Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 139: 23-24’

Nine times two and so much more

November 17, 2018

As we continue to move toward the end of 2018, the thought occurred to me that 18 is the number nine times two. I also recall the spiritual significance of nine in light of E.W. Bullinger’s Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance from which this excerpt comes:

Nine–denotes finality of judgment. It is 3 x 3. The number nine or its factors or multiples is seen in all cases where judgment is the subject. In mathematical science it possesses properties and powers which are found in no other number. Among others may be mentioned (1) that the sum of the digits which form its multiples are themselves always a multiple of nine; e.g., 2 x 9 = 18 (and 1+8=9); 3 x 9 = 27 (and 2+7=9); 4 x 9 = 36 (and 3+6=9); 5 x 9 = 45 (and 4+5=9), etc. It is a factor of 666, which is 9 times 74.

But nine is the square of three, and three is the number of Divine perfection, as well as the number peculiar to the Holy Spirit. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that this number denotes finality in divine things (as in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 and in the manifestation of the Spirit in I Corinthians 12).

As individuals seek to number their days and apply their hearts unto wisdom, we recognize all we do will examined by God, our gracious heavenly Father, the Righteous Judge. Romans 8:26 reminds us that God “searches the depths of each soul and probes each heart.” We recognize this searching of the hearts is ongoing, for God does not look on the hearts of humanity simply one time, but the probe continues in that He searches again and again.

While thinking about these ideas, I also thought about the concept of “research” (literally to search again and again) 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 also recall that a number of poems I have written centering on “searching” or “trying,” as in examining closely and scrutinizing in detail in order to render some kind of assessment or evaluation. This morning I came across one such poem written when I was participating in a clinical trial related to prostate cancer at the Ohio State University. During this time I wrote a poem reflecting on that experience, as I thought about one of the reasons I chose to participate in the clinical trial which caused me to think of lyrics to the song “If I Can Help Somebody”:

Then my living shall not be in vain!
If I can help somebody as I pass along,
Then my living shall not be in vain!

All of this information is flowing together in a most remarkable way as “I . . . arise and strive to reach the place /where the rivers of understanding flow.” That experience culminated in this poem written nine years ago:

Search Me Again

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; 

Try me, and know my anxieties;

24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

As you follow your protocol, search me again;
Probe the depths of my soul, as you once more explore
My life’s work, as you have done many times before.
While you search, take pleasure in all that may remain,
For your thoughtful study of my ways will explain
The lapses, that though I fall short, you will restore,
That I might be renewed to serve you even more
And so prove that my living will not be in vain.
May you find in me admissible evidence.
May your research validate my life and confirm
All that lives in me, as you once more analyze
The thesis of this “research project,” in a sense.
Despite intense scrutiny may all your findings affirm
Pure-hearted devotion and joyful service in your eyes.

We close with Hillsong offering this magnificent song of worship “Search Me O God”:

Ultimate reseacher

February 1, 2018

A previous blog post focused on the Word of the Day” which turned out to be “research,” whose root is “search”, a term related to what God continually does to the human heart. Research, in its most literal sense, means to “re-search” or to “search again. God, our Father, as the ultimate “Researcher” 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.

In thinking about God as “the ultimate researcher,” Psalm 139 also comes to mind. The Psalmist opens with recognition that God knows all about us. Verses 13-16 reveal the intricate and delicate complexity of His matchless creation:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

In some Hebrew texts, the reference to the “inward parts” or “inmost being” in verse 13 has been literally translated “kidneys”, the seat of inner human desires. Indeed, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

A patient undergoing a cystoscopy provides an example of deep internal examination of parts of the urinary tract. This surgical procedure allows a urologist to examine the lining of the bladder and the urethra by means of a device equipped with a camera and a light inserted into the urethra. Such advances in medical technology make possible the deep probing of our “inward parts” in the natural.

Spiritually speaking, all of Psalm 139 can be viewed as an invitation to deepest, divine inspection, as the celebrated psalm closes with this heartfelt request:

Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT} :

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

This passage, in part, also inspired this original psalm:

Search Me: A Song for You

“I know your image of me is what I hope to be

If I’ve treated you unkindly, can’t you see

That there’s no one more important to me.

Oh, won’t you please look through me. . . “

“A Song for You”–Leon Russell

                                                

Search me, O God, and know my heart:

try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if there be any wicked way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139: 23-24

 

The whole of my life unfolds as an open book,
Known and read by all with eyes to see, page by page.
As you read each line, take an even closer look,
Probe the depths of each of my thoughts, as you engage
The text, searching my heart for its deepest meaning.
Your searching and knowing is the ultimate scan.
As you discern my essence, my inmost being,
I will align myself according to your plan.
Beyond scans, scopes, devices to diagnose,
You see and assess any abnormality.
In these times of watchful waiting, you draw me close:
Despite what tests reveal, you will heal and deliver me.
At times I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what to do,
“But we’re alone now, and I’m singing this song to you.

Esther Mui offers a Christian Scripture Praise Worship Song: Psalm 139:23-24 “Lead Me in the Way Everlasting”:

God searches

July 2, 2017

Verse of the Day for July 2, 2017 provides a sobering statement regarding the human heart from God’s perspective:

Jeremiah 17:9-10:

“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things.

The New Living Translation offers this rendering:

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?
10 But I, the LORD, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve.”

This passage brings to mind a blog entry posted a few months ago that focused on the Word of the Day: “research,” a term related to what God continually does to the human heart. Research, in its most literal sense, means to “re-search” or to “search again. In thinking about the Verse of the Day, another passage from Psalm 139 also comes to mind. In fact, 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:

Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT} :

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Upon further reflecting on Psalm 139, I also think 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 rendition of “Lead Me in the Way Everlasting” (Christian Scripture Praise Worship w/ Lyrics) inspired by Psalm 139:23-24.

Search me, again, O God

May 14, 2015

Psalm-139 13-14

The Verse of the Day for May 14, 2015 is taken from Psalm 139:13-14 (KJV):

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Here is a rendering in the New Living Translation:

13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it

All of Psalm 139 can 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 celebrated psalm closes with verses 23-24, a heartfelt request:

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139 brings to mind a previous blog entry “Try me: Search me again” which I have modified and re-post today, as this new dose of good medicine from the shelves of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.

The original blog also entry made reference to a life-changing teaching from Dr. David Jeremiah, who taught on the refining fire of God more than ten years ago. I discuss the message in this excerpt from a journal entry made following the teaching:

It is one of the most moving tapes I have heard, as he relates how God puts us through the process of refining in order to extract the precious metal from within us. In the same way that a refiner breaks the stones and sends them through the fire over and over again, so God sends us through the fires of life in order to extract and purify the gold within our souls. God removes our need to feel secure, to be in control, and to survive by putting in situations that try us, “fiery temptations” that prove who we really are. God controls the entire process, determining the timing, the temperature, the target, and the terms of the fire. Our tendency is respond with a series of questions as to “why?”: “why me?”, “why now?”, and “why not someone else?” Like children, we continually ask why when God, as a good parent, is not obligated to explain that which children cannot understand at the time they ask “why.” The only questions we should be asking are “What are you trying to teach me?” and “What are you trying to change in me?”

In reflecting upon the passage from Psalm 139, my mind is flooded with an understanding of what is transpiring in my life at this time. God is doing precisely what I asked Him to do in two poems “Try Me” and “Search Me: A Song for You” both of which express my deepest desire:

Try Me

Psalm 139:23-24

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary. . .

pure and holy, tried and true. . .

 

Purify my motive; assay my devotion;

weigh each desire, carat by carat, dram by dram.

In the refining fire of your furnace try me.

Test the mettle of my soul; scrape away all dross,

all debris that would adulterate my intents

and leave behind the purity of ore that I

may see my face reflected in the pool of gold.

I long to take the treasure of your precious Word,

securely hide it in the lock box of my heart

and as a faithful son, hand you the only key.

“Lord Prepare Me to be s Sanctuary” expresses in music the essence of that request.

Another poem that could be described as “the second verse of the same song” is also inspired in part by the same verses from Psalm 139:

Search Me: A Song for You

“I know your image of me is what I hope to be

If I’ve treated you unkindly, can’t you see

That there’s no one more important to me.

Oh, won’t you please look through me. . . “

 “A Song for You”–Leon Russell

                                            

Search me, O God, and know my heart:

try me, and know my thoughts:

 And see if there be any wicked way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139: 23-24

 

The whole of my life unfolds as an open book,

Known and read by all with eyes to see, page by page.

As you read each line, take an even closer look,

Probe the depths of each of my thoughts, as you engage

The text, searching my heart for its deepest meaning.

Your searching and knowing is the ultimate scan.

As you discern my essence, my inmost being,

I will align myself according to your plan.

Beyond MRIs, devices to diagnose,

You see and assess any abnormality.

In these times of watchful waiting, you draw me close:

Despite what tests reveal, you will heal and deliver me.

At times I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what to do,

“But we’re alone now, and I’m singing this song to you.”

Hillsong offers a moving rendition of “Search Me O God,” an appropriate musical accompaniment to close today’s blog entry:

When He has tested me, I will come forth as gold

March 2, 2015

Job 23--10

The Verse of the Day for March 2, 2015 is found in Job 23:10-11 (NIV)

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.

As I reflected upon this passage, my thoughts turned to Psalm 139, all of which can be can 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 celebrated psalm closes with a heartfelt request:

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139 brings to mind a previous blog entry “Try me: Search me again” which I have modified and re-post today, as another dose of good medicine from the shelves of Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.

The original blog entry made reference to a life-changing teaching from Dr. David Jeremiah, who taught on the refining fire of God more than ten years ago. I discuss the message in this excerpt from a journal entry made following the teaching:

It is one of the most moving tapes I have heard, as he relates how God puts us through the process of refining in order to extract the precious metal from within us. In the same way that a refiner breaks the stones and sends them through the fire over and over again, so God sends us through the fires of life in order to extract and purify the gold within our souls. God removes our need to feel secure, to be in control, and to survive by putting in situations that try us, “fiery temptations” that prove who we really are. God controls the entire process, determining the timing, the temperature, the target, and the terms of the fire. Our tendency is respond with a series of questions as to “why?”: “why me?”, “why now?”, and “why not someone else?” Like children, we continually ask why when God, as a good parent, is not obligated to explain that which children cannot understand at the time they ask “why.” The only questions we should be asking are “What are you trying to teach me?” and “What are you trying to change in me?”

In reflecting upon the passage from Psalm 139, my mind is flooded with an understanding of what is transpiring in my life at this time. God is doing precisely what I asked Him to do in two poems “Try Me” and “Search Me: A Song for You” both of which express my deepest desire:

Try Me

Psalm 139:23-24

 

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary. . .

pure and holy, tried and true. . .

 

Purify my motive; assay my devotion;

weigh each desire, carat by carat, dram by dram.

In the refining fire of your furnace try me.

Test the mettle of my soul; scrape away all dross,

all debris that would adulterate my intents

and leave behind the purity of ore that I

may see my face reflected in the pool of gold.

I long to take the treasure of your precious Word,

securely hide it in the lock box of my heart

and as a faithful son, hand you the only key.

 

“Lord Prepare Me to be s Sanctuary” expresses in music the essence of that request.

Another poem that could be described as “the second verse of the same song” is also inspired in part by the same verses from Psalm 139:            

Search Me: A Song for You

“I know your image of me is what I hope to be

If I’ve treated you unkindly, can’t you see

That there’s no one more important to me.

Oh, won’t you please look through me. . . “

“A Song for You”–Leon Russell

                                              

Search me, O God, and know my heart:

try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if there be any wicked way

and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139: 23-24

 

The whole of my life unfolds as an open book,

Known and read by all with eyes to see, page by page.

As you read each line, take an even closer look;

Probe the depths of each of my thoughts, as you engage

The text, searching my heart for its deepest meaning.

Your searching and knowing is the ultimate scan.

As you discern my essence, my inmost being,

I will align myself according to your plan.

Beyond MRIs, devices to diagnose,

You see and assess any abnormality.

In these times of watchful waiting, you draw me close:

Despite what tests reveal, you will heal and deliver me.

At times I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what to do,

“But we’re alone now, and I’m singing this song to you.”

 

Hillsong offers a moving rendition of “Search Me O God,” an appropriate musical accompaniment to close today’s blog entry: