Posts Tagged ‘Romans 8:27-28’

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”:

God searches

March 7, 2018

Described as an invitation for “a soul-searching probe from the Lord,” Psalm 139 opens with a declaration that God knows all about His creation.

Psalm 139:1-5:

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

The Verse of the Day for March 7, 2018 brings closure to this heartfelt invitation:

Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV):

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The entire psalm centers on the verb “search” which has been translated “ to search into, to inquire, to inspect carefully;  to examine with effort and care and accuracy in order to make a full and clear discovery or complete and exact calculation; to track, to trace, to investigate by exploring; to search minutely by uncovering.”

We find a similar reference to the Lord in Chronicles 28:9 (NIV):

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

Likewise, Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV) also declares:

“I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”

Romans 8:27-28 also directs our attention to the searching of the human heart:

27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

The Verse of the Day and related verses remind us who God is and what He does:

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.

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

Fearfully and wonderfully made

November 28, 2017

Psalm 139--3-14

From time to time, the Verse of the Day will come from a source other than Biblegateway.com, and this turns out to be the case for November 28, 2017, where Logos Bible Software offers this passage 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 examined Psalm 139 as a whole. One particular entry was devoted to discussing, not the Verse of the Day, but to what I designated as the “Word for the Day,” meaning that I had chosen to examine a particular word and to expound upon its meaning and personal application. The Word for the Day at that time was “research.”  The term 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.”

The Verse of the Day also brings to mind a previous blog entry “A Five-fold Prayer” where I took five verbs and formed them into a request, a petition, a prayer to God, asking God to become the initiator of the action, and I would become the object of his action. One of the verbs was “to search.” In addition to Psalm 139, other related scriptures included 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.

Upon further reflecting on Psalm 139 and the passage from Romans 8, this poetic response comes to mind:

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.

We conclude with Esther Mui expressing Psalm 139:1-18 Christian Scripture Worship Song: “You Have Searched Me and Known Me.”

God searches

March 7, 2016

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.

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.