Psalm 139 vs 23 - 24
“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.”
We seem to have been locked into reverse today as a community, we’re moving backwards into new restrictions and a form of lockdown the details have just been made known. For those who are vulnerable, who have been shielding, people in business and parents of children it is all bound to be troubling and the levels of our anxiety and the nature of the things that trouble us will be as different as the individual.
Sometimes though, we need to set those anxieties against the background of a wider picture and for Christians that is always against the background of God’s sovereignty. When we think of God’s sovereignty we inevitably think of his hand on world events, the big picture but it is not only in history and globally that God is in control it is also at the personal and individual level. If you have never read Psalm 139 in its entirety make a point of reading it today.
The psalmist speaks of God as all seeing, all present and all creating to use Derek Kidner’s headings but on this occasion it is very much at a personal level. In this he speaks for each one of us as we wonder at God’s attention to individuals and his infinite care. As the psalm comes to a close though, he expresses his contempt for those who hate God and are at the same time his own enemies. Then, almost as if his thoughts have been triggered his mind turns to his own fitness to worship God and he says “search me o God and know my anxious thoughts”. That used to puzzle me in the light of the whole of the first part of the psalm which expresses such high confidence. Having said that however, whether the psalmists concern about the threat of enemies, or his fitness to worship God is in the frame or, as far as we are concerned, it’s our general anxiety over the threat to our health or that of our families, anxiety of any kind represents a lack of faith, a defect in our trust of the God of grace who knows us so intimately and who will, as we trust in him, lead us in the way everlasting. Such doubt reflects our sinfulness. So maybe this should be our prayer too even today, “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.”