WORD Sent Forth #21


Search me, O God, and know my heart; Put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there is any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.  (Psalm 139:23-24)

The verse above is probably one of those passages that I know by heart. I use these words as part of my effort to fulfill a challenge that our Lord Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount. He said, “Therefore you shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). In context, this was His conclusive statement to the sermon’s lesson of ‘loving thine enemies’

You’re probably wondering what Psalm 139:23-24 has to do with Jesus’ challenge to be perfect. Well, this psalm, which was written by King David, speaks of the inescapable presence of God and His intimate knowledge of all of us. From verses 1 to 17, David’s song had that expressed feelings of praise and exultation, but then we come to verses 19-22. David’s tone changed from exultation to deep bitterness (at least, in my mind). He wrote…

If only You would put the wicked to death, God; Leave me, you men of bloodshed. For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate You, LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies. (Psalm 139:19-22)

Since the time when David stood his ground against Goliath, for over 50 years, he had to contend with enemies of God from both within and outside his kingdom. Since David, who was the apple of God’s eyes, had written this, it may seem right that we should emulate this zeal.  Afterall, as Christians, are we not expected to hate sin? This was probably in David’s mind when he composed these four verses. In his elation, he exulted in what he thought was righteousness. But then suddenly, like someone stepping hard on the brakes, David drastically changed tone from the thrilled self-righteous hater of God’s enemies to one of humble realization. Where he probably thought he stood proud on a pedestal, David remembered that God who knew him so well was before him scrutinizing his very heart. David may have also remembered that his own sense of righteousness had gaping holes in them. For the Lord God had said that he too was filled with bloodshed (1 Chronicles 22:8) and was himself a hater of God (for a short while). God forgave David but he was denied the privilege to build the Temple for God.

This was a lesson for me. Though I walked with the Lord for over 30 years, my walk may not be as exemplary as I want. Like David, I too have sinned. Those mistakes that I know of, I was able to repent and correct. But there are many errors that I committed that I may not be aware of but yet it may have tainted my testimony or worst yet, tarnish the Lord’s name by my action or lack of.

If I am to do what is right in the Lord’s sight, then I must pray what David pleaded for at the end of Psalm 139. I must always ask that the Lord provides me a close and honest look at myself so that there be no hurtful way in me and that the road I’m on is still the everlasting way.