Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;
for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth. (vv 2-3)
The Psalmist’s cry to the Lord should cause us to pause in prayer and ask if this is the transparency that we truly want to have before our God. In the lives of many Christians, we offer up our outer beings, the public personae that we rehearse for those around us. That is the cleaned up, polished, and groomed person that we believe will convince others that we are straight and true in our walk. Somewhere in the back of our mind we know it is isn’t true and even more importantly, we know that the Lord isn’t fooled. He needs no invitation to clamber about in our hearts and minds and the know the real us: the one who doesn’t consistently love his neighbor, the one who succumbs to her temptations and on and on.
The proclamations of faith and innocence do not begin or end with those verses that we have seen. In the opening verse, the psalmist proclaims that leads a blameless life and is a man of unwavering faith. The NIV translation of ‘blameless’ is a bit beyond the meaning of absolute purity, something that Yahweh possesses but is found in no man. It is better read as in my integrity I walk which gives it a domain inside of the fallen human experience. Is this braggadocio? Reading further we find instead it is a plea not to be judged as those who are unfairly judging him. The psalmist correctly places his ultimate trust in God.
Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes.
But I lead a blameless life; redeem me and be merciful to me.
My fee stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the Lord. (vv 9-12)