Psalm 139:23-24 New International Version
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24 King James Version
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.
King David loved God and after he realized his sin and reconciled with God, he wanted to live a life that was pleasing to God.
In these two verses, David pours out his heart to God and asks God to take inventory of his life. He says to God, “search me, God, and know my heart.”
He then asks God to “test me and know my thoughts.”
What does David want to know from God’s searching, knowing and trying of him?
David wants to know if there is anything in is life that is offensive to God.
Think about this for a moment. David wants to know this because he wants to live a pure and holy life before his God.
Finally, King David wants God to lead him in the way everlasting or the way of righteousness.
However, when we go back to the first verse of this Psalm, David says explicitly that God has searched him and does know him.
Psalm 139:1 New International Version
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
David Prays For God To Search Him Again, Looking For Anything Wicked Or Offensive
What we find different in verses 23 and 24, is that David is wanting to know if there is any wickedness or sin in his life and he wants God to lead him in the way everlasting.
I believe that David’s desire for God to see if there is any sin in his life and lead him in the way everlasting is an immediate reaction to the words David spoke in verses 19 through 22;
Psalm 139:19-22 New International Version
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
In these verses we see that David cannot think or speak about those who are wicked and seemingly hate God, without expressing his own hatred for them. David expresses that he not only hates these people, but wishes that God would slay them.
David was not exhibiting the concern of Abraham for the inhabitants of Sodom. Nor was David expressing the love we believers must have; the love that Jesus would teach about.
Jesus taught that we are to love our enemies and not wish harm on them, but rather we must pray for their souls and show Christ to them in our character, conduct and conversation.
We are to hate sin as God hates sin, but we are to love the sinner, just as God loved us while we were yet sinners. Remember, God's Word tells us that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
In my view, in verses 23 and 24, David seems to immediately realize what he has just said. In the spirit of self-reflection, David asks God to search him and try him again, to see if there is any wicked or offensive way in him. David wants to live righteously before his God.
Finally, he asks God to lead him in the way everlasting. David does not want to go down a sinful or wicked path, but wants God to lead him in the way everlasting; the way of righteousness that leads to eternal life with Him. This reminds us of the 23rd Psalm, where David says of God “he leads me in paths of righteousness, for His namesake.”
- Let us learn from David, who was a man after God’s own heart.
- Let us often look inward to see if our character, conduct and conversation are what they should be as children of God.
- Let us ask God to search us, test us and reveal to us any thing that is offensive to Him.
- Then, let us pray that God will lead us in paths of righteousness and the way everlasting.