Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
Psalm 139 begins with David’s pronouncement that nothing in our lives escapes God’s sight, and to be honest, the thought terrifies him! He wants to run away and hide, but he realizes there is nowhere he could go to get away from God’s piercing vision. By the end of this poem, David’s trust in God has been strengthened. He is convinced that God’s blazing eyes are tempered by His amazing grace. Now, in the final lines, David actually invites God to search his heart, to show him any sin, and to change his life.
The transformation is remarkable- from wanting to run from God to inviting Him to look into every crevice and dark spot in David’s heart. What could cause such a change? David became convinced that God loved him and wanted the best for him, and in fact, God had called him to be His partner in taking His message to the whole world! God’s love and the honor of representing Him gave David a fresh desire for God to purify his life so that nothing would get in the way.
Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a best friend in whom you could confide everything- and I mean everything. Most of us are fortunate to have those in our lives that we feel comfortable with and that we feel we can share almost everything. Part of our fear of sharing our innermost feelings or struggles is the concern with the idea that it might be used against us as leverage. We often internalize our struggles because we want to present the appearance that all is well. I suppose that to some degree this may stem from fear of rejection or perhaps pride that wants us to appear to have our act together all of the time.
Even in our relationship with God we hesitate to bare our souls. Maybe we think that if He really knew us He wouldn’t want us. That appears to be David’s thoughts in the beginning of Psalm 139. To feel that there is no where to hide from God and nothing is hid from His sight can be scary thoughts especially if we’re engaged in activity that we know isn’t good or right. We know that when humans discover our bad behavior we either receive punishment, rejection or both. We fear that God operates the same. As David begins to reflect on the fact that it was God who lovingly formed him and that he was “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God, he realizes that he can trust God with everything. David, as he proceeds through the psalm, he shares his discovery of the incredible grace and mercy of God. As he works his way through the psalm, David opens us up to the opportunities to get to know and trust God. After all, he concludes, there’s really nothing that we can hide from God. He lets us in on the secret of how much our Creator cares for us. There’s an old song that goes, “There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one.” The chorus goes on to say, “Jesus knows all about our troubles. He will guide till the day is done. There’s not a friend like a lowly Jesus, no not one, no not one!”
That’s what God wants. That’s His purpose of creating Adam and Eve and us. He doesn’t want people to hang out with Him because they feel they must. I’m sure He’s sad when we only see Him as a source. Worse still is when His children feel they can’t fully trust Him so when they do wrong, they run and hide rather than running to Him. We only fool ourselves when we think we can hide anything from God. We may build human relationships on falsehoods or hidden secrets but that’s never the case with God. We may enter a human relationship without truly knowing the other person, but God offers us the opportunity to have a relationship with Him while knowing everything about us. And you can fully trust someone who knows everything about you and still wants to have a relationship with you. That’s why David comes to God and openly asks Him to search his heart. David fully understands that there’s no need for God to do a search for there’s nothing there hidden from Him. Perhaps what David is asking God is to reveal what he had hidden away, pretended to be nonexistent or maybe what David is unable or unwilling to admit about himself. Sometimes we need a friend who loves us enough to not let us go on pretending that all is well. We don’t want just anyone looking into our dark places, but we sure need a friend to do that.
David doesn’t end his request with just asking God to search him or to test his thoughts. David realizes that just knowing or accepting what needs correction isn’t enough. Something has to be done and he hasn’t the power or the wisdom to make the adjustments. So he asks God to lead him in the everlasting way. That’s a true friend. One who can help us discover what we need to change and then stick with us through the process of change. We need one to point us in the right direction and if necessary to push us in the right way. We need someone to guide us, to lead us to help us and to give us strength until we find ourselves on the right path. Once we are on the right path, we need a friend to help us stay on the path. David realized that all this was possible once we get the revelation that God is truly our best friend.
Dr. John Thompson