Yesterday I had to install some network wire in my house so I could directly connect my desktop PC with my router. Network cable is not like coax cable (like you use for your TV) or like electrical wire. You have to be careful with it. If you skin or kink the cable badly you can mess up the internal geometry of the wire. Not to get too technical, network cable consists of several twisted pairs of wires. They are twisted in order to improve the communication signal delivered across the cable. When you create the terminals on each end of the wire, they need to match. All of these things done correctly give you a clear and consistent signal across your network.
Our relationship with God is a network connection, so to speak. That connection can be damaged if we are not careful with it. We cannot take it for granted and we cannot be careless with it. One thing you can do with network wire to make sure your connections are good, is to test it with a signal tester. That device lets you know if all the wires inside the network cable are connected correctly and sending a consistent signal.
(23) Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
(24) And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
David’s prayer in this psalm is a request for a signal test. “Search me…and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts.” This is not a Jesus-forgive-me-for-my-sins kind of prayer. This is a “come to Jesus” kind of prayer. David wants a thorough examination of his heart and mind, and he wants God to do it. No one knows us better and no one can provide a more thorough and objective examination. Because when it comes to examining ourselves, we are hopelessly blind:
There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 16:25)
We’re strongly biased in our favor and we can justify any behavior. Because God loves us and He is holy, He will always give an honest assessment of us. David’s prayer is a necessary and frightening one. We don’t know what God will find and we may not always like what He tells us. David understood this and he asked because he want to see “if there [was] any wicked way in [him].” Thankfully, that thorough and sometimes painful examination is not an end in itself. David requested that God examine his heart so that God could “lead [him] in the way everlasting.” You see, you and I can do a quick examination and give ourselves a pass for now. What David wanted was God’s understanding of himself in light of eternity. He wanted a clear signal between himself and God. When you install network cable, everything can look good. Only a tester can determine if the signal really is good. To ourselves and our fellow believers, we can all look good. The question is, have we asked God to test if we really are good?
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