone is struggling with what some people call low self-esteem
Janet: or their identity in some way.
Alexandra: Yeah. Yeah. And honestly, I think it's taken out of context to help maybe be a
band-aid when I want to feel like I'm valuable to the world. And I see the reality that I'm not. It's
just an inferior truth. And what it really means here is just so much better.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Yes, I went on a missions trip when I was, in high school. And, one of the things I
just remember they taught was, you know, the seven days of creation. God, rest on the seventh
day. But you know, on the sixth day he made man, and that you are the masterpiece, you know,
God created all these things and then God...
Janet: Building up to...
Alexandra: right the masterpiece. Man is the masterpiece, men and women. And I feel like that's
how people can use this verse to really hold up the idea of that.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: Like we are God's masterpiece.
Janet: Yes. Yes.
Alexandra: But you know, if that was true, that I am just so wonderful and amazing and look at
how cool God is for making me so wonderful and amazing. I mean, the last thing that I would
want to do is say, God, show me how wicked I am.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: You know.
Janet: I'd have to hide from that.
Alexandra: Right. And I know we're going to get to that.
Janet: Yeah, I totally agree. I totally agree. And to think, it can seem like, we have just taken
hope away from women. But I think by the end, you're going to see we've just given them so
much better. But this, we don't get the right to make this verse about us when it's just not.
Alexandra: Yes. I love also how in verse 16, it says in your book were written every one of them,
the days that were formed for me. It's like, okay, if you believe in the doctrine of election, if you
believe that, like, God chose me, you know, to be his.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: He knew all the ways that I was going to fail him before he called me to himself.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And that in itself is amazing and points to God's grace.
Janet: And that's, the perfect lead in to, okay, here's where we are at this point. God knows
everything about me. And my initial thought is I should hide. Because knowing everything about
me means, you know, horribly wicked things. And on top of that, you knew everything about me
before I was born. And what you did was wonderfully complex in creating me and your works
are marvelous. And you knew everything about me before I was born. You knew how I would
respond to your grace. So what's going to happen now. Can you read verses 17 and 18 for us?
Alexandra: How precious to me are your thoughts, O God. How vast is the sum of them? If I
would count them, there are more than the sand. I am awake and I am still with you.
Janet: Think about that. That's God's response. That's God's response. His thoughts about David
and you and me are precious and it outnumbers the grains of sand. Are you kidding me? Like of
all that could be said next, David's saying, you know, everything about me, the good, the bad,
and the ugly, you know that what you did when you made me, it was amazing, wonderfully
complex. And you know what I did with that, and you knew before I was born, what I would do
and you still chose me and you still love me. That's crazy.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: I think the Bible calls that grace. it makes me think of our episode on Hesed. Where God
delights to give everything to people who deserve nothing.
Alexandra: You know, David, his response is so vastly different from what culture, like, I'm
thinking of a very famous influencer right now, whose advice to verses 15 and 16 where it says,
like, my frame is not hidden from you. Like, nothing is hidden from God. The message that she
gives and what I think our culture gives is stop apologizing. You know? And that is the opposite
of what David said.
Janet: Which makes it about me. I don't have to apologize to anybody. This is who I am. This is
me too. You know, it was the, the famous song from The Greatest Showman. This is me.
Alexandra: Oh, yeah.
Janet: And it's pretty catchy song, but, certainly not anything we should be so proud of. But to
think about that, that might seem like good news. Look at that. But how about. Someone
knowing everything about you, including those parts of you, you will not admit to you yet. When
we say I would never do that. But then as we get older, we realized we did. The parts of you that
you're ashamed of the parts of you that you're like I never have to tell anybody about that. The
parts of you that you just refuse to deal with, because I can't think of myself as that bad. What
would it be like to know that someone knows all of it and then says you're precious to me and
has his arms open and says, come here. I mean, that's what my soul longs for.
Alexandra: It’s beautiful.
Janet: That's what I want. David is saying, God knows everything loves the fire out of him. I
mean, I can't even. What's better than that? What would that do for you? What does that do for
David? And we see that in the next part. Read the rest of the Psalm for us. And then we'll talk
about that.
Alexandra: Oh that you would slay the wicked, oh God. Oh men of blood depart from me. They
speak against you with malicious intent, your enemies, take your name in vain. Do I not hate
those who hate you a Lord and do I not loathe those who rise up against you. I hate them with
complete hatred and I count them as my enemies. 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
Janet: And there's our surprise ending, which we'll get to in a minute. But what's the first thing
that this does for him? Fierce loyalty. We may be a little uncomfortable with the way he says that
I hate those who hate you. I hate them with a fierce hatred. But what he's saying is, don't diss my
God. Anyone who would know me completely and love me anyway, I am loyal to that person.
And now on earth, we'll never have that completely, but we get tastes of it. And I can say for me
personally, my marriage is not perfect. Two sinners, feet of clay. We got issues. But after having
been married for 27 years, I'm going to say that I believe Brent knows more about me, including
the depth of my sin than anyone else other than God. And the fact that instead of judging me for
it and being disgusted by it though, it is disgusting) and running from it and screaming and
saying, get away from me, woman. The fact that he sees. And says, come here and loves me. I
got to tell you, there is a loyalty to him that has just, grows. And that's just a taste. I get it.
Sometimes Brent doesn't always know exactly how to help me. Sometimes in his sin, he doesn't
help me. Sometimes I don't love him as I ought. All those things were true, but I've been able to
taste being known and yet loved. Not known and loved like, oh, because he knows me that's why
he loves me. How about known and in spite of that loved. Not perfectly, but I get that. And then
to think, but there are things Brent doesn't know because there's things I don't even know about
the depth of my own heart. There's things I will not admit. There are still things that I think to
myself, I know I'm wicked. I say that. I say I'm fully depraved. But you know what, I'd never do
that. Well, it's not true. I'm capable of all of that and the God who knows all of that says, man, I
love her. Fierce loyalty. Fierce loyalty. And what does it do for David at the very end? Oh, my
word, the freedom, David, doesn't say. Look, what all I did for you in return. God, did you see
what I did with Goliath? How about those Philistines? See what I did there. Look at all the stuff
that I've done. He doesn't say that. What he says is now that I know you know the depth of my
sin and you love me anyway, I am so safe that I'm free to say search me oh God.
Alexandra: That is radical. I mean, that's radical and it demolishes moralism.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And, you know, I think this is, I want to be very, very, very sensitive when I say this
and I say this out of all the kindness of my heart, but this is a big difference between Christianity
and Mormonism is the grace, the freedom to be able to come to God with my failures and say
show me.
Janet: Yeah. And that is just a difference in the belief system. It's true. Actually, with
Mormonism, just a Google definition of Mormonism says this it's really interesting. Through
Christ's atonement, all mankind may be saved, and I'm like, okay, we agree. But it goes on to say
this, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of Christ's gospel. And that's where we would
differ. We can love each other, but we would differ because you're right. That's not grace. That's
saying Christ died for me and his atonement gives me, I don't know, for lack of a better term, the
wherewithal to obey so that I can be saved by my obedience. But that's not what we see in David.
David doesn't say, because I know all of this look how I've obeyed. He says, search me, show me
my sin. And I got to tell you, most of us are saying. I know you have to show it to me, but maybe
just a little bit, and I don't really want to see anymore. And we're terrified to pray this prayer.
Alexandra: It... yeah, it is terrifying.
Janet: But only because I'm clinging to something other than the grace of God.
Alexandra: And what is that, Janet? I think for a believer it's pharisaical living. It can be... what's
the word I'm trying to think of?
Janet: Legalism.
Alexandra: Legalism. Thank you. Yeah, it can be legalism, you know. But that's just, I think it's
like a hamster wheel.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: You know, you don't get to really enjoy God's grace if you are living that way.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And I mean, I think it's only... the only way to experience this is if you've been saved
by grace.
Janet: Yep.
Alexandra: You know, you have that confidence of Christ's righteousness that frees us. I know
that God's affections for me is completely based upon what Christ has done and not on how good
or how, you know, how well I've upholded the law that was demolished by the cross.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: And so, because of what Christ has done on my behalf, I am free to come to God's
throne. And it's now instead of a throne of judgment, it's a throne of grace.
Janet: Grace, yes.
Alexandra: I think of Romans 8:1 that says there's no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
And so I am, I'm free to come to him with my shame, with all of the ways that I have terribly
failed as a mom, as a friend as a wife, you know, all the different roles in my life, I'm free to
come to him. And he gives me mercy and grace. And I think, you know, one of the big
differences in this shift, you know, how to apply that is knowing that what Christ has done is
sufficient. And what I bring to the table will never be sufficient to win the affections of God.
Janet: And I want to think is fascinating. Is many people hearing this, not all, but many hearing
this would theologically just be right there. They would pass a theology exam and go, you're
absolutely right. So what, might I want to look for to know, but, am I living differently. And
there's Tim Keller and I don't have this quote, so I'm going to paraphrase it and probably butcher
it, but, I'll find the actual link and put it in there and one of his sermons, but he's talking about,
the difference between as a believer. Living in works righteousness and living out of the gospel.
What is the difference? And one of the things he said has just stuck with me. How do you
respond to the exposure of your sin? And we see what David did. When I'm living in works
righteousness and you expose my sin. I am devastated. I'm in despair.
Alexandra: Defensive.
Janet: I'm humiliated. I'm defensive. I have to justify it. I have to minimize it. I have to say it
wasn't me or I'm in self-pity. I can't believe I did that again. So it destroys me because I'm better
than that. That's believers living out of works righteousness, and he says, if you're living out of
the gospel, and your sin is exposed. You have more to be grateful for Christ covered that too.
Now I'm able to say what David says. Show me. You know why I am so grateful for what you've
done for me, that any part of my life that is not living consistent with who you are. I want to see
it so that I can repent of it and I can change, but I don't have to spend all my time denying it and
hiding from it and running that's the believer living in works righteousness, but the believer
living out of the gospel gets to say like, David, search me and show me. I'm free to see it.
Alexandra: Yep, absolutely. To uphold that status of being a works based righteousness.
Ephesians two demolishes that.
Janet: Yes, you were dead.
Alexandra: Yes, exactly. And, you know, trying to uphold this moralism, trying to earn God's
affections by upholding the law, or if people don't know what I'm talking about by that, by living
out the commands of scripture perfectly, that's how I win God's affections. It's a heavy burden
because I'm trying to be my own Messiah. And there was only...
Janet: It's exhausting.
Alexandra: It is, it is unbearable.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: But Christ says that it's not a burden. It's a relief. You know, I think of Matthew 11:28
through 30, it says, Jesus said, come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens. What are
those heavy burdens? Yes, I'm sure their trials can be a part of that, but really my heaviest
burdens are my sin.
Janet: Oh, coming to grips with the depth of my sin is so heavy.
Alexandra: And he says, I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because
I'm humble and gentle at heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear
and the burden I give you is light. We cannot say that about bearing the burden of being my own
Janet: That's right. That's right. So to know, cause you could think, it would be better news to
say, girl, stop apologizing. You don't have to apologize antibody.
Alexandra: Yep.
Janet: No, here's better news. How about someone who knows you and loves you anyway? And
now you're free to grow even though, because it's true, you'll never be amazing. And it's okay. It
makes me think about, so years ago, I was counseling a young woman, and unique set of
circumstances, but she was in a position where she was deciding at that point, I don't believe she
was a believer, but she was deciding between secular counseling, biblical counseling. So she
asked to meet with me. And, so she asked me basically, why would I choose this. fair question. I
appreciate it.
Alexandra: That being biblical counseling. Why would she... okay.
Janet: Why would she come to me? Because I'm going to give her that.
Alexandra: Oh, sure.
Janet: versus go to secular counseling. Fair question. So we went through Psalm 139 and I went
through that and I said, here, I want you to see on a foundational level, one of the basic
differences between secular and biblical counseling, because both want to help you. And both
believe that what they're doing is most helpful. Okay. But there's a difference in the view of man.
And here's the difference. In secular counseling, the worldview of man is maybe neutral, but
basically good. So their goal in counseling is to help you be the best you you can be.
Alexandra: Yep.
Janet: And to help you not give into the negative stuff that other people say. They're there to
build you up. So they're there to help your self-esteem. And if you think about the word
self-esteem, that means esteem yourself so there to help you not esteem yourself low. But to
esteem yourself high. Why? Because they want to help you feel better.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: I don't fault them for that. Okay. That's what they're trying to do. And that is one approach,
but I'm going to suggest that this Psalm helps us see something better. I don't believe helping you
feel better about you is ultimately very hopeful because I have to spend all my time convincing
me and you and all my other friends and God that I'm really all that. That I really am good. So if
there is some way that I'm going to be successful, I've got to do that all day long and then I have
to get up the next day and I got to do it again.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: And because I have to believe I'm good. I can never pray, search me. Show me my sin.
Are you kidding me? I'm better than that.
Alexandra: To big of a burden.
Janet: I can't do that because that would destroy me. If the goal is you're better than that. What
happens when, in the middle of the night, you know, you're not. What happens when you're
exhausted from blaming everybody else and saying I'm really good, but if my parents. I'm really
good, but it's these friends. I'm really good, but it's this environment. And that's what I'm being
taught. And that's what I believe. And so I blame and I try and I'm exhausted. And then late at
night, when you're laying there and you really can't fool yourself anymore. There's despair.
Alexandra: Yeah. It's crushing.
Janet: It is. It's crushing. I know I'm really not that good. I know. And so then I say this, well, I'm
not perfect, but I'm better than. I got to do something. And how exhausting is that? What a waste
of energy. So then I get up and I look in the mirror and I say, you're going to do good things
today. And I talked myself up. Talk about the hamster wheel. How exhausting! But that's secular
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: Believe that you're good. Believe that you're better and work really hard and live up to it.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: Or I could read this actually Psalm 139 tells me I'm pretty wicked that God knows
everything. And what he made was not wrong, but I am wicked. I am more wicked than I even
know. But I'm more loved than I can imagine. And isn't that what my soul is really longing for.
Alexandra: Yes.
Janet: To be known and loved in spite of it.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: Oh, someone who doesn't say, you know why I love her. She is so nice because what if I
just said what happens on the day when she's not, she better perform. On the day she's not. We
watched... for good, or for ill, we watch the amazing race. And been so many fascinating
worldview issues that have come up that Brent and I've talked about as a result of that. But one
of the things that we hear with these couples who are dating that are on there, what draws me to
you is this, and they say something about them, that quite frankly, in the next episode, you're
going to see they're not. And you're like, they think they're complimenting them, but they've
really said is my love is conditional. You know what I love about her. She never gives up what
happens when she does. You don't love her anymore.
Alexandra: Right.
Janet: She better keep performing. And actually we were watching an episode and she gave up,
we've not actually seen that before. They actually are out of the race because she's so scared and
so terrified that she gave up and Brent read and it says, on the after show thing, it says after that
he broke up with her.
Alexandra: No!
Janet: He did.
Alexandra: Oh, oh no.
Janet: And then he says, she says, but it didn't have to do with that. But it happened like that day.
Alexandra: Right.
Janet: And you're like, that's it.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: I love you because of all these things you do, what happens when you don't do them? How
about if somebody knew beyond that and knows that you do give up some times, or as I say,
cause I have this terrible fear of many things in my life and one of them is heights and one of
them, because of my physical genetic condition, my ankles are very wobbly. So for me to hike
and stuff is just very difficult. We were hiking on this really little trail that was like three feet
across and went sheer drop. Okay. To me, sheer. Brent would probably go, not quite sheer, but it
felt like that to me. To the point where you had to hold onto this pole and parts of it, because it
was so narrow.
Alexandra: Oh wow.
Janet: So, and then you have to cross a little bit of a waterfall, just a little trickle, but it's wet. So I
walk up to that and I'm thinking I'm about to put my foot on wet rock, which it will slide because
I don't have control over my ankle and look where I'm going to go. And I didn't even say
anything. I walked up to that point, cause I'm thinking I want to quit. My whole family's here
with these other people were hiking. And conquer your fears, all those things, you know, nobody
wants me on the amazing race. Let's just say that. And Brent's behind me and he goes, you
alright. And I said, it's wet. I didn't even say anything else. He knows me well enough after
enough years, he goes, you want to go back. And I'm thinking I should try and I have my son in
front of me. My son is so sweet. He's like, I'll hold your hand. And they're each going to hold a
hand. So like, if I didn't fall, I can't fall far. They're going to hold me up. And I just, I was
shaking and I looked at him and I said, yeah, I don't want to do this. And he goes, okay. And we
went back. Here's what he didn't say. You know what I love about you, even when you're scared,
you never give up. I gave up and I teased him later. I said, I feel like I came to that moment. And
it was, I came, I saw and I didn't conquer. And he goes, that's okay. Let's just go walk over here.
Alexandra: That's not a t-shirt most people would buy.
Janet: Exactly. And there's a reason nobody wants that, but I'm like, what's better Brent saying,
you know what I love about you. You didn't give up, you know what pressure that puts on me
next time.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: How about him saying. I saw your weakness in multicolor and you could have done it and
you chose not to in your weakness and that's all right. I just love you.
Alexandra: That is such a beautiful, beautiful analogy.
Janet: What's better for my soul.
Alexandra: He didn't shame you.
Janet: Yeah.
Alexandra: He gave you love.
Janet: But he saw it was a weakness. I mean, it really is probably very irrational because they
would have caught me, like I wasn't going to die because they were each going to hold my hand.
Like I get all of that and I didn't want to do it. His love was not conditional. What's better
someone telling you how amazing you are and that's why they love you. Or how about somebody
saying even when you're not amazing, I just love you.
Alexandra: Powerful.
Janet: That's and I told her, I said, that's the difference.
Alexandra: And that's grace. That's grace.
Janet: And so I told her, I said, that's the difference. You can go over there and get that. Or if you
come here, you're right, I'm going to be telling you that you're more wicked than you thought.
And you're more loved than you can imagine. And it makes me think of this is what I, so what's
the bottom line. I love you because I love you. So I tried to show my kids that, and they were real
little, my kids were only 17 months apart. They were both sitting on my lap. They were probably,
I don't know, two and three or three and four. I don't remember, but I thought, how can I help
them understand, begin to understand that kind of love, that is not based on their performance,
because I really worked hard at not saying to my kids. I love you. You're so sweet. I
love...because what when they're not. I love you and you obey and whatever. So, I looked at
them and I said, you know, I told them how much I loved them. And, and then I said, do you
know why I love you? Why do you think I love you so much? And they started giving me
answers. One of them, I don't remember which one said which early on, but, you know, because
you know, we're obedient and I'm like, kids, do you remember yesterday. Oh, yeah. Well,
because we, whatever, and because we're always kind. Do you, do you remember because, you
know, whatever. They gave me all these reasons why I should love them, because you've told us
that were really cute. And I'm like, well, you're cute to me, but you understand when you behave
like this, there's really like, nothing cute about that. You get that, right? Yeah. Yeah. So we talked
about all that so they're looking a little perplexed and I said, well, maybe this'll help. What do
you think you'd have to do for me to stop loving you? And they started naming things they do.
What if I hit my sister? Honey, you have done that. Oh yeah. What if I like, you know, you know,
you've... outward rebellion. Yeah. High-handed rebellion. You've done that. And so then my son,
because he is my thinker, I can see it in his eyes. He thought he had me. He goes, I know what if
I murdered somebody? And I said, oh honey, that'd be terrible. That would break my heart and I
call the police and he's nodding. Like I know, I know. And I said, and then you'd need to go to
jail. Cause that was just wicked. And then I'd visit you every day because I love you. And now
they're like, I don't even know. And I said, so do you want me to tell you why I love you now
they're listening. And I said, just because your mine.
Alexandra: That’s sweet.
Janet: You couldn't do anything to make me love you. And you've tried to get me to stop by your
behavior, but there's nothing you can do. I'm just always going to love you. That's just the way it
is. And what was I trying to do? I don't love them perfectly, but I wanted them to understand to
whatever degree I can as a sinful person. I want to love you because of who you are, not because
of what you do and that's how God loves us. And then I can stop trying to impress. And then I
can admit I am woefully sinful, and then I can run to him. And then I can trust that he took care
of it on the cross because he loves me and then the security and the acceptance and the belonging
that my soul is really longing for by performing. I can realize I already have it all. And then I'm
free. And that's what I want for other people to understand too.
Alexandra: Yeah. When I compare myself to Christ, like earlier you were talking about, in my
pride, it can be easy to compare myself to other people to make me feel better. When I compare
myself to Christ, that's when I can see the reality of who I really am. And I can see, I will see, if
you have the Holy Spirit, he'll, you can ask him to open your eyes to this, and he will show you.
I'm deprived. You know, so many people, when we talk about I am fearfully and wonderfully
made and how they take it out of context. You know, I'm depraved. You know, it's not usually, we
don't usually look at Psalm 139 and come away thinking that. That's not how most people do, but
that's how the Psalm is: is David is deprived. You and I were to pray.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: And yet we're loved.
Janet: Yes. And treasured. We are his treasured possession. That's amazing.
Alexandra: There's so much security in that.
Janet: Yes. Yes. Oh, I love that. I love that. Because I've actually, and I've used that idea to help
people. Cause I've talked to people who are like, well, it's only natural to be angry when
someone hurts you. And so it doesn't even seem like that's wrong. So then we compare ourselves
among each other. We can feel pretty good until I can say to them. Well, I want you to think
about, and maybe are there any examples in scripture where people hurt Jesus? And if my goal is
to be like him, how did he respond?
Alexandra: Like a lamb being led to the slaughter.
Janet: Yeah, and on the cross saying, father, forgive them. To the ones who put him there and
were jeering and mocking him. So until I'm there, I have to recognize I'm less than, and I'm
depraved. There is no reasonable expression of sin.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: The standard you're exactly right, has to be Christ. And that's where I'll see my depravity.
And then that's where I see where I'm a hundred percent accepted, belong, and loved. And then
who gets the glory? Not me for being good.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: I don't get the glory of: Christ died so that I could be amazing.
Alexandra: Yeah.
Janet: Look how good I am. I used to literally think, I want him to be glad he picked me for his
team because I'm so good. And to realize, well, not only is that proud, can't do that, but I have
something better than that. He says I wanted you on my team and I know. And I just wanted you
on my team. And then my husband's been able to show me a little bit about what that looks like,
and that's what we want for people to understand. I believe it's better than anything the world has
to offer.
Alexandra: It's so freeing.
Janet: Love it. So, applications abound, but I would just say, I would encourage you after
studying that. Thank the Lord for it and give yourself the challenge of praying the way David
prayed at the end. And knowing that that's freedom. I would encourage you to be reminded of the
truth of the gospel. We've talked about Gospel Primmer a lot. Focus on part two, which is the
actual gospel. Read that and understand God's heart for you and rejoice in that. Read Gentle and
Lowly. Read systematic theology and the doctrine of justification. You know, we need to be
Alexandra: Absolutely.
Janet: The doctrine of justification is going to help me understand these truths and give me more
to rejoice in.
Alexandra: I will add we are all theologians. We just need to have good theology. And by
studying the doctrine of justification, I think it can just only enrich our understanding of this
passage. Because we, you and I have alluded to justification.
Janet: Yes.
Alexandra: Throughout this podcast, but it's great to do a deeper study of that.
Janet: Yes. And I love that because we are theologians. The question is, is it a false theology?
Alexandra: Exactly.
Janet: So we need to focus on that. Excellent. So thanks for joining us again this week, and I pray
that as a result of seeing these beautiful truths, you will see again, understanding these beautiful
truths brings us a joy the world cannot touch. Thanks for joining us.

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.