Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 139:23
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts.” – Psalm 139:23
This is a prayer we should pray regularly, although I believe it is one that is hardly ever lifted to God. David here is calling out to God to search him and know his heart. This is interesting because in the first verse of this chapter he declares, “O LORD, You have searched me and known me.” Psalm 139:1 However, he is being more explicit in our focus verse and asking that He would show him his heart. David is asking God to examine the innermost parts of him; that with great scrutiny and reveal this to him. Why? Because David does not want to be under any delusion regarding who He is in the deepest depths of his heart. That he is true in everything he sees about himself, whether good or bad. For how can we know we need to change if we are not honest about what is in our hearts. God already knows him completely, therefore this request regards David’s desire to know the reality of himself.
David is asking God to lay bare the true state of his heart. The idea is to not just know his outward conduct, but also what he thinks about, what are the thoughts and beliefs that move him to act as he does. What is it that occupies his thoughts and imaginations. What is it that he enjoys and what controls his will. He has asked God to try him, so that the results of these tests will be revealed to him. David knew there were things in his innermost being that needed to be changed and he was wanting God to reveal these things. David wanted God to show him the real David, for in seeing this he could follow the path God wants him to take. “And see if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:24. David desired to live life as God wanted. He wanted God, through showing him what was truly inside him, to guide him in the way that leads to everlasting life.
David was a very brave soul to ask this of God. For we all have thoughts, beliefs and ungodly ways that affect us, even if we do not recognize them. Many Christians believe they are good because their actions and deeds are good. However, this Christian walk goes beyond doing and actually consists of who we are as well, which is found in our hearts and minds. We can fool ourselves and others by our deeds, but when we look deep inside of us and allow God to show us the hidden things within us, these will show us reality, which can be scary, but should be looked at as a path to growth in our relationship with God and a deepening in our Christian walk.
So, I encourage everyone who reads this to pray the same prayer David did, and understand God’s response may not be what we expect or want to hear, but it is necessary in order to be the Christian He desires of us, real in both deeds and intentions. For as I alluded above, how can we correct something if we do not see anything that is wrong? We all have areas that need improvement. Let us call out to the Almighty God who loves us with an everlasting love, to show us what is in our hearts. And when He does, He will also show us what we need to change. Remember, David said, “And lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:24b. If this is what we want, then we must go through the pain and anxiety of seeing who we truly are so we can become who we ought to be.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.