Consider the wonder of the heavens. “when I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have ordained.” (Psalm 8:3). But what about the wonder in the womb – “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Yet, as you may know, since 1988 Canada has no law protecting human life in the womb. According to statistics, about 100,000 babies are aborted each year in Canada.
In our society, even in the church, abortion has become widely accepted. Many don’t think about whether it’s right or wrong. Twice in one day this past week I heard the news call abortion “a (medical) procedure.”
Abortion is not a procedure; it’s murder. It’s the taking away of a life. This is hard hitting truth. We’re going to see why this is so. But we’re also going to see the tremendous grace of God who offers forgiveness and renewal and healing to all who cry out to Him.
God is the Creator of the baby in every detail, in every step of the baby’s development from conception on. From Psalm 139:13-18, see the wonder in the womb. We see
1. He made me
2. Therefore, we will praise Him
1. He made me (vv.13,15-16)
So “who made you? God made me” (from a children’s catechism). The Bible says that God made me in His image. Genesis 1:27, “In the image of God He created him, male and female, He created them.”
a. He formed me - body and soul. Hear his confession in verse 13, “For You formed my inward parts, You covered me in my mother’s womb.” God was at work forming him from the time he was conceived in the womb. “Inward parts” is the inner self, the heart, the center of our being: the soul. He knows me intimately, thoroughly, because He formed my inward parts. He created me to live in relationship with Him.
“You covered me in my mother’s womb”; that is, He ‘knit me’ or ‘weaved me together.’ It pictures God forming the body, like one who weaves a beautiful tapestry. Job says, “Your hands have made me and fashioned me, an intricate unity…” (Job 10:8). God uses the natural reproductive processes. Yet He is intimately involved in uniquely forming the boy or girl.
This is a work so astonishing, that before the Psalmist describes it further, he breaks out in praise, “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Very clearly, then, abortion destroys God’s handiwork. It destroys God’s image.
Sometimes you hear a husband and wife says, ‘Oh, the pregnancy was an accident’ or ‘that wasn’t planned.’ But not to God –never -- the child is there by His plan and by His design. Always. Even if it is because of sin.
There’s more. We come now to verses 15-16
b. God oversees the baby’s development in the womb.
You see God at work in the womb, bringing out the wonder in every detail.
See verse 15, “My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” “My frame’ – that refers to my bony structure.
Hidden from dad and mom, from everyone else, but not hidden from God who was forming the baby in the womb. The darkness in the womb, the remoteness of the baby in the womb is no barrier to God. There I was being made “in secret.” The womb here is described as “the lowest parts of the earth.”
Today, by use of ultrasounds we catch glimpses of the baby but who can see and capture the skill of the baby’s formation: “skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” Literally, ‘intricately woven’ or ‘a multi-colored embroidery.’
Calvin says that while other artists have their work set before their eyes before they can begin their work, but He fashioned me in my mother’s womb. He says, ‘should an artist do his work in some dark cave where there is no light to assist him, how would he even begin with his hand? And what kind of work would it be? Where is the embroiderer who could carry out one -hundredth of intricately woven baby in the darkness of the womb?
· At week 7, the baby’s head develops, the baby’s face and brain are growing, the place for the nose becomes visible. Lower limb buds that become legs appear and arm buds that sprouted the week before now take on the shape of paddles.
· At week 12, the baby is fully formed, including ears, toes, fingers complete with finger nails.
· At week 14, the baby may suck its thumb now; the baby is 9-10 cm long.
· At week 20, faint eye brows are visible
· By 24 weeks, organs are fully formed; baby begins to hear and respond to noise
· By 28 weeks, there is hair on the head
· By 30 weeks, toenails are present, and finger nails have reached to the end of the fingers and the baby’s eyes open when awake.
“Skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” See your Creator skilled in His work in the mother’s womb. This is a life from conception on. As one song expresses it, “You know how I in seclusion was made with tender precision.”
There is more. The Lord oversees our development in the womb according to the plan He has just for you. See verse 16, “Your eyes saw my substance, yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
“Yet unformed” – His eyes saw it. God knows, yes He made the details of our lives and plans with great care and love those details – your genetics, abilities, disabilities, weaknesses, and strengths. “And long before my life began you in your book decreed its span” (song). His book refers to God knowing all things. God does not need to write His plan in a book to remind Himself. We do, but He knows all this even before we were born.
For example, the apostle Paul. Paul says that from his mother’s womb God set him apart and that he would be converted (“called through His grace”) and preach Jesus among the Gentiles.
But, what if, parents find out that their baby in the womb is handicapped, mentally or physically. Even then God has a special purpose and He has made that child in His image, a relational being. To dispose of that child is murder. This child is also made by God. He knows what’s good and gives His strength to parents who trust Him for this.
Remember the story about the man who was blind from birth in John 9? It was not because of the sin of the parents or this man’s sin. The purpose was that the works of God should be revealed in him (John 9:1-3). Wow, what an amazing God we have – working out all the details in the womb.
What should be our response?
2. Therefore, I will praise Him (vv.14,17-18)
Praise! Praise from God’s child. The Psalmist here erupts with praise. What is the reason? Look at verse 14, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”
When someone makes something well for you, this should elicit praise and thanks. Likewise, you are uniquely made, uniquely designed, fearfully and wonderfully made, according to God's plan. You are a male; you are a female in God’s plan – one or the other gender. You are brown, black or white. There is no exact copy of you. All this should draw you to Him, to worship Him. Aborted babies never get the opportunity to give praise to God for the wonder of His handiwork.
Babies are offered on the altar of convenience. Disposed of as tissue, discarded, with not thought of God’s handiwork. It’s not just the mother, but also the father who is responsible- even more accountable if he consents to the abortion.
The abortion industry has become big business: babies are torn apart for experimentation, for cloning, make-up, harvesting for stem cells, or killing them for any reason at all. Abortion is terrorism of the worst kind. The child has no place to flee. The womb should be the safest place on earth.
The sin of child-sacrifice, in fact is mentioned as one of the major reasons that God judged His people and sent them into exile. “They mutilated their sons and daughters by fire – till the LORD, in great anger against Israel, put them out of His sight” (2 Kings 17:17-18).
God's judgment on our blood-soaked land should make us tremble and occasion deep humbling and repentance.
The wonder in the womb– a secret place where God is at work – forming, covering (knitting), and skillfully making. No wonder the Psalmist says in verses 17-18, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God…” That He would in His love, put that much care and thought into my life and all its details.
How precious – His thoughts to me -- like a precious jewel, so rare. “To me” – His intentions, HIs plan for my life is good – I may trust Him for that!
About God’s thoughts, he says, “How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I am awake, I am still with You.” At the heart of all of this is His relationship. Trusting Him I want to live my life in relationship with Him. Therefore, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties. And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (verses 23-24).
At least two applications flow from God’s Word here.
First, God, in His grace, reaches out to those who have aborted, or who have encouraged abortions or those who have performed the abortion. One Christian woman, in an interview, shared how she had two abortions. She tried to live as if her abortions never happened. She was afraid others would find out. It was her deep secret.
Years later, she shares how God graciously and mercifully pursued her, so that she was able to confess her sin openly, deeply regretting the choices she made. She came to trust that Jesus also bore this sin and her shame for this through His death on the cross. After a long time hiding her sin, she now came to know the joy of forgiveness. She shares, “Grace frees you to not be identified by your past. I am not my past.” If we are in Christ, we are identified only as God identifies us: as holy, righteous, redeemed children of God. God offers His grace, forgiveness and restoration for all who cry out to Him in repentance and faith. (from "In Her Shoes: One Woman’s Testimony about Abortion and God’s Grace"
from the Journal of Biblical Counseling 29:2 | 2015)
Second, God in His grace, reaches out to all of us. See with what care and love God has made us – images of Him, though broken and corrupted by sin, our sin in Adam. David confesses in Psalm 51:5, “In sin, my mother conceived me”; that is, in my conception I was already a sinner.
How much more Is His love and grace toward us in Christ who trust in Him alone for our salvation. We need to re-born by His Spirit and re-formed in Christ. Christ Himself was born a baby, conceived by the Holy Spirit, to cover my sin, even from conception on. To all who trust in Christ, He is renewing our sin-broken image day by day, detail by detail, by the working of His Spirit so that we conform more and more to Christ.
He who formed the ear and the eye and the heart Himself sees, hears and knows everything. In Christ He gives us through faith new ears to hear and new eyes to see. No longer deaf; no longer blind. Even my death, won’t take Him away from me. “When I awake” – see here a glimpse of being raised from the dead. He will never abort His own children whom He adopts in Christ.
Verses 17-18 take on new meaning, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with you.”