“Praising the God Who Searches Our Hearts”
What is clear from the psalmist is that we worship the one God of all creation. This is the God who creates from nothing, as well as the God who acts in human history to redeem us through the gift of Jesus Christ.
The psalmist begins by acknowledging that he has a personal relationship with the God of all the heavens and the earth. God Almighty is the same God who searches and knows the psalmist’s heart. God knows all. There is no place the psalmist can run, no place the psalmist can hide. God knows everything about him. God knows the things he does; God know the things he thinks. Even before the psalmist says a word, God knows what he is going to say. Such knowledge is beyond his understanding; the psalmist will never be able to understand it. Yet, the psalmist knows in his heart that God is living and active in his life.
In the next several verses the psalmist shares the life questions he has with God. There are times when the pressures of life become so great that the psalmist thinks he cannot cope with everything. He wants to find a place to hide or run away, but in reality he knows that he can never run away from God. God is with him no matter what! Even if he were to die, God would be there. Even in the dark night of his human soul, God is with him.
God is with us as well! No matter what life brings, God is there for us.
Once again the psalmist is reminded of God’s presence. God has a plan for him and God has a plan for us. The God who searches our hearts is the same God who knew the psalmist in his mother’s womb and who has plans for him.
These thought are so lofty that there is no way the psalmist can understand them. The psalmist is overwhelmed with the power and majesty of God. God’s providence has truly built purpose and meaning into life.
Next comes the part of the psalm which is often omitted as it is read in worship. Such phrases as ‘kill the wicked’ and ‘hate those who hate you’ are disturbing.
Yet the truth is that we all have combatants in our lives, people who we simply don’t understand. What the psalmist is doing in Psalm 139 is sharing with God his feelings in an open and honest way, even when he has just admitted that God knows everything anyway! What a novel idea; the psalmist is simply being honest with the one God of all creation.
Yet even in honesty, the psalmist knows that human anger does not work the righteousness of God. It is only in perfect hatred that the psalmist shares his feelings with God.
Now in a moment of humility and not anger, the psalmist asks God to search and know him in order that God might lead and guide him into a more perfect love. The psalmist asks God to open his eyes and his heart, not only to God’s purpose for his life, but also to the things in his life that God wants to change. The true desire of the psalmist is to please God.
As the Westminster Shorter catechism reminds us: “The chief purpose of every human being is to glorify God and to enjoy the presence of God forever!”
O searching God of all our hearts and minds, come near and speak truth to our hearts. Even when our human desire is to run from you, remind us that you are always near. You are truly a God of wonders. Keep leading us in the ways of your kingdom and righteousness. AMEN.