|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.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Psalm 139:1-6 NIV
Every day, multitudes of people around the world hear the news that they have cancer or some other disease that puts their lives at risk. In many cases, no symptoms presented themselves to warn the people that something was wrong. In the majority of cases, though, specific symptoms led the doctors to their diagnoses. Still, other individuals who are obviously sick go undiagnosed for years despite a battery of tests.
While x-rays, scans, and other marvels of modern technology reveal much of what is underneath our skin, doctors still find it necessary sometimes to perform exploratory surgery. In exploratory surgery, a doctor opens a person up for the purpose of seeing clearly what cannot be seen otherwise. This is the only way to get to the root of the problem.
Psalm 139 is an exploratory journey of sorts. In it, David celebrates the omniscience and omnipresence of God. He proceeds to discuss how wonderfully and carefully we are made by our Creator who loves us deeply and forms us according to His glorious plan for our lives. Then, suddenly, David jumps to a different subject: his hatred for his wicked enemies. Having established that God knows everything about us, David closes with a strange request: he asks God to explore him within to reveal if he has any hidden sins, any secret sins he may not be aware of. In essence, David asked God to perform spiritual exploratory surgery on him, to probe him deeply and painfully to reveal any spiritual cancers or disease within him.
Scripture states a frightening truth: we cannot fully know the wickedness and deceit that lie within our sinful hearts. We are totally capable of thinking we are right when we are actually wrong. We do not always recognize the sin in our own lives. Furthermore, we may think we have suppressed and even defeated certain feelings and desires when they are destroying us without our being aware of them.
For all these reasons and more, we need to follow David’s example and open ourselves up to God, earnestly desiring that He search us within.