By Jason Bowman
Before cell phones with map apps, if you got lost trying to find someone’s house, you’d call them up so they could help you navigate. The person directing you would almost always ask this question: “Where are you right now?” In order to provide directions to someone who is lost, you need to know where they currently are. This is how David thinks in Psalm 139. He knows he is lost, and so he prays for God to navigate him to the right path. However, he does more than just ask for guidance. David also seeks God’s help to know the current state of his heart.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
At the beginning of Psalm 139, David talks about how God knows him perfectly. This includes every movement David makes and every word that David speaks. This is nothing about him that God is unaware of. That tells us when David asks God to “search him,” the request has nothing to do with God learning something about David. Rather, David wants God’s help to learn about himself.
David knows that if he wants directions to the right path, he needs to know where he currently is. David accepts the limitations of his knowledge concerning his own heart. Heart refers to his inward person or his motives, emotions and thoughts. At first, that might seem odd, but how many of us actually know our own hearts all the time? How often have our own motives, emotions and thoughts been confusing to us? How often have we been in denial about what we were feeling or how we were acting? How often have we not wanted to face how far off the right path we really were?
David knows he sometimes gets lost in his anxiety and his offensive ways. When this happens, he needs God to help get back on the right path. But he also knows that getting on that right path requires knowing where he currently is. For that reason David acknowledges that God knows everything about him and in light of that knowledge, he bravely prays for God to reveal the truth about his heart. This way David can face the anxiety and offensive ways within himself and be led by God to the way everlasting.
Take a few moments fir to pray the same prayer David did (verses 23-24). Then quietly listen to the Holy Spirit, and if he brings something to mind regarding your anxious thoughts or offensive ways, act on that revelation by owning it, being willing to make a change in your life and asking God to lead you in a better path.
Try this each day for the next week and see how God works in your life.