1 Peter 2:11-3:7
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Focus Verses: Psalm 139:23-24
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139 is a beautiful song that we hear quoted frequently. The phrases "I'm fearfully and wonderfully made" (v. 14) and "where can I go from your Spirit" (v.7) and "before a word is on my tongue" (v. 4) and "Search me, O God" (v.23) get mentioned quite often. I never, however, hear anybody quote verses 19-22. There, we read the phrases, "If only you would slay the wicked" or "I have nothing but hate for them," and struggle with what to do with them.
Response and Action:
I suggest that we do the same thing David did with them. We should be honest about our anger and hate, we should give them up and place them in God's hands, and then humbly consider his wisdom and grace.
David begins this song (vv. 1-18) with awe and wonder at the knowledge of God. God knows everything. God’s knowledge is before and after all things. God is our maker and he knows us better than we know ourselves. God's thoughts are amazing and precious.
Next, David is honest about his own thoughts--thoughts like "God, why do you tolerate evil?" or "God, why don't you just get rid of everyone who opposes you?" (vv. 19-22). When we, like David, find ourselves thinking in those ways, we might just want to take a step back and consider where we would be if that were the way God thought.
Finally, like David (vv. 23-24), we should ask God to search our hearts and show us the ways our thoughts and attitudes are hurtful, or shortsighted, or motivated by fear and anxiety. We can then ask God to lead our hearts and thoughts into better and everlasting ways.
O God, your thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and your ways are higher than my ways. Help me to think more like you think. Make my heart more like yours. Replace my hate and frustration with grace and hope. Help me extend to others the same love, forgiveness, and redemption you have shown to me. Through Christ, I pray. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses: Matthew 5:43-45a
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
A Heart for God: Learning From David Through the Tough Choices of Life
by Rebecca Manley Pippert