What Psalm 139 Tells Us About Self-Esteem

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Psalm 139 is among the most well-known Psalms in the Bible.

Particularly the verse, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well”. Psalm 139:14

Many people refer to this Psalm, and this verse in particular, when talking about self-esteem.

But does it really talk about self-esteem?

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I believe that as Christians, we must allow God’s Word to inform our worldview.

So often, we approach life with a compartmentalized approach where reading the Bible, prayer, and going to church are Christian activities, while everything else is secular.

And in a way, we unconsciously believe that our Christian activities will balance out the secular ones.

This compartmentalized approach to life has led us to a place where as Christians we have bought into a science-driven worldview.

So, instead of God’s Word informing our psychology, psychiatry, and counseling services, we look to unconverted, leading voices in the world of science as experts.

Even when those leading voices directly contradict God’s Word.

The result is that we now have a generations of Christians who believe worldly philosophies and have found ways to distort Scripture to support them.

However, if we truly want to live lives that glorify Christ, we must begin, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5

What does Psalm 139 tell us about self-esteem?

First, let’s look at the word self-esteem.

We know what the word “self” means, and “esteem” means to highly value and admire someone or something.

And this is what we’ve been told we ought to do: highly value ourselves, admire ourselves.

But how is this philosophy reflected in Scripture?

All throughout the Bible we read that we should deny ourselves and consider others before ourselves.

Jesus, Himself, said in Matthew 23:12 “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

So then, what is Psalm 139 saying?

Psalm 139 is the perfect biblical worldview when it comes to viewing ourselves, our worth, and our value as individuals.

It adjusts our focus right back where God always intended it to be, so that we can see ourselves exactly the way He designed.

Psalm 139 begins with “O Lord, You have searched me and known me.”

And for the next 12 verses it goes on to describe how God knows everything about us:

  • Every microscopic part of our being
  • All of our tendencies
  • Every word before it leaves our mouth
  • Everywhere we go

He is present with us wherever we go and his protection surrounds us completely.

His hand literally reached into our mother’s uterus and molded every part of our being.

He knows us more intimately that we could ever know another person….or even our own selves.

We can’t know our own thoughts and intentions as intimately as God knows us!

And it is with this premise that we come to verse 13: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

This isn’t about self-esteem at all.

This is about God-esteem! This entire Psalm is about exalting God and His works – and I am one of His works.

As we move beyond verse 13, we see David goes on just as before.

  • God’s skillful hands created our body
  • He saw us before we were ever created
  • He planned us, every detail about us, before He ever created us
  • His thoughts about us are precious
  • His thoughts about us are more than we could count in our lifetime

And then we get to verse 19.

I think it is telling that when people talk about Psalm 139, they talk about verses 1-18, but the last 6 verses are completely ignored.

Perhaps some of you didn’t even know verses 19-24 exist.

If we look at Psalm 139 through the philosophy of self-esteem, these verses seem completely out of place.

David moves on from talking about how God created us wonderfully and beautifully to petitioning God to slay his enemies.

It’s almost as if these verses should be their own Psalm.

Or maybe not.

If we view this Psalm through the lens of glorifying God, it makes perfect sense.

Psalm 139 isn’t about us, it’s about God.

  • Exalting the works of God
  • Exalting the omniscience of God
  • Exalting the omnipresence of God
  • Exalting the power of God to fully protect us

So, when we get to verse 19 and read about the wicked who speak against God, who take His name in vain, who devalue and destroy God’s creation, and rise up against him, it makes perfect sense.

And it closes with David crying out to God for Him to search his heart, expose any wickedness that might be there.

Dear sister, our worth and value will never be found in ourselves.

If we look inside of ourselves expecting to find worth and value in who we are, we will find ourselves fighting God’s design.

This leads to pride and self-exaltation; the very thing Scripture warns us against.

Our worth and value is found in glorifying God.

When we glorify God alone, we will find our place in God’s supernatural design – we will discover exactly where we fit.

God values us, and when we value Him we value His creation…and we are His creation.

Suddenly, it isn’t about us any longer, it’s all about Him; and we are free from the battle of self-preoccupation.

Dear sister, if there is anything I could beg of you today it is this:

Love God. Honor God. Esteem God. Glorify God. Let your eyes rest on God and never let them wander from His beautiful face. Seek God, and as you seek God you will find your place in His divine order and destiny.

Psalm 139 is all about God!

This post is part of the Blogging Through the Bible series with Good Morning Girls

3 Characteristics of a Person of Integrity

How to Keep a Steady Heart in Times of Crisis

3 Promises for Those Who Study the Works of God

43 Life-Changing Verses About the Bible from Psalm 119

5 Ways to Respond When You’re Under Attack

Are You a Burned Out Christian?

A Christian Response to Crisis

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  1. Oh wow! It’s no mistake that I read this post today. I have beat myself up today and cried and prayed asking GOD to forgive me(I was wrong) and make it right. I know I am fearfully and wonderfully made.. in HIS image and that HE loves and values me! Thank you for allowing the LORD too use you and for posting this wonderful reminder! GOD bless!

  2. I agree that this scripture is not about self-esteem. I do think it’s about self-worth. It directs us to find our worth in how God sees us and made us. Yes, Psalm 139 is about God, but it’s also about people.

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