Search Me And Know My Heart- Psalm 139:23-24

As we conclude our study of Psalm 139, we find David concluding his meditation here with a prayer, with him asking God to do something in his life. He begins this prayer by asking God to “search me and know my heart”. The word search here is a Hebrew word which means to dig down to the depths, to search David to the very core of his being. David here asks God to do this so that He may “know” him. What David is asking here, as is the case with all of the requests in this prayer,is that God would show David himself. God is omniscient and already knows all the things which David asks here, so David asking God to do this is, in effect, David asking God to show David himself, to reveal things to David about himself which he has been either unaware of or unwilling to deal with. The first thing which David asks God to show him is his heart. The heart, in the Bible, is seen as the seat of the mind, will, emotions and desires. The heart is what determines why we think what we think, feel what we feel, desire what we desire and do what we do. So what David first asks God to show him is why he thinks, feels, desires and behaves the way he does, for it is only when we know why we do things that we will truly be able to change them. David then asks God to “test me and know my anxious thoughts”. The word test here refers to the purification of metal, to metal being refined to remove all impurities. By impure thinking here, David means all ways of thinking which do not line up with the truth of the Word of God, and these impure thoughts are also described here as anxious, for David knows the root of his anxiety is found in flawed thinking, in thinking which does not align with the truth of the Word of God. So what David asks next is for God to “refine” his thinking to show him any “impurities” which cause him to think in ways which do not align with the truth. David then, in verse 24, moves from thoughts to actions, in asking God to “see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”. The Hebrew word “see” here is raah, to see mentally, to perceive and become aware of. The Hebrew word “wicked” here is otseb, meaning “idolatrous”. David here asks God that he would be able to perceive, to become aware of and understand, when he has begun to follow after any “idol”, when he has begun to worship and serve anyone or anything other than the true God, for doing so will lead him in the wrong “way”, cause him to follow the wrong path in his life and be led away from God’s plan and purpose for him. He then concludes by asking God to “lead me in the way everlasting”. The word lead here is nachach, to guide or direct on a path. This way or path is described by David as “everlasting”. This word is used here to refer to the eternal truths of the ways of God, which do not transform with or conform to the changing truths of the culture over time, and David here asks God to give him the strength of character to resist the pressures to conform to the changing ways of human wisdom, the pressure to conform to current cultural norms, and to steadfastly follow the eternal truths of the Scriptures. So what we find here, at the conclusion of this Psalm, is David finding the courage and strength to ask God to show him himself, to show him all the ways in which he comes up short of God’s plan and purpose for his life, to show him all of his inadequacies and shortcomings, for David has learned that it is only when we become aware of these and take responsibility for them that we will be able to overcome them. It is our prayer that all who would read this would also find the courage and strength, which David did, to pray this prayer as well, to be open to this type of self-examination, to this type of “search” by God, for it is the failure to do so which can keep us from God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

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