November 14, 2015
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.
The Sixth Day Exercise
We finally come to the end of Psalm 139 and we end in a strikingly similar with the way we began. Let’s remember v.1 again.
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
It ends with an invitation to search me yet again.
So why all this searching within? I am convinced we cannot know ourselves apart from knowing we are known by God. I like how Jeremiah put it:
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”
God knows. And the secret to truly knowing ourselves is to know the God who knows us better than we know ourselves. The Holy Spirit gives us self knowledge in ways that actually set us free from ourselves. Every other way of knowing ourselves is just another form of narcissistic naval gazing.
My biggest takeaway from Psalm 139 this time around is the way it teaches us to examine ourselves. So often we want to begin with either self reassurance or self condemnation. The Psalmist has us begin with the declaration that God knows us. It moves then to the affirmation that there is no escaping God knowing us. Just when you think it would go to the negative consequences of God’s knowledge of us, the Psalmist rehearses how marvelous we are in God’s sight. Finally, we get to the place of pouring out our angst before God. We close out with an opening up, no, an abandoning of ourselves to the searching grace of the Holy Spirit. This is a very profound pattern leading us into a powerful way of prayer. It’s a marvelous prelude to the sixth day exercise. Go back now and read Psalm 139 in its entirety and make it your prayer, and then jump into the exercise.
In case you are new to the Sixth Day Exercise. In case you are just joining us, each week we share in an exercise called “The Sixth Day Exercise.” As Genesis 1 has it, God created human beings in his own image on the sixth day. Genesis 3 shows us the desecration of the image of God in our race which has only compounded itself across the centuries. It’s why the Image Bearer himself, Jesus Christ, came. His life, death, resurrection and ascension reversed the curse of sin and death and created a pathway whereby our broken race could be made gloriously whole again; restored to the Creator’s intent. Paul put it this way:
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22.
Given we were made on the Sixth Day, it makes sense that we might stop and assess how it’s going on the long journey of being “remade” on each successive sixth day.
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J.D. Walt serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. firstname.lastname@example.org.