God Loved You Before You Were Born (Psalm 139:13-18)

God Loved You Before You Were Born (Job 10:10-12; Psalm 139:13-17)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, March 12, 2023

When Mercedes and Abigail were born it was instant love. However, we had love for them even when they were in the womb. We heard the heartbeat and it was absolutely amazing. Then, when they were born we were both amazed. It was instant love, it was instant affection. We would die for the baby and we still would.

Why is that?

God created us that way.

However, when a baby is in the womb, in love God is creating the baby. God created us in the womb. God loved us before we were born.

Do you need encouraged today?

Do you ever feel like certain things about you are a mistake? That is NOT true. God loves you and loved you before you were born.

When a young couple announces that a baby is on the way, everyone tells them, “It’ll change your life!” But the fact is, they are already changed. From the first moment of anticipation, they see themselves in a different light. They find that it’s possible to be deeply in love with a tiny human being they’ve never met. They brim with dreams of the things they’ll do with their child— taking trips to the beach, getting a puppy, learning about God. Until that child is born, father and mother will think of little else; after the child is born, they will devote themselves fully to their precious offspring.

Where did this powerful love come from? The answer: It’s an inherited trait. We are made in the image of a heavenly Father who felt the same deep joy before we were born, but His love is even more powerful, more boundless. You know that God loves you now, but do you realize that He always has—even before you were born? Even before the world was created? He has loved you from the very foundation of time. Let’s explore what the Bible says about God’s relationship with you before you were born.[1]

My theme today is:

God Loved You Before You Were Born (Psalm 139:13-17)

There are many passages that we could look at but I want to park on Psalm 139:13-17.

  1. Context:
    1. This was a Psalm written by David.
    2. Many of the Psalms are actually Messianic. Many are actually pointing towards the Messiah. For example, Psalm 22 is the suffering Messiah; Psalm 23 the return from the dead; Psalm 24 is the reigning of the Messiah on His throne. The Psalms were put together when there was no king after the exile. Many were written before the exile but put together after the exile.[2]
    3. Psalm 139:1-6: God knows us.
    4. Psalm 139:7-12: God is always with us.
    5. Psalm 139:13-24: God’s omnipotence.
    6. In the first six verses we see about God knowing us.
    7. As we look at the beginning of Psalm 139 we see that the Lord knows us. He is the all-knowing God who has an intimate understanding of the psalmist, as of all His creation.[3]
    8. Then we want to jump to Psalm 139:13-17.
  2. He creates and arranges our bodies within the womb.
    1. We see this in Psalm 139:13-15.
    2. Psalm 139:13 (ESV): 13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
    3. This verse is building on the previous section. The previous verses were about God’s presence. He is present everywhere and now the Psalmist, David builds on that with some examples, but also God’s power.
    4. When did He do this?
    5. He did this in our mother’s womb.
    6. Verse 14: I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
    7. The Psalmist praises God.
    8. Why does he praise God?
    9. He is fearfully and wonderfully made.
    10. We could say, “awesomely and wonderfully made.”
    11. He appeals to his soul.
    12. His soul knows how wonderfully he is made.
    13. Though that could be translated that the Lord knows it well.
    14. Verse 15: My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
    15. This is really awesome.
    16. The phrase depths of the earth is normally associated with death (63:9; Ezk 26:20), but here it is figurative for the concealment of the womb.[8]
    17. God saw him being created. “Made in secret” would refer back to the womb.
    18. Modern technology now allows us to see the astonishing complexity of a developing child with our own eyes. In a 2010 TED presentation titled Conception to Birth—Visualized, Alexander Tsiaras, mathematician and chief of Scientific Visualization at Yale University, presented a series of incredible images of a child’s development in the womb. In his production you can see never-before-viewed videos and photos of the very first cell division, the development of the heart at only twenty-five days, the development of arms and hands at only thirty-two days, and the development of the retinas, nose, and eyes at fifty-two days.
  • Clearly astounded by what he witnessed in his own images, Tsiaras concluded his talk with these words: “The complexity of these things, the mathematical model of how these things are indeed done, [is] beyond human comprehension. Even though I am a mathematician I look at this with the marvel of, ‘How did these instruction sets build that which is us?’ It’s a mystery, it’s magic, it’s divinity.”[10]
  • And Bible scholar John Phillips describes the magnificent complexities of our bodies at the cellular level: We know that every living creature is made up of microscopic cells so small that the letter O on this page would contain between thirty to forty thousand of them. Each microscopic cell is a world in itself, containing an estimated two hundred trillion tiny molecules of atoms. Each cell, in other words, is a micro-universe of almost unbelievable complexity. All these cells put together make up a living creature. Each cell has its own specialized function and each works to an intricate timetable which tells it when to grow, when to divide, when to make hormones, when to die. Every minute of every day some three billion cells in the body die and the same number are created to take their place. During any given moment in the life of any one of these cells, thousands of events are taking place, each one being precisely coordinated at the molecular level by countless triggers. The human body has more than a million million of them—a million in each square inch of skin, thirty billion in the brain, billions of red blood cells in the veins. Obviously such a complicated and unerring development of cells cannot possibly be the result of chance.[11]
  • He schedules every day before we are born.
    1. We see this in Psalm 139:16: 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.
    2. David continues showing that God is in control. God’s eyes saw him in the womb.
    3. God planned his days before they happened. The idea is more than God just recording his days, but of God planning/ordaining his days.
  • He thinks wonderful and innumerable thoughts about us.
    1. We see this in Psalm 139:17-18: How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
    2. David is exclaiming.
    3. God’s thoughts are precious.
    4. That is the case for us as well.
    5. God loves us.
    6. God loved us before we were born.
    7. Notice David says, “if I were to number them…” We cannot number how many thoughts God has for us.
    8. When David awakes, he is still with God.
    9. When I wake up could refer to having pondered God’s knowledge all night, or to the resurrection.[13]
    10. The number is so large that one would fall asleep; and even so, God will not abandon his faithful (I awake, and I am still with you).[14]
  • Applications: Be encouraged, God loves us.
    1. God is so amazing that He formed us (verse 13).
    2. We must worship Him as powerful.
    3. We must respond in love. We must be encouraged by His great love.
    4. He knit/wove us together. He designed us with detail when we were in the womb (verse 13).
    5. We can be encouraged that God loves us so much that He did not just leave us to chance, no He designed us. That is how much He cares about us.
    6. We can be like the Psalmist David and exude praise (verse 14). We are awesomely made by the awesome God (verse 14).
    7. God’s works are wonderful. We should stop and marvel. We should be amazed and rejoice. We should praise and worship. When we notice how awesome He is, how can we not but worship?
    8. God even planned our days before we were born (verse 16). There are no coincidences. That can mean He knew our days or He ordained/planned them, or both. Either way, God is in charge. There are no coincidences. We can trust that our days are in His power and control. When troubles come, He has a plan. We can trust Him.
    9. We can be encouraged. God has amazing thoughts for us. We cannot number them. That is how much He loves us.
  • God loves us and loved us before were were born.

Mother Theresa:

I would not have wanted to be president of the United States on February 3, 1994. Or vice president. Or a senator or congressman or any other high-ranking member of our government. Those jobs are challenging on any day, but on that day a tiny woman from India made the leaders of the most powerful government in the world feel much smaller. She didn’t mean to. She didn’t berate or criticize them. In fact, she spoke quite lovingly. She simply talked about how valuable human life is to God.

The late Mother Teresa, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, was invited to speak at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. Even standing on a platform, the tiny nun’s head was barely visible over the top of the podium. But the room was so quiet that no one failed to hear her message, loud and clear.

Mother Teresa talked about the dignity and value of all life, the worthiness of all human life to be loved, something that everyone gathered at the prayer breakfast could agree with. But halfway through her talk she said,

I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

And then, speaking directly into the room filled with some of the world’s most powerful people, she pleaded, Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child. From our children’s home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3,000 children from abortion. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents and have grown up so full of love and joy. If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world. From here [in Washington, D.C.], a sign of care for the weakest of the weak—the unborn child—must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you![15]

This is not a political message, no this is about God’s great love for each and everyone of us.


[1] Jeremiah, Dr. David. God Loves You (pp. 27-29). FaithWords. Kindle Edition.

[2] Dr. Rydelnic; Open Line; July 6, 2019

[3] R. C. Sproul, ed., The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015), 994.

[4] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 1116.

[5] Insight for Living; Swindoll; 11.24.2021

lit Literally/literally

[6] Kevin R. Warstler, “Psalms,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 936.

[7] Jeremiah, Dr. David. God Loves You (p. 30). FaithWords. Kindle Edition.

[8] Kevin R. Warstler, “Psalms,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 936.

[9] From Living the Psalms  by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. https://insight.org/resources/daily-devotional/individual/a-species-of-wonder1?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_medium=email&utm_content=ifldailydevo&utm_campaign=daily-devotional&goal=0_daec2b65fd-52c5b81323-106822917

[10] Jeremiah, Dr. David. God Loves You (p. 32). FaithWords. Kindle Edition.

[11] Jeremiah, Dr. David. God Loves You (pp. 32-33). FaithWords. Kindle Edition.

[12] https://equip.sbts.edu/article/the-witness-of-scripture-abortion-is-murder/?utm_source=The+Southern+Baptist+Theological+Seminary+List&utm_campaign=9a40066be7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_21_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ee150c7052-9a40066be7-308393353&mc_cid=9a40066be7&mc_eid=ccb40608e2

[13] Kevin R. Warstler, “Psalms,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 936.

[14] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 1117.

[15] Jeremiah, Dr. David. God Loves You (pp. 38-39). FaithWords. Kindle Edition.

[16] Jeremiah, Dr. David. God Loves You (pp. 30-31). FaithWords. Kindle Edition.

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