23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
We have become a culture that is easily offended. Why are so many quick to be offended, because we filter everything through our feelings and look at life based on how it affects us. If something hurts our feelings we are offended but do we stop to consider how we are living might be offensive to God? In Psalm 139 David asks God to reveal anything that is offensive because sometimes we don’t see what God sees. This prayer is not the easy or safe prayers we might prefer like God bless us, help us, protect us, God do this and God do that! Don’t get me wrong these are not bad prayers but they are safe prayers, because for the most part they allow us to keep our distance from God. What offends us is primarily outward focused but what offends God is inward its what is in the heart. Thats why in Luke 6:45 Jesus said, “What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Very few Christians pray this prayer because we are more comfortable focusing on others because it keeps the spotlight off of us. But David’s prayer here takes us out of our comfort zone. Interestingly it’s a prayer he prayed right after his enemies and God’s enemies were on the attack, accusing David of having wrong motives. Instead of fighting and defending himself, David turned to God and said SEARCH MY HEART! Our tendency when we are being attacked is to point out all the faults in others not to ask God to sift our hearts. There are four parts to his prayer starting first with discovery.
- The first thing David prays is, “Search me, O God, and know my heart!”
You may wonder “why would we ask God to search our heart. This is not and exercise for God to discover what’s in our hearts, He already knows, this is for our discovery and benefit. We are asking God to reveal what is really going on in our hearts. When we don’t, we can fall into the trap of self-deception. But praying this prayer gives God the opportunity to show you some things about yourself which can bring you into a more intimate relationship with Him. It’s not safe, but it can make you so much closer to God. Do you know the real motives of your heart? Are you content with a surface faith or do you want God to reveal the cracks in the foundation that need to be dealt with?
- Second David prays, “Try me and know my anxious thoughts!”
How many of us are really willing to ask God to open us up and reveal what’s really going on in our hearts? What is it that makes you anxious and afraid? Your job, the future, this pandemic, your health, a loved one? Why would we say, “God, show me my anxious thoughts?” Because what we fear the most reveals where we trust God the least. When we are willing to expose ourselves and pray this prayer not only will God better help us to understand our hearts but also what is holding us back from fully trusting Him. Maybe you recognize a sin issue which has been holding you back. Something you’ve been able to rationalize to yourself and maybe even with others. It might have to do with your home life, or work, or with a relationship. Whatever it is God is faithful and He will reveal it to you so that you can grow.
- David now comes to the third part of the prayer, “And see if there be any offensive way in me.”
David is saying, God, while I’m being really vulnerable with you don’t just show me my fears but also anything within me that is offensive to you. How many of us are willing to ask this in prayer? This type of prayer takes courage, and many of us never pray this prayer because it requires a deep vulnerability and trust in God. The more I rest in my relationship with God the more willing I am to ask Him to show me what’s really going on in my life. Sadly, many of us have a surface relationship with God, He is more of an acquaintance than our heavenly Father. As a result, we are not really willing to go this deep and be this vulnerable. David asked God to show him anything that was displeasing to Him. Most of us focus on how we feel about everything around us but do we ever stop to ask God how He feels about it? Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to see your own sins and yet how easy it is to see everybody else’s? We tend to accuse others, and then we excuse ourselves. But the most common lies are the ones we tell ourselves. That’s why we need to have the courage to say, “Search my heart, God. Test me. Know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me.” God in His grace will point out any sin that is dwelling in our hearts. He will reveal anything that needs to be worked on. Anything that you are trying to deny, things you become defensive about. Don’t deny the truth, submit yourself to what God is trying to show you, and then have the courage to make the changes you need to make. Once God reveals what is really going on in your life confess it and asking God for forgiveness along with anyone else you may have hurt. This is the process of learning to depend on Christ. Maybe it’s an addiction issue, embrace His power to overcome your addiction. It could be a prideful heart; you need His power to be humbled and depend on Him. It might be a lust issue. You need His truth to renew your mind and transform your heart. Or what about a materialistic and greedy heart. If we love the things of this world then you need to fall so in love with Him, that this world is not your home, heaven is your home. Whatever God shows you; it always points directly to your need for Jesus. It takes courage to pray this prayer because when you do God will show you some things about yourself that need to change.
- Lastly David ends his prayer with this, “And lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
God doesn’t just show us the problems but also the path. God’s way is always the everlasting way! His power, His strength, His courage, His hope, His grace, His love all of which will endure forever! Are you following the Father and His plan and path for your life or yours? In Psalm 23:3 David reminds me that I have a good shepherd that desires to, “guide me along the right paths for his name’s sake.” What if we worried more about offending God and less about being offended? Do you have the courage to 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.