Psalm 139 ends with these words: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts; see if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
Someone has said that the unexamined life is hardly worth living. King David, the writer of Psalm 139, would agree. My dad used to say, “Think about what you’re doing!”
The psalmist is calling for more than just personal reflection or self-examination. His example challenges us to invite the Lord to give us his evaluation of our lives. Of course, God already knows even our best-kept secrets, but the prayer in Psalm 139 invites God to share his assessment with each of us.
God shows us our weaknesses by testing us. Asking God to test us may seem like a crazy idea. Who wants to be tested by God? His tests can be awfully intimidating. Surely it would be better if we asked God for his affirmation and encouragement, right?
It is good to experience God’s encouragement. But God’s desire is to build us up and enable us to reach our full potential. And even the most positive ‘coach’ must sometimes point out weaknesses. Personal shortcomings can be easier to ignore than to address.
The point of this godly exam is to find and remove any “offensive way.” Is there any action or attitude in my life that is offensive to God? If so, it will be a stumbling block to me. My ability to follow God’s lead will be hindered.
The ultimate goal of this testing process is to be led by God on the everlasting way. The Bible sometimes pictures life in this age as a journey. If we wish to arrive at the right destination then we must travel the correct route. The notion that all roads lead home is a deception.
Jesus warns his followers to take the narrow path that leads to life. There is a wide road that leads to destruction and it is well-travelled. On the other hand, only a few find the narrow path. And once on the narrow path, we stray easily.
The everlasting way is considered to be old fashioned and outdated by the godless culture in which we live. God’s ways are old, indeed, they are ancient. But they are not obsolete. God’s ways are eternal, unchanging, and dependable. They are right.
The ways of this world are considered by many to be progressive, evolving toward a better day for all humanity. In reality, however, the immorality that is being passed off as progressive is regressive, a death march back to Sodom and Gomorrah.
The everlasting way of God leads us on pathways of truth, holiness, righteousness, love, forgiveness, joy and peace. God’s way leads to eternal life, to heaven.
With God’s powerful presence in our lives we can overcome anything that tempts us to wander from the everlasting path. In fact, only God’s power can keep us on the right path. We cannot make it on our own.
May the God of our salvation always keep our feet on the path of life,
Brother Richard Foster