March 22, 2020

What Is Your Why: Self-Reflection

Passage: Psalm 139:1-18
Service Type:

Sermon on Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24

What Is Your Why: Self-Reflection

March 22, 2020

Socrates told us that the unexamined life not worth living. But Socrates didn’t have God’s holy word.

Psalm 139 is journal entry more or less attributed to King David. It is a psalm about Self-examination, but I don’t think that that is an accurate assessment of the psalm because when we think of Self-examination, self-reflection, well that’s kind of like a one-way street.

But really self-examination is a two-way street –   it is something between us and God. It’s us putting ourselves in a posture we were asking God to reveal to us the truth about ourselves.

23Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.

24See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

He asks this of a God who knows him…

Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24

1O Lord, you have searched me and known me.

2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.

3You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.

4Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.

5You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

7Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?

8If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

9If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

11If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”

12even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.

13For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.

17How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

18I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end—I am still with you.

23Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.

24See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Self-reflection, inner examination, is something God invites us to…

And the good news is that we are invited to do so by a loving God.

We have the gracious and merciful and compassionate Holy Spirit’s help.

Teresa of Avila tells us almost all of our problems in the human life stems from our lack of           self-knowledge.

  • To know ourselves and the inner workings of our lives and hearts.
  • Am I too busy and too preoccupied to look?
  • Am I too blind to my own conditions?

This coronavirus has got us searching now.

Searching what’s going on out there, but it also reveals what’s going on inside us.

Our anxieties have reached fever pitch. Just go to Shop-Rite.

Self-Examination is done with the Aid and leadership of a loving God through the Holy Spirit, but it is also an invitation for God to show us what God sees is in our hearts

But God is not like our friends and neighbors that    when they come over and everything is all picked up in our house, because we just shove all the extra stuff that’s been laying around in the closet or under the bed or something. And our neighbor says oh your house I was so picked up all the time, but we know the truth there’s a lot of junk in the closet and that there’s a lot of heavy stuff in there,

  • a lot of anxiety
  • a lot of fear,
  • a lot of self-doubt,
  • a lot of negativity,
  • a lot of anger
  • a lot of criticism.

Self-examination begins with the knowledge that there’s nothing about my life the God doesn’t already know.

So, the practice of self-examination is us asking God to reveal to us what God’s sees.

As if to say, Loving God, When you look at my life or you look into my heart what’s there that you want to take away to set me free to give me peace to give me hope to give me a successful life.

God wants to give us God’s eyes to see God as love and mercy and grace. And God wants us to see ourselves as we are not for self-condemnation but so that we would give to God the brokenness for God to heal.

Psalm 32:

While I kept silence, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried upas by the heat of summer. Selah

Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

Therefore let all who are faithful
offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
shall not reach them.
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

I love the story of Elisha and his servant Gehazi.

Surrounded by the enemies of Israel, they are outnumbered 10,000 to 2

15 When an attendant of (Elisha) the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city.

His servant (Gehazi) said, ‘Alas, master! What shall we do?’

16He replied, ‘Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.’

17Then Elisha prayed: ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’

So, the Lord opened the eyes of the servant (Gehazi), and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18When the Arameans came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘Strike this people, please, with blindness.’ So, he struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked.

God, help us to see as you do.

Help us to see you as the One who is with us and for us.

Help keep us safe, O God.

Send your mighty chariots to protect us.

And may the dross that surfaces within us in this time of trial

be skimmed off

so that we would be free from fear, anger, hopelessness, anxiety,

and all else that takes away sober thinking and mindful actions.

So instead of waiting for a crisis God’s word calls us to daily self-reflection because like hoarding junk in our homes it is easy to start hording junk in our hearts.  And God wants to lift that from us before they start gathering dust.

Daily reflection takes some time to think about yesterday to think about what happened earlier today to commit to God our Thanksgivings – the good things and the victories and to present them to God.

And to bring to God, to release, to surrender the things in our hearts that are already there that are now apparent in crisis.

To place in the care of God our brokenness for God to transform and ransom and redeem.

And not with condemnation, never with disapproval, but God does so with a glad heart because that is what God wants most from us, a pure heart.  God’s desire is for us to grow in the image of Jesus Christ, to become like him in his love, and peace, and joy, and security and hope.

So, close your eyes and hear with your hearts these words of God. (Philippians 4)

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.

6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable,

if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

9Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.