August 9, 2016


Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O 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.

Psalm 139 has long been a favorite of mine – but then, I have too many favorite passages! If understood and appropriated, this Psalm goes a long way toward making us into the kind of worshipers God seeks. (John 4:23-24) It is an expression of God’s omniscience and omnipresence, (He knows everything and He is everywhere) but it wraps up with this truly beautiful prayer in response to all of that. David has already said that God knows everything about him, but here he asks God to do what he has already said God does, lending his will to God. There is much we don’t know about prayer. Specifically, we don’t know why or how it works, since God is omnipotent and we aren’t, and there isn’t much logical reason why the Creator would listen to such ignorant beings as we are. However, we are back to the mystery of human will. God has entrusted the physical world to mankind, (Genesis 1:28-31) and that includes both authority and responsibility. Sadly, mankind ceded much of that authority to the devil through sin, but that doesn’t negate the fundamental principle. Prayer is exercising the authority that is still ours, no matter how distorted it has become, so that God’s will, His plans, may be fulfilled. When we pray, as David did here, that God do what we know that He alone can do, we are aligning ourselves with Him to get with His program. That is true wisdom, and indeed gets us onto God’s everlasting way.

In this church we often sing these two verses, set to music by Wayne Cordiero and beautifully translated into Japanese by Jon Yamasaki. It wouldn’t hurt us to sing that song every day! I have learned the importance of genuine, humble honesty before God, and that certainly includes this prayer. I’ve got to welcome the convicting work of the Holy Spirit any time I need it. (John 16:8) After all, trying to hide anything from God is the height of stupidity! As a pastor, I pray that each member of this church would do likewise. I am well aware that this is an important measure of spiritual maturity, so I pray and work for the maturity of each person in my care. (Galatians 4:19) There is a huge difference between being childlike and being childish. We are called to be childlike, in trusting simplicity and delighted wonder at all our Father has done for us, but childish self-centeredness benefits no one and greatly hinders our participation in all that God has planned. I am to speak the truth in love, never drawing back out of a fear of human reactions but caring enough to risk being disliked. I am to ask God to show me myself, so that I may yield and submit every part of me to Him, and I am to pray and teach so that each believer will do likewise, for their immediate as well as eternal blessing.

Father, thank You for this reminder. You know what I need and when I need it! Help me welcome Your Holy Spirit fully in all He wants to do in and through me, never quenching or grieving Him, so that I may be fully effective in all that You desire to do through me, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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