Search Me, O God
Search me, O God, and know my heart test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139 begins with David’s acknowledgement that God has “examined” his heart. The Lord knows everything about him (Ps. 139:1). Nothing about David or his life can be hidden from God, who knows even what David will say before he says it (Ps. 139:4). If he tried to escape from the Lord, in every place God would be present (Ps. 139:7-13). In fact, God knew David even in his mother’s womb as he knit him together wonderfully (Ps. 139:13-16).
The first eighteen verses of Psalm 139 celebrate the Lord’s intimate knowledge of David. Verse 19 changes the subject abruptly: “O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers!” (Ps. 139:19). It’s as if the memory of those who sought David’s life interrupted his celebration of God’s presence and filled his heart with hatred for his enemies.
Then Psalm 139 takes another unexpected turn, concluding with a prayer for the Lord to examine David’s heart: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Ps. 139:23-24). Perhaps David realized that his hatred exceeded an appropriate zeal for justice.
Perhaps he remembered that, like his enemies, he had done things that dishonored the Lord. So he invited God to search him and reveal anything offensive. The implied understanding is that David would repent of those sins in order that God might “lead [him] along the path of everlasting life” (Ps. 139:24).
I need God to search me in this way. Don’t you? Though a part of me resists dealing with what is wrong in my heart, I know that I need to see my sin as God sees it, so that I might confess and be forgiven, and so that I might turn from my sin to follow the Lord more completely.
How does God reveal my sin to me? In many ways: through reading Scripture, through hearing the Word of God preached, through the challenging love of friends, and through the still small voice of the Spirit. In asking God to search me, I am inviting him also to open my heart so that I might receive the conviction of his Spirit. I am saying, “Point out anything in me that offends you, and I will listen to you!”
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have there been times in your life when God has revealed things to you that were hard, but essential, for you to hear? What helps you to attend to the convicting voice of God’s Spirit? Are you ready for God to point out anything in your life that offends him? What might help you to get ready, if you’re not?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, I cannot improve upon David’s words in Psalm 139. So I make them my own as I pray:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Give me ears to hear all that you want to say to me today.
I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.