by Matt Slick
Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way."
These are perhaps some of the most poignant words in the entire Bible. In these two verses, there is so much. We see the Psalmist asking God to search him, to look to the deepest part of what he is, his own heart. Why would the Psalmist ask this? And, why would any of us ask it? The reason is simple. We can not know our own hearts as well as God can. He indwells us, knows every thought, is aware of every feeling, and He understands us better than we do. If we ever needed anyone to reach down in the depths of our hearts to find out what is unholy so that it can be removed, it is God.
David is the psalmist. David is asking God to prove, to test his loyalty because he is not like the wicked men spoken of earlier in the Psalm. David desired God and God's holiness.
When God asked Solomon what he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom, and because he did not ask for money, and power, or fame, God blessed him with all of them. Wisdom was a great thing to have. Nevertheless, Solomon fell into idolatry in his letter years and his wisdom did not help him in the end.
By contrast, David said, "One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple," (Psalm 27:4). Even though David committed adultery, murdered Bathsheba's husband, and used deception to cover his great sins, God, who knew this would happen, said of him through Samuel, "The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people..." (1 Sam. 13:14). There was a quality in David that pleased God. What was that quality? It was David's heartfelt desire for the Lord.
You need to know this because it will help you to understand the intimacy that David sought with God which ultimately led him to ask God, "know my heart." David seeks God in the most intimate place and asks Him to examine him there. David asks God to see if there is any hurtful way in him -- in the deepest part of his being. David was being vulnerable.
Is there any hurtful way in your heart? Would you be able to ask God to search your heart down to the deepest levels and reveal to you the secrets that not even you know is there? Would you trust God enough to ask Him to expose and root out of you that which is displeasing to Him? Do you have the courage to bow your knees, to lower your head, to lay prostrate before God, and to become as vulnerable as you can to Him as you ask him to look into your heart, to see if there's anything bad in there, and to deal with it accordingly? Such a request grows out of humility as well as increases humility. It is the ultimate trust in God. It can be scary. But it is definitely good.
David did not simply ask God to see if there's any hurtful way in him and leave it at that. He asked to be led by God in the everlasting way. This means to be corrected and sanctified by God's loving hands.
David did not know the Messiah since Jesus was far distant in the future. But David knew the Messiah would come. You, on the other hand, know the everlasting way -- if you know Christ as your savior. Jesus, who is God in flesh, who died on the cross and rose from the dead bodily, is the everlasting way. Therefore, for you to be led by God in the everlasting way is to be led to Christ.
May the desire of your heart be that you would seek Jesus, that you would dwell in His house forever, and that you would behold His beauty. God desires that you desire this because He loves you.