Psalm 139:19-24 – A sermon preached by Tim Melton, March 18, 2012, At Surfside PCA Church, Myrtle Beach, SC
Psalm 139 is one of the most well-known and glorious songs in the Bible. Yet, there are a few verses toward the end of the psalm that are often avoided or disregarded. Yet, these important verses are a key to understanding the astounding context of David’s lament. In this sermon, I seek to recover these verses so that we might gain a greater understanding of how boldly and honestly the believer may approach the throne of grace.
If Only You Would: The Lost Verses of Psalm 139
Introduction – Four Sermons I could have Preached
- God, You KNOW me (God’s Omniscience v. 1-6)
- God, You PURSUE me (God’s Omnipresence and Providence v. 7-12)
- God, You CREATED me (God’s Intricate Design and Creative Power v. 13-14)
- God, You are BEYOND me, even while you are WITH me (God’s Transcendence and Immanence v. 17-18)
The Lost verses – Psalm 139:19-22
1. If ONLY YOU WOULD, then I’d be HAPPY
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
Notes: I constantly say this to God, “If you would only.” Also notice that the Psalmist makes a case against God. “I hate evil. I’m doing my part. If you would only do yours. If you would only do my will.”
2. But you will not do MY WILL. So God, please CHANGE me
23 Search me, God, and know my HEART; Test me and know my anxious THOUGHTS. 24 See if there is any offensive WAY in me, lead me in the way everlasting.
- My Affections are IDOLATROUS (Heart)
- My Logic is FAULTY (Head)
- My Ways are EVIL (Hands)
- I need your GRACE
Psalm 139 is a template for what our relationship with Christ looks like. He knows us. He pursues us. He created us. He is beyond us and He is with us. God is great. Wonderful. Incredible. I cant’ get away from Him. I can’t hide from him. I can’t out think him. He can do all things. He is good. We say these things. We know these things about God. Yet, because we know these right things about God’s power, it leads us to say, “If Only You Would…” In this we are saying, “Since you are so great and so wonderful and so powerful and so smart and so present, then why will you not change these set of circumstances?” But so often, God will not do it. He is not ultimately committed to comforting us with pleasant circumstances. He is committed to comforting me with Himself. He is committed to giving me Christ.
The Psalmist realizes this and he cries out to God. He says “Search Me, Test me, See if there is”, he means “Change Me.” God is not wrong, we are. We need to be rescued.
Mark the “Heart, Head, Hands” aspect of this prayer. “Heart, Thoughts, Way.” My heart is idolatrous, my thoughts are anxious/my logic is faulty, my ways are offensive and evil.
3. Jesus is the Way Everlasting!
“Lead me in the way Everlasting” is ultimately a plea for Grace. It is a plea for Christ.
John 14:6 perfectly answers the plea of this Psalm. In this verse, Jesus tells us “Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
- Jesus is the Way that redeems offensive ways (Hands)
- Jesus is the Truth that redeems faulty logic (Mind)
- Jesus is the Life that redeems idolatrous affections (Heart)
4. If Only You Would? No. Because Only You Have!
Jesus is “the way everlasting.” God teaches us to pray, “If only you would send me Jesus.” And then God does exactly that. He sends Jesus.