‘Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’
We need to enlarge and sharpen our vision of God, for too easily we reduce or tame him. He is made to fin in with your plans and almost becomes our talisman. The psalmist will have none of it. To see what cannot be seen we need to open our eyes. The feast of nature programmes, in recent years, has deepened our sense of wonder at our world, which of course bears testimony to its Creator. The grandeur, the lavishness, the scale, the detail, the color all speak of someone out of our league.
Having put God and ourselves in proper alignment, how do we dare approach him? For the pilgrim people of God the journey up to Jerusalem for the great feasts were times of celebration but also for reflection, for the living God who made heaven and earth cares about our conduct and character. The moments of reflection before a service make us glad that penitence comes early in our worship. Grubby hands, mixed motives, a distracted focus, being economical with the truth, we all know these as realities in our lives. We pretend to be what we are not, cultivating an image that cannot stand the scrutiny of the living God.
Yet we long to come to this God, because of his goodness to us. We do not come alone, for we march behind the conquering King. Jesus is the victor over sin, death and the devil, and for him the gates swing open. Now questions are asked about his right to come into his Father’s presence. Wonderfully, his acceptance guarantees the acceptance of those who trust in him. In my tradition we often sing this psalm at our communion services, for it speaks of our hope in Christ, the King of glory. No wonder we are moved to worship.
The person who does not like self-examination may be pretty certain that things need examining. Look into your life and repent, then to the Lord and rejoice.