Psalm 139:13-14 (Hebrew Names Version) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
It’s so easy to feel down on ourselves, especially when it feels like nothing in the world is going our way. You probably remember the worst of it from those awkward teenage years. Growing into a person is no small feat, and comes with plenty of uncomfortable moments, teeth grinding, and memories that keep you up at night. In response to self-deprecation, many of us hear the familiar passage: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” However, many of us fail to see the significance of this passage in the modern context. None of us are exempt from these words, although there are many days where we brush off or even disregard the verses. Let’s take a closer look at the two primary words in Psalm 139:13-14: ‘fearfully’ and ‘wonderfully.’ Translated from the Hebrew, the word ‘fearfully’ can be understood in two unique ways. ‘Yare’ in particular is very similar to our modern interpretation of the word. ‘Fear,’ ‘afraid,’ and ‘terror’ are all synonymous with this term. In contrast, ‘yare’’ with an accent takes an entirely different, more primitive root. ‘Yare’’ retains some of the meaning behind ‘yare,’ but the most important difference is in the details. ‘Yare’’ stands for a holy, fearful reverence, or an act that causes one to revere. It is a kind of fear that digs so far down that it becomes a form of moral and spiritual awakening. “Pele',” one of the most common Hebrew words for ‘wonderfully,’ is best understood as what is plain and simply known today as ‘miracle.’ ‘Pele’” represents all things unique, beautiful, or that which calls forth wonder. It applies to both tangible and intangible things, including the body, mind, and soul. There are no physical limitations to the applications of this word. Let’s not overlook the importance of the suffix ‘-ful’ in these passages. Not only are we containing the attributes of each term, but we are full of them. Overflowing with the incredible, unknowable, awe-inspiring power of God. Friend, you are not only of God, but you are full of His glory as well. God has constructed both our outward beings and our “inmost beings” as fearful and wonderful creations, which can be seen in many different aspects of our lives. Spiritual gifts, service orientations, even hobbies or pastimes are woven into the fiber of your soul by the Master Knitter Himself. When we put these two terms of ‘fearfully’ and ‘wonderfully’ together, what do we see? We see a creation of God that is awesome and fear-inspiring, fully unique, and fully beautiful. On those days where nothing goes right, when it feels like every action you take is just one more mistake, remember the power of your roots. Behold! You are fearfully and wonderfully made!
Does being both fearfully and wonderfully made change the way you see those around you? What about yourself? In what ways can you learn to love others with the depth of the Father? No matter how you feel when you wake up in the morning, God believes you to be His greatest creation of all. What an incredible feeling to be so vastly loved by our Savior!
Genesis 1:26-27 (Berean Study Bible)
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth…
Psalm 104:24 (Berean Study Bible)
O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.