Search Me, O God

The Lord scrutinizes our paths, our lying down, and our rising up.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

In Psalm 139, David expresses awe at how intimately God knows us. The Lord scrutinizes our paths, our lying down, and our rising up. His hand is always upon us.

He discerns our thoughts from afar, knowing them fully before a word is on our tongue.

David says there is nowhere he could flee from God’s spirit and presence. Both height and depth are open before the Lord’s eyes.

Such omniscience could be terrifying – after all, nothing is hidden from God’s sight. But David does not find it oppressive.

Rather, he is comforted that God’s comprehensive knowledge of him is coupled with faithful love. The God who sees all is also the God who formed and knit us together in the womb.

Ask God to Search Your Hearts

Since God already sees all, David invites Him to keep searching deeply within.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart.”

Psalm 139:23

He welcomes the Lord’s examination because he knows it will lead to purity and restoration. Though God is fully aware of the contents of our hearts, He desires that we consciously open ourselves up to His refining work.

Asking God to search our hearts requires humility and courage.

Do we really want Him to dig up the sinful thoughts and motives we easily justify or ignore?

Are we ready to have Him chip away at prideful self-reliance and expose our deepest hurts and fears?

But the courageous prayer for God to search our hearts always results in blessings.

Offensive Ways

David specifically asks God to reveal any “offensive way” in him. The Hebrew word translated “offensive” connotes rebellion and wrongdoing.

These are the sins of both commission and omission – the wrong things we do as well as the good we fail to do.

When we harbor lies, nurse grudges, indulge in impurity, or operate out of selfish ambition, it grieves God’s Spirit. Defensive walls start rising up in our hearts, severing intimacy with Him.

But as the Lord graciously exposes the offensive ways in us, He extends mercy.

The wonder of the Cross is that Christ bore God’s wrath for our rebellion so we could be forgiven and cleansed.

When we confess and turn from offensive ways, the barriers separating us from God come tumbling down. Sweet fellowship with Him is restored.

The Way Everlasting

The fruit of God’s searching is “the way everlasting” – the path of righteousness that leads to eternal life.

As God excavates the offensive ways in us, He fills those empty spaces with more of His light and truth.

Sin’s stranglehold is broken; virtue and godliness take root. Our thoughts become more aligned with His thoughts; our desires are refined.

Walking in the way everlasting brings tremendous freedom and joy. The false selves we construct always end up enslaving us. But God wants to excavate our mess and shape our true identity as His beloved children.

Though the refining process can be painful, the destination of deeper intimacy with Christ makes it infinitely worthwhile.

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