This verse did not ever jump off the page for me the way it did this morning. Time was, I worked as a teacher and the notion of inviting someone to come and test you or examine you was foreign. Teachers are examined whether they will or no. But a change of occupation brought with it a change in perspective. I now work for a company that builds things that must meet or exceed standards set by outside organizations or our product cannot be marked as certified and sales to regions that require that certification are gone. UL, CE — the alphabet soup of standards organizations just goes on like the Energizer bunny.
Some of those standards can be self-declared. We can examine ourselves and declare that we have met the standard. Not surprisingly, there are passages of scripture that tell the Christian to do much the same thing.
Other standards must be certified by someone other than the company I work for. And the requirements can be extensive, expensive, and maintaining the certification equally so.
This analogy circles back to David inviting God to test him in that the company I work for must invite the certifying organizations to come in and perform tests or watch out people perform them so we can get a verification that we have met the standard from them. The company I work for invites outside folks into the inner workings of what we do and provides more detail on what we build than we almost ever do to anyone else in order to receive approval and be certified. David invites God into his heart and his mind (the footnote in my Bible says that the phrase is literally “kidneys”). David expects that God will examine him and test him and that God will approve of what He sees in that examination. The same is true of the company I work for. No one from outside is invited in until internal resources are as sure as we can be that we will receive certification.
This verse is an invitation to God to examine the person. I think that such an invitation presupposes a person who has already examined him- or her-self. If I haven’t examined myself, then I should not suppose that God will find nothing objectionable in me. I must examine myself and address the things that I know are not in compliance with God’s expressed will before I invite God to go mucking around and looking for things that I cannot find. I must be compliant insofar as I am able to see. When I can no longer see anything wrong, then I need to invite God in to find everything I’ve missed. That’s another thing I’ve learned. Rarely is anything as compliant as we think it is. There are often nuances or meanings that we’ve missed — both in certifying products and in walking with God. I may have wrongly understood the standard. The certifying agency can straighten that out. I may have misunderstood the spirit of God’s Law. God can easily straighten that out and clear up my lack of understanding.
Where am I this morning? Am I in a place where I have reached the end of what I can see wrong in any area of my life? If so, then it’s time to invite God in to examine me and test the parts of me no one — including and especially me — can see. That, I think, is what David’s invitation to God is all about. God, I cannot see anything wrong in this area, please come have a look and tell me what I’m missing. The end result of being compliant with the mandates of the certifying agencies is approval and the mark of certification. The end result of being compliant with God is His approval — and that approval also comes with a mark of certification (Revelation 3:12).