Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 139’

God, who is unsearchable, searches every heart

May 15, 2022

The Verse of the Day for May 15, 2022, comes from Ecclesiastes 11:5 in the New Living Translation:

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.

This verse reminds us that God, the creator of the universe, is far beyond our ability to comprehend. In thinking about this verse, the word “unsearchable” comes to mind, a term uniquely applied to the Lord, God Almighty:

Romans 11:33-36 (NLT) also reveals His incomprehensible nature:

33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

34 For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
    Who knows enough to give him advice?
35 And who has given him so much
    that he needs to pay it back?

36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

In the Book of Job and in the Psalms, we find similar sentiments expressed:

Job 5:9 (NLT):

He does great things too marvelous to understand.

He performs countless miracles.

Job 11:7-9 (NLT)                                               

“Can you solve the mysteries of God?

Can you discover everything about the Almighty?

Such knowledge is higher than the heavens—

And who are you?

It is deeper than the underworld*—

What do you know?

It is broader than the earth

And wider than the sea.

The Psalmist also notes the incomprehensible nature of the Creator in Psalm 139:1-6 (NLT)

O Lord, you have examined my heart

And know everything about me.

You know when I sit down or stand up.

You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.

You see me when I travel

And when I rest at home.

You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say

Even before I say it, Lord.

You go before me and follow me.

You place your hand of blessing on my head.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

Too great for me to understand!

In describing the ways of God, one of the terms used is “unsearchable” which is also translated “indelineable, marked by being impossible to plot, travel, or trace to the end of, therefore, incomprehensible or impossible to understand.”

Today’s blog post also brings to mind a previous entry focusing 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. This original psalm 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,” I also recall Psalm 139 where the Psalmist recognizes that God knows all about the most intricate and delicate complexity of His matchless creation. Spiritually speaking, we can view all of Psalm 139 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.

He who is unsearchable, whose ways are past finding out, searches the hearts of His creation.

We close with Gwen Smith offering a contemporary song of worship “Unsearchable”:

Search me O God: in the natural and in the spiritual

May 14, 2018

The Verse of the Day for May 14, 2018 comes from Psalm 139:13-14 in the Amplified Bible:

For You formed my innermost parts; You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

My forthcoming book Not Just a Survivor—More than a Conqueror,  discusses this passage in a blog entry posted during a time when I was recently hospitalized. This particular 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,” the passage from Psalm 139 also comes to mind. The Psalmist opens with recognizing 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.”

Most amazingly, during this time I was also a patient undergoing a cystoscopy, an example of a deep internal examination of parts of the urinary tract. This surgical procedure allows the 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, an expression of my innermost heart’s desire during this very trying time:

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.”

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

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”:

Psalm 139: Search me and know me

May 14, 2016

Psalm 139--3-14The Verse of the Day for May 14, 2016 comes from one of my favorite psalms:

Psalm 139:13-14 (NKJV)

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very 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

This passage has been the source of comments for two previous blog entries which discussed Psalm 139 as a whole. One particular entry was devoted to discussing, not the Verse of the Day, but to what was designated as the “Word for the Day,” meaning that I had chosen to examine a particular word and expound upon its meaning and personal application. The Word for the Day at that time was “research.” In a similar way, I currently teach a composition course where my students are working on a research paper, and simultaneously as a professor at Carolina College of Biblical Studies, I continue serving on the dissertation committee for a colleague who is completing the research for his dissertation from another university. The term “research” thus has been and continues to be very much in my thoughts of late.

Research in its most literal sense means to “re-search” or to “search again.” My thoughts turned to Psalm 139, which in its entirety 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.”

Listen as Esther Mui expresses Psalm 139:1-18 as a Christian Scripture Worship Song: “You Have Searched Me and Known Me.”

The celebrated psalm closes with a heartfelt request in verses 23-24:

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.

In reflecting upon these passages 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 this poem which expresses my deepest desire:

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.”

Once more Esther Mui offers a moving rendition of Psalm 139:23-24 in the Christian Scripture Praise Worship Song: “Lead Me in the Way Everlasting.”

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:

Psalm 139: 23-24: Search me again

March 7, 2015

Psalm 139--23-24

The Verse of the Day comes from one of my favorite passages from the Book of Psalms:

Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV)

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.

The closing verses of Psalm 139 also bring to mind a previous blog entry “A Five-fold Prayer,” a series of commentaries based on a statement regarding the ways of God when we find ourselves in perplexing situations that challenge our faith. In such instances, God is endeavoring to do one or a combination of five things: “Direct you; Inspect you; Correct you; Protect you; Perfect you.” After hearing those words, I took those five verbs and formed them into a request, a petition, a prayer to God for me. I asked God to become the initiator of the action, and I would become the object of his action. I also examined each of the verbs with scriptural illustrations from the Old Testament and New Testament and composed a prayer/psalm inspired by each verb at the end of each section related to each of the five verbs. In writing out my personal application of the scriptures, I also incorporated music related to the verbs as well. In Part 1 I ask God to “Inspect Me.”

This particular passage from Psalm 139 was also the inspiration for two poems that were not included in the original blog, but they have been added here. The first poem makes reference to one of the gates rebuilt by Nehemiah in the Old Testament. It is the gate of inspection, or mustering, a gathering place of ministers, a place of the manifest presence of the Lord.

Miphkad Gate: “I Ask Again That You Inspect Me

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.

 Psalm 139:23-24

 

The Lord, our God, one who has never slept nor slumbered,

The only wise God who sees all and always takes note,

Observing where the people gather to be numbered

And assessed, whether to cast aside or to promote

At the Miphkad Gate, place of accountability:

The gate repaired by ministers of the market place

Here in this place I ask again that you “Inspect Me”,

Here where everyone must give an account, face to face,

And stand before God Almighty, who alone is good.

As I pass through this last gate, may I never forget

God’s mercy and grace but follow after Christ as I should

And fully transform my thoughts to a Kingdom mindset.

May I walk in truth, applying my heart unto wisdom

And by obedience reap benefits of the Kingdom.

 

At this time I am teaching an English composition class, and my students just completed a research paper which brought to mind this poem:

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 your findings affirm

Pure-hearted devotion and service in your eyes.

 

Indeed, Psalm 139 is a psalm special significance to me, as this entry reveals. To close out our discussion, listen to “You are there” (Psalm 139) Jazz Meets Hymn2 (Young Joo Song) with vocal by David Ahn:

 

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:

 

 

Search me, O God

May 14, 2014

Psalm-139 13-14

The Verse of the Day for May 14, 2014 is taken from Psalm 139:13-14:

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.

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 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 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:

Try me: Search me again

March 7, 2014

Psalm 139--23-24

Psalm 139:23-24 KJV

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.

The Verse of the Day for March 7, 2014 brings to mind 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 Again,” 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” also opens with the same verses from Psalm 139:

Search Me Again

 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
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 your findings affirm

Pure-hearted devotion and service in your eyes.

The passage from Psalm 139 was also the inspiration for the hymn “Cleanse Me (Search me, O God) in this arrangement by Bryan Gilliland.

A Five-fold Prayer: Inspect Me

February 2, 2012

Job 23:10-11 KJV

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

At the heart of the Verse of the Day for March 2, 2014 is the reality that when Job was tried, and indeed, he endured many hard trials, he believed that he would come forth as gold.  The idea of being tried or tested brought to mind a blog entry “Inspect Me” from a series called “A Five-fold Prayer: Direct Me-Inspect Me-Correct Me-Protect Me-Perfect Me. The second in the series is re-posted here:

Slide5

This blog entry is the second part of “A Five-fold Prayer,” a series of commentaries based on a statement regarding the ways of God when we find ourselves in perplexing situations that challenge our faith. In such instances, God is endeavoring to do one or a combination of five things: “Direct you; Inspect you; Correct you; Protect you; Perfect you.” After hearing those words, I took those five verbs and formed them into a request, a petition, a prayer to God for me.  I asked God to become the initiator of the action, and I would become the object of his action. I also examined each of the verbs with scriptural illustrations from the Old Testament and New Testament and composed a prayer/psalm inspired by each verb at the end of each section related to each of the five verbs. In writing out my personal application of the scriptures, I also incorporated music related to the verbs as well. In Part 2 I ask God to “Inspect Me.”

Inspect : Since there is no word “inspect” used in the King James Version,  I used “search” that has the following definition and found in the following scriptures:

A definition of the word “search” and accompanying scriptures

Psalm 139:1-5, 23-24:

O LORD, You  have searched me, and known me.

2  You know my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

3  You encompass my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.

4  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, You knowest it altogether.

5   You have beset me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.

23  Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I Chron 28:9:

9  As for you, Solomon my son, know thou the God of your father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever.

Jeremiah 17:10:

I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Romans 8:27-28

27  And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, 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 them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Inspect me

   Try Me

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.

 

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.

“Search Me, Lord” rendered by Brother Joe May, “The Thunderbolt of the Middle West,” the reigning male Gospel singer of the 1950s, embodies this prayer in song:

“While I’m down here praying, Lord search my heart” by Mahalia Jackson, the most celebrated female Gospel singer of her era, offers a similar request in song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQt7pOSQFm8

“Lord, Prepare Me to be a Sanctuary,” one of my all-time favorite songs of worship expresses the same desire revealed in Psalm 139 and other scriptures.

“Search me, O God,” part of David’s prayer to God and mine.