Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 139:23-24 

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Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts! [1]
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! [2] (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 139:23 Or cares
[2] 139:24 Or in the ancient way (compare Jeremiah 6:16)

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I want to be all yours! (Psa 139:23-24)

| Jun 22, 2014

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Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!—Psalm 139:23-24

At first glance verse 23 makes no sense. The psalmist has already declared in verse 1, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me!” In verses 2-5 he boldly declares the incredible things the Lord searches and knows, leading him to celebrate in verse 6, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” In verses 7-16 he continues to recount what the Lord searches and knows, things so amazing that the psalmist cannot fathom them, so he again breaks out in praise in verse 17, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them.” After this clear declaration that the Lord has searched and known, with evidence that proves it beyond any doubt, the psalmist then says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart!” The reason it makes no sense is that the psalmist is asking the Lord to do (verse 23) what he has already declared that he does (verse 1). Why would the psalmist do this?

The answer lies in verses 19-22, where the psalmist has made other declarations, which all add up to a single point. In these verses he is passionately declaring his hatred of all that opposes the Lord. His point can be summarized in his questions, “Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?” The psalmist loves the Lord and jealously defends the honor of his name. If another person opposes the Lord, then the psalmist opposes that person. His allegiance is with the Lord and with the Lord alone. The psalmist declares it with absolute certainty. But is this really true of him?

In the final two verses, we see the earnestness of the psalmist. He wants the declaration of his words to be equal to the motivations of his heart. He wants to be a man of integrity. In other words, if there is any territory in his heart that does not truly belong to the Lord he wants to know. So he asks, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way!” These verses capture the sincerity of an individual who wants his entire being to belong to the Lord. So, when he asks the Lord, “Search me!” he is saying, “I want to be all yours! Make sure that I am by letting me know where I am not!”

How about for you? As you state these verses aloud, is this the desire of your heart also? Do you want your entire being, even your deepest thoughts, to belong to the Lord? Let that be the prayer of your heart today. “Lord, search me. I want to be all yours! Make sure that I am by letting me know where I am not!”

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David Talley is Pastor for Vision and Leadership at Grace Evangelical Free Church in La Mirada CA and Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies at Biola University. Dr. Talley is passionate about passing on God’s truth to the next generation. He has blessed the family of God greatly through vision-casting, teaching, and his many books and articles.
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