Psalm 139:5 is one of the great Psalms of praise, structured in four stanzas of six verses each. The author (attributed to David) lauds God for his marvelous powers. The first six verses deal with God’s omniscience – God knows us through and through. How God knows and how much God knows, we are unable to comprehend . . . but it is impossible to conceal anything from him. Verse five indicates that God knows us so well because he is ever-present. Wherever we are, we are under God’s eye, and his guiding hand. We are “hemmed in” – we cannot escape, nor would we want to, for God has “laid his hand” upon us He is always near, guiding, protecting, restoring, and (in David’s own instance) defending.
The KJV uses the word “besets”, an indication that we can’t shrug off God’s presence. We can’t move forward and leave him behind because God is before us. We can’t turn back and escape God because God is behind. God is ever-near, and holds us in the grip of God’s power, surrounding us with God’s love and care. God has known us for eternity, and it will continue to be so. Only God knows us as we really are, and touches us in all aspects of our lives. How blessed we are that God knows and guides our appointed paths.