A blog by Josh Humbert
Let’s be totally bare-bones honest here….there are some prayers that are tough to even pray. Right? I find that, sometimes asking God certain things in prayer can be very challenging. Need an example? See if you agree with me on this:
Psalm 139 is one of the most beautiful and poetic chapters in the Bible in my opinion. Look it up and read it outloud by your yourself. Right now. Go ahead. No one else is listening….well, except for the Lord and maybe your cat(and if this is true, I would ask you….WHY do you have a cat?!).
Back to Psalm 139. What about that imagery? God knowing every single detail about you, God being with you everywhere you could go, God gently weaving you together with His OWN HANDS while you were still in your mother’s womb. It goes on to speak of “how precious are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!”
I mean…Psalm 139 is one of those chapters that just flat out encourages me. I cannot read that without being affected by God’s supreme love for me.
So, how is this getting to a challenging prayer, right? Well…did you notice the way that chapter ends? Look again at the last 2 verses:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
That is where it is difficult and challenging. Asking God to search you for “any wicked way.” To give God full permission and access to my heart is a scary thing to do…. because He and I know how many wicked ways are in me. It’s not a pretty sight. I know full well what God would find if He were to shine His glorious light in my “inner cesspool,” as C.S. Lewis would say. I know that asking God to “search me” is hard to pray because the sin, the iniquity, the transgression, the filth….all the junk He would find would stagger me.
So…to me…it takes guts to pray those verses. To pray that prayer and actually MEAN it…that takes a spiritual gutsy-ness that often times, I don’t have.
As He would bring those things to the surface of my heart, I would realize anew how far off I go from Him.
Driving up to Marshall, Texas this year for Super Summer, my boy Cobbs and I had a GPS unit in his truck. It was the first time I’d ever been in the car with one of those. I have to say….it was pretty sweet. This device had this real soothing feminine voice on it and she would just kindly tell us “and now…make a slight left,” or “upcoming right turn in 200 yards.” We were blown away by her great attitude. Even when we missed a turn she was like, “Acquiring new route, just a moment please.” Total manners!!
I don’t know if the writer of Psalm 139 had a GPS on his camel or donkey or whatever (probably not, unless Doc and Marty took the Dolorian back and gave him one..but that is highly doubtful), but he certainly had some wisdom. Look at the last line of that Psalm, after he’s given God permission to search him for wicked ways and sin he writes this:
“And lead me in the way everlasting.”
Ah yes! That is the correct response! When I ask God to search me, and I mean it….He will bring areas up that I need to confess, He will show me where I can repent; He will show me how He alone is my Delight. When I come face to face with my sin, it is clear how badly I need God as the Lord of my life. When I come face to face with my sin, it is clear how Amazing His Grace really is and how much Jesus loved me to die for me on the Cross and to rise again and conquer sin.
Then, after I’ve confessed and repented, I realize I need to find the right path again. So like the Psalmist, I continue that same prayer: “God, lead me away from this junk and let me follow You in the way Everlasting. I’m following You now. Let’s get out of here!”
And He will. He will lead me out.
And this all brings me to the genius of James Avery. I know, I know…. makes perfect sense for a conclusion to this writing, huh?
For our 5 year anniversary and her birthday, my wife and I went out to James Avery to get new rings. Not like, new wedding bands (ok, well, I did) but to get something cool to celebrate. She got a cool one that says “Love” and I got a nice ring, too. (I looked for a ring that said “FIRE” or “BACON” or something awesome like that… but I couldn’t find any. C’mon J. Ave…hook me up!)
While we were there, Hess said we could get our James Avery jewelry cleaned for free. I thought that was a pretty good deal, so I turned in this cross ring she got me way back when we started dating. In about 15 minutes, the lady brought it back……………and I WAS STUNNED!
That was MY RING?! No way?! This one she brought out to me shined like a….like a…..like a very shiny…errr…..like a very shiny…uh…SHINY THING!
I was blown away by 2 things. First, I was blown away by how easily I let the ring get so dirty. When I handed it in to the cleaning lady, I didn’t even think it was that dirty. I must have grown accustomed to all the grime, dirt, and junk that covered it. I slowly got used to the uncleaness.
Secondly, I was blown away by just how clean and shiny that ring looked when she brought it out. WOW! James Avery must have invented a pretty strong ring cleaner that can take your ring back in time to when it was first made and make it look like that again. I’m serious….I wish I had a “before and after” picture of my ring, like some goofy infomercial. (Maybe James Avery got the Dolorian from Doc and Marty…hmmmm…)
So what does it all mean? I will finish by just posing some questions to consider.
Have your read Psalm 139 outloud and just made it your personal prayer of thanksgiving, confession, praise, and adoration to God?
How long has it been since you prayed “God, search me?” Now…when was the last time you prayed that…and with all the guts you could muster…really meant it? Is there something in particular you just don’t want to confront? A secret sin? A habit hard to break?
Will you trust God’s loving heart to deal with you? Would you confess to Him the junk He finds? Would you accept His grace and the Righteousness of Jesus as enough for your sins?
What path are you on right now? Is the Holy Spirit your GPS these days? Are you listening quietly for His direction? Or…have you passed your exit and you need a place to turn around? Where would your spiritual GPS locate you right now?
When was the last time you turned your jewelry in and…even if you didn’t think it was dirty…you let the Cleaner take a look at it? Have your eyes grown used to the dirt and grime on your own heart? Is there maybe some blind spots you have that you aren’t even aware of? Are you willing to let Him search for “any wicked way?”
The beauty of Psalm 139 is that the author DOES put things in the right order. He acknowledges the awesomeness of God and he rightly describes how much God already knows him. The author praises God for how much love and care He used when creating him. He declares God’s sovereignty. He worships.
Then, he realizes that because God loves him and cares deeply for him…that it is safe to ask those gutsy questions. The author knows the heart of the Father is one that will deal gently but firmly with the sin He finds. He knows the Father will love him enough to show him the way of Everlasting.
Will you do the same today? Will you let Him search? Will you find His love and His path again today?
As always with these writings, I appreciate your feedback and insight. Whether it’s a comment or message, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for reacting.