“Search me, O 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)
If you have the time, try and read the whole of Psalm 139. The Interpreter’s Bible calls it “one of the glories of the Psalter” and as you read it you will find many verses that sound familiar. It is a Psalm of David and it speaks of the God who knows all things, the God who is in all places, and the God who creates. It speaks of the God who sees all creation (and today we understand more than ever just how huge creation is) and at the same time sees into the womb and watches over the formation of a little person. Theologians might use words like Omniscience and Omnipresence to describe these mysteries but the Psalmist just uses words of praise and joy and wonder.
The intriguing part of the Psalm is that it begins with the words, “Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me” and ends with the words, “Search me, oh God and know my heart.” He is asking the God who knows him, to get to know him. Why is this so? Here we see David at his best, spiritually poverty stricken and crying out for a pure heart. David is fully aware that it is possible to not know your own heart, so he asks God to show him what He sees in his heart. He invites God to test him knowing full well that God tests by fire and by water but he is prepared to risk it because he wants a pure heart. No wonder David is called a man after God’s own heart. The good news is that because of what God has done for you in Christ and because of the power of the Holy Spirit at work within you, you can be a person after God’s own heart as well. Do you want to be?
Show me, as my soul can bear,
The depth of inbred sin,
All the unbelief declare,
The pride that lurks within;
Take me, whom thyself hast bought,
Bring into captivity
Every high aspiring thought
That would not stoop to thee. (348)