I love the thoughts in this verse.
The first is a reminder to know that the LORD Himself is God. This verse exhorts me to remember Who God is, as if I needed a reminder that the LORD is God. But the verb carries some meaning in the original (which I had to look up in concordance) that are important to note. First, the verb is in the imperative, which means that it is a command. This is not optional for me. I must know. The other part is the nuance to it that the English word know has lost over time. The psalmist is not commanding me to give mental assent that the LORD is God, but to find out by experience that He is; to look long and hard at Him and His claims and to come to the conclusion that He is; to mull over the available evidence in my mind and determine that He is. I am, essentially, commanded to mull over the idea that the LORD is God; to weigh things out in my mind. It is one thing for me to say that the LORD is God. It is quite another for me to ruminate on the idea. And, apart from the implied seated position of rumination, mulling over; pondering; thinking deeply on the truth that the LORD is God is what is commanded. One last piece of this puzzle. The words used for LORD and God are, I think, significant. LORD is the tetragrammaton — YHWH — and is often rendered simply LORD because we do not have anything analogous in meaning (and we’re not entirely sure what we’re trying to find an analog to). God is “elohim,” and is a plural singular (like moose … sort of, but not exactly). I need to think deeply on the reality that the LORD (singular) is God (plural). This could be a reference to the trinity and, at the very least, invites consideration of that concept.
The second is that God made me. I learned some time ago that Hebrew has multiple verbs that are translated into the English “to make.” One of the verbs means “to make from nothing” while another means “to form from something else” and I’ve completely lost the third. The verb used here, “asah,” means “to form from something else.” This jives perfectly with the Genesis account of our creation as it says that God formed man out of clay. But there is more. The verb can also mean “to prepare, to put in order, to observe, to celebrate, to use.” Each and every one of these potential meanings is true. It is God Who prepares me for the things He has in mind for me to do. It is God Who puts me in order, putting my wrongs right and straightening my paths. It is God Who observes me, watching over me as a shepherd watches over his sheep. It is He Who celebrates me, rejoicing over me as His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). It is He Who uses me, putting me to work in those good works mentioned in Ephesians 2:10 that He prepared in advance for me. All of these meanings can be supported by God’s actions toward me. The verb can also mean “to acquire.” And God, in the person of Jesus Christ, has most certainly acquired me. The psalmist may very well have had this multiplicity of meaning in mind. If not, it is fair certain that God did.
The final thought in this verse is that what God has done for me I did not do myself. I did not make myself; I am not a self-made man. Whatever success I have is from the hand of God. I do not prepare myself for God’s work, though I do what little I can. Paul wrote that it is God Who is at work in me both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Even what little preparation for God’s work I find myself motivated to do came from God giving me the will to do what He wants me to. I can keep going, but the idea is rather clear, I think.
Application? Well, I am commanded to ponder that the LORD is God. I can think on that in simpler terms of making certain that I have no other gods in my mind and heart or I can think on that in more complex terms of the pluralness of a single being. In my consideration of God, let me also recall that it is He Who has made me (and all that entails) and not I myself. Every good and perfect gift comes from above; from the Father of Light in Whom there is no shadow nor change.