Saturday, August 31, 2013

Search me, O God

Psalm 139 is one of the "biggies." In it, the psalmist talks about the God who knows everything about him, inside and out. He expresses trust in this God and a willingness to be searched, known and corrected by him. The psalmist's goal is to live in fellowship with him.

This psalm is so familiar to us—the part about being known before birth, God knowing when we sit down and rise up, knowing what we will say before we say it, not being able to get away from God. And of course, the praise to God who knows us so intimately.

We marvel at this psalm and use and pray it all the time.

But—do we really want to invite God to search us and know our hearts, test us and know our thoughts? Do we want Him to see if there is any wicked way in us... and then correct us and lead us in the way everlasting?

When I think about Christian leaders I've known who have gotten off track and done damage to themselves and their churches, what they have in common is that they got away from Psalm 139—they did not keep in mind God's searching and purifying role in their lives. Perhaps they believed they had already ordered their lives and had been "good to go" for some time. They believed their own PR, or made their own plans believing these were God's plans, or they saw themselves as God's chosen ones whose thoughts and ideas were always the right ones. They weren't open to the counsel of others or to God's correction.

When we read and pray Psalm 139, we should do so with a full understanding of what the psalmist is saying. What does it mean to be open to God searching your motivations, reaching down into your soul, and showing you what He sees there? What does it mean to ask Him to dredge things up and then lead you on His path?

This is a psalm to sit with and contemplate for a long time before accepting what it teaches and incorporating it into your life. It is not a psalm to be taken lightly.

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