“Investigate my life, O’God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— the guide me on the road to eternal life” (Psalm 139:23-24). I love the word choice used in this Message paraphrase. Investigate, cross-exam, and test are words you would hear in an official courtroom setting.
It’s obvious that David is throwing himself at the mercy of God’s Supreme Courtroom in a prayer of petition. In the paraphrase above, David pours out his heart to God. David wanted the Lord to search him, know his heart, try him and know his thoughts. David’s prayer clearly embodies the true meaning of active humility. 1 Samuel 13:14 tells us that David was “a man after his [God’s]own heart”. This simply means that David longed and pursued justice and mercy for himself and for God’s people. He longed to do works that were pleasing to God, even after he had stumbled (sinned-repented) and despite the times his life was at risk. He showed many times that he loved and desired truth and integrity more than his own life.
If we are honest, we know that if we ask the Lord to thoroughly search us, then He will find imperfections in us. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.” Perfection is not found in sinful man, it’s found in a sunless God!
With that said, when the Lord shows us our wrong attitudes, thoughts, words and actions, He wants us to do what David did and confess that we did wrong. David confessed his sin with Bathsheba in Psalm 51:3-4. “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.”
The turning point of transformation begins when we turn to God with open and complete transparency. We find in David’s transformation, as a result of this prayer, was made whole, full and complete. Israel was brought into harmony with God; and David’s son Solomon brought to Israel one of the most prosperous reigns Israel had ever known.
Keeping this in mind, let us consider praying to God in the same sequence as David prayed: First, let’s pray that God might know us; then pray that God might cleanse us; and lastly, pray that God might direct us.