This post is my second in a short series of reflections on Psalm 139. In the first, I contended that the mystery of God at which the psalmist marvels is not that God knows everything in our modern Western sense of having all the information there is but rather that God cares so much. Hebraic thought and language are relational, and knowledge requires engagement, empathy, and sometimes intimacy.
We human beings are very limited in the degree to which we can know each other. Long-married couples frequently anticipate each other’s reactions to situations or comments and may seem to sense each other’s needs in ways that might surprise the young, but even the deep knowledge of the other person such a couple shares is very partial. This always partial nature of our human knowledge of others is a good thing. Another person, even one deeply loved, should remain always a mystery to us, for two reasons.