God searches

Psalm 139--23-24

Taken from Psalm 139, the Verse of Day for March 7, 2016 presents this personal petition:

Psalm 139:23-24 (AMP)

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

This passage also brings to mind a blog entry posted a few months ago when I did not discuss the Verse of the Day but rather f0cused on the Word for the Day, examining a particular word and expounding upon its meaning and personal application. That word was “research.” Just as it was at that time, so I am also currently teaching a composition course where my students are working on a research paper, and simultaneously as a professor at Carolina College of Biblical Studies, I am serving on the committee for a colleague who is completing the research for his dissertation from another university. The term “research” continues to be very much in my thoughts.

Research in its most literal sense means to “re-search” or to “search again.” In thinking about the passage from Psalm 139, I recognize that this entire psalm could be viewed as an invitation to deepest, divine inspection. The Psalmist opens with recognition that God knows all about us. He has made, formed and created us. Indeed, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” The psalm closes with a heartfelt request in the closing verses.

Upon further reflecting on Psalm 139, I also thought about the concept of “research” and recall a discussion regarding God, our Father, as the ultimate “Researcher” who conducts this grand “research project” whose primary purpose is for the advancement of human knowledge about God, that we might “fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” In the process we discover, interpret and develop knowledge, which we apply as we grow in our understanding of the Creator and His vast universe. I recall this poem that centers on “searching” or “trying,” as in examining closely and scrutinizing in detail in order to render some kind of assessment or evaluation. Introducing the work is a section of Scripture from Romans 8:27-28 (NKJV):

27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose

 

God Searches
Romans 8:27-28

God searches the depths of each soul and probes each heart,
To uncover each motive and extract the pure,
Discarding dross, thus perfecting the refiner’s art.
The word of prophecy stands as even more sure,
The touchstone to measure the essence of all life.
All else shall fail, but the Word shall ever inspire.
This two-edged sword, sharper than a finely honed knife–
Living, powerful, piercing each thought and desire,
Penetrating soul and spirit, joints and marrow–
Probing deepest emotions, dispelling the dark.
Life-giving and powerful, swift as an arrow
That finds its target and that always hits its mark.
Reaching its own perfection, to its fullest extent,
The Word of God prospers wherever it is sent.

Esther Mui offers this tender rendition of “Lead Me in the Way Everlasting” (Christian Scripture Praise Worship) inspired by Psalm 139:23-24.

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