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  • Writer's pictureCandice Watters

The Everlasting Way (Psalm 139:23-24)


Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! ²⁴And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24

We come full circle at the end of Psalm 139, to where we began: God’s searching and knowing. David’s last stanza is a request; his opening was declarative. He began praising God for what is true: “you have searched me and known me.” Now he petitions God: “search me…and know my heart.”


He wants the God who made him and ordained his days and knows everything about him, the God who is with him always and everywhere, to keep on searching him and knowing him. But this is not mere information gathering. David asks God to look for sin—“any[thing] grievous”—and lead him in “the way everlasting.” What is this way?


Proverbs 10:29 says, “The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.” How can the Lord’s way be both stronghold and destruction? To evildoers who live oblivious to God and His ways, judgment is coming. These are those David asks God to destroy in verses 19-22. He does not pray like we’re tempted to pray: “God, please destroy my enemies.” Rather his loyalty is to God and His reputation. He prays like this, “O that you would slay the wicked, O God! They speak against You; they take Your name in vain; they hate You, O Lord; they rise up against You.” 


This is no personal grudge for David. Right after he prays it, in order to safeguard his soul from sinful hatred, he asks God to search his heart lest there be any “grievous way” in him. He wants to take shelter in the stronghold of the Lord’s everlasting way and he knows he needs God’s help to do it. 


Jesus would be the ultimate answer to David’s prayer. A thousand years after David's prayer, Jesus took on flesh and came to earth to open this way to all who would put their trust in Him. It would not be an obvious, or easy way. Jesus described it saying, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14, emphasis added).


Thomas worried that he and the other disciples would not be able to find the hard way. He said to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:5-6). Jesus showed His disciples the way: “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). As we take up our cross and follow Jesus, putting to death our sin–the deeds of our flesh–we enter the way of life. Proverbs 12:28 says, “In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.” 


David knew with certainty—and, in Christ, so can we—that the God who created him in the womb, and planned out his days to the details of his every thought and word, is the same God He can trust to carry him into glory. 

 

For Reflection

  1. How does David’s prayer for God to destroy God’s enemies guard him from hating his own enemies?

  2. Have you ever asked God to search your heart and mind related to what you pray for, and how?

  3. Ask God to impress the eternal hope of Psalm 139 on your heart.

 

Candice Watters is a wife, mom, and author. She edits the Fighter Verses blog in between loads of laundry and planning the upcoming VBS for Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. She and her husband Steve blog at FamilyMaking.com.

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