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2. Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Psalm 139

  • 1,620,736: Number of surgical plastic surgery procedures performed in 2002
  • 5,268,795: Number of non-surgical procedures performed in 2002
  • Top five plastic surgery procedures performed: liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, breast reduction
  • From 1997 to 2001: 304% increase in cosmetic procedures
  • Baby boomers 35–50: largest section of the population with the most procedures performed
  • Ten billion dollars: annual expenditure on cosmetics


Icebreaker: Is it wrong to have a makeover? An “extreme makeover”? Why or why not? How far is “too far”? Why did you answer the way you did?

    1. Read prayerfully Psalm 139. Summarize in one sentence what you consider the main message of this psalm, which is attributed to David.

    2. A) List the ways in which the psalmist says God knows him (2–5). B) What is the psalmist’s response to this knowledge (vs. 6)?

    3. A) List some ways in which the psalmist tries to run from God (7–10). B) What are some ways we try to run from God? C) What do we learn about God in vv. 7–10?

    4. In the ancient world, many believed that hell was the one place where God’s presence did not exist. What does verse 8 suggest about this?

    5. Have you ever pretended you were blind, or tried to walk in a pitch-black room? What was it like? In verse 12, note all the light/dark contrasts. What is this verse saying about God?

    6. In verses 13–16, what words reveal God’s loving attention to every detail in creating you?

    7. What do verses 13–16 tell us about the sanctity of human life?

    8. What is the psalmist’s response to how God made him (vs. 14)? Take a moment to echo his response to God in prayer.

    9. A) If we really believe every human is a unique and beautiful creation of God, how should that affect the way we view people whom our society considers mistakes, disposable, worthless? B) What are some ways that we, as Christ-followers, can show that we value human life? C) How should the Bible’s teachings on human dignity affect how we treat others? (Read Matthew 5:21–24.)

    10. If you truly believe that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, how will you view yourself? (The way the Hebrew is structured here, we could also translate “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” as “I am an awesome wonder.”)

    11. Verse 16 refers to the psalmist’s “substance” – probably the embryo. How might this affect our view of experimentation on and destruction of human embryos?

    12. Verse 16 refers to God’s book. Do you think this is literal or figurative? Either way, what is the point the writer is making?

    13. According to verses 17–18, what is God’s attitude toward you?

    14. If God created us as we are, how should we view our moles, crooked teeth, body parts that don’t work? Can we change our hair color or is that an insult to Him? To think others need to improve their looks? Why did you answer the way you did?

    15. Read verses 19–22. It might seem strange to us that the writer would insert a section here about his enemies. Notice, however, how his knowledge of God’s greatness in the preceding passages evokes a response about protecting God’s reputation. What do you think is his point?

    16. A) What is the psalmist’s final response to God (vs. 23–24)? B) Pray through verses 23 and 24, speaking to God about your belief in them. C) Knowing God is all-powerful such that he can create creatures so beautifully complex, what cares do you need to give to the Lord? D) Do any “wicked ways” come to mind that you need to release to Him? If so, list them here and pray for God’s grace to let them go.

Why does it shock us when our bodies begin to sag and fail? God’s Word guarantees that we will “outwardly waste away” (2 Cor. 4:16). The renewal experienced inwardly through the power of the Holy Spirit provides the hope and peace we crave. True transformation occurs on the inside (Rom. 12:1–2).

C.S. Lewis noted that if we saw how glorious we all really are as creations of God, we would be tempted to bow down and worship the very people we slander.

Related Topics: Spiritual Life, Curriculum

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