Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139: 23-24, NLT)
The Psalmist David in Psalm 139 had come to a point in his life where he understood that: a) God knows us; b) He has our backs, c) we can’t hide from Him; d) He purposed us; e) He, God, has precious thoughts of us and; f) He wants us to hate sin. Our purpose, as defined by God, is to love Him, bring glory to God through obedience, and enjoy an unconditional, loving relationship with Him. When, as believers in Jesus Christ, we also come to this understanding or epiphany, we then are ready to submit to God and participate willingly in His loving relationship that also involves our testing.
The psalmist, at the end of Psalm 139 in verses 23-24 quoted above, requested that God search and test him. This, to many of us, sounds strange and maybe even masochistic. The reality of David’s understanding of and devotion to God is made clear in his stated desire to be tested. David wanted God to search and test him to know his often hidden or denied concerns, worries, and apprehensions regarding his adherence to God’s will. Since David had already declared God’s complete knowledge of him, the testing was an exercise designed to reveal to David, himself, his inner thoughts and fears.
In a world where confessions of loyalty, commitment, and character are so easily made by so many, we might also confess that we have concealed concerns about ourselves. These concerns produce restlessness in our hearts and minds, even in the face of God’s promise to provide peace and sanctuary.
1 Peter 5: 6-7 (NLT) says So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. When we comprehend the love that God has for us and embrace the plan He has for our lives, there will not be a casual response or confession of obedience but a searching inquiry of self on our part. When we see the plan and promises of God fall short of expectations, we will not look to God for the cause of the failure but to ourselves.
When we turn to our loving Father for insight into the issues of our lives, God will lovingly reveal our need for affirmation or correction in our thinking or actions. These revelations sometimes come through God testing us to be obedient or to be faithful to whom we confess (or think) we are. God wants us to be self-aware as well as God-conscious. Let our response to God speaking to us in our hearts, or confronting us with our true selves, be like David: “search me and test me”. Ask Him to point out anything that offends, and ask Him to lead us on a path of eternal life with Him. We will find that, as we embrace God’s love, He cares for us and will lift us up. God wants us to be in a position to receive His full package of love and blessings.