When King David prayed this prayer in Old Testament times, God was comparatively unknown. Jesus of Nazareth had not carried a cross to Calvary and allowed Himself to be nailed to it and hung from it. Therefore, we can pray this prayer of David with eyes that he did not have.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
– Psalm 139:23-24
We know that God does not see us as the world sees us. He sees us far more completely.
If we strive for the world’s approval, we only have to improve a slice of ourselves – not the whole loaf. In fact, human beings can so improve a slice of themselves that they can gain entrance into, say, a baseball hall of fame…or some other sport’s hall of fame. With slice of themselves, a human being can become wealthy. Or respected. Or even loved, if only in a superficial way by others who know only the slice.
God, however, knows us fully – completely. His opinion of us is based on the totality of our lives. And this God we are talking about is Jesus Christ – the one who hung on that cross. The night before He gave up His life in that gruesome way, He said to His disciples:
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
– John 15:12-13
This is the One to whom we request, “Search me…and know my heart.” This “way” is one that cannot be “hurtful.” This way of love is “the everlasting way” in which He will “lead” us. Do you see how this puts us in so much better a position than was David?
When we leave this earth, we are going to leave all of its “halls of fame” behind. In fact, we’re not taking anything with us when we leave. We’ll even get new bodies because the bodies we use here will return to dust. A daily examination of our hearts by the One who walked through this world before us is the only way to ensure our spiritual health.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, thanks for walking in our shoes before we walked in them…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)