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 way everlasting! - Psalm 139:23-24
I’m terrible at finding things. You can ask my wife. I’m absolutely awful at it. It started as a running joke, but I think the joke has long since overstayed its welcome. For some reason, I just plain can’t see when I’m in my own house looking for my own things.
It’s always been that way for me. A phrase I heard often growing up was, “If it was a snake it would’ve bit you!” Fortunately we didn’t grow up as absolute heathens with snakes all over our house, so I never had to worry about that.
Anyway, God isn’t like that at all. When He looks for something, He finds it. I mean, He created everything. He holds everything together. He knows a thing or two. And He sees everything.
That’s what makes Psalm 139:23-24 such a dangerous prayer. It takes an uncanny level of boldness to ask the creator of the universe to search and know our thoughts. I’ve seen my thoughts. They’re icky. I absolutely do not want the Lord to know them. But actually, He already does.
So we’re supposed to ask God to search us. To peer into our thoughts. What an absolutely terrifying proposition.
But God is good.
He already knows our thoughts. He has looked into our hearts with a magnifying glass. And the promise of Scripture is that He will never stop pursuing us despite our terrible hearts. He never stops loving us.
So if He knows all the things about us, why bother to ask Him to search us?
Obedience, for one. But also so we can grow. “Lead me in the way everlasting!” is the final cry of David in this Psalm. We ask God to search us not so that He will know us better, but so that we will know us better.
When we approach the throne of grace in humility and ask God to search us, He shows us what He finds and uses that to grow us. When He searches us, He roots out the bad, prunes the dying, and allows us to grow into the everlasting life He has set aside for us.
Is it a terrifying prayer? Absolutely. Does it ever get easier? I don’t know that it does. But is it always rewarding? Yes. The sweet honey of God’s everlasting way is so worth it!
So be bold today. Ask God to search you. Be ready for what He finds. And be ready to grow.