Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Search me, O God, and know my heart

Today's reading includes Psalm 139, which remindes me about God's presence. Not just "God with us" but "God with me" in particular:
O Lord, you have searched me
and you know me
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
Psalm 139.1-2
It goes on like that, the psalmist praying and taking great comfort that God knows him and is always with him. There's even a recent song - a "praise song" I guess - based on this psalm.

Based on the nice parts, that is. Here's a part that the modern songwriters skipped:
If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Psalm 139.19,21,22
What do you make of that? That's not the kind of language we expect to hear in church these days, and in fact we usually don't. Scare away the visitors, that would.

But David didn't seem to mind saying those things. He knows that God knows his heart; why try to hide anything?

And so with us. Or so it should be, at least in private. But how many of us tell God what we really feel? How often do we censor our feelings and thoughts from God, or even from ourselves?

As a friend once told me, "Anger won't be denied." It will leak out in my words, my attitudes, my actions; it'll be displaced. It might leak out slowly; it might come out all at once in an explosion over some apparently trivial thing. Better to acknowledge what God already knows is there.

May God search our hearts today and give us the grace and courage to admit what's really there, that we can follow him in truth.

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