(This article can also we found on our website at
http://www.bethelkingston.comunder the tab called "Blog")
This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.
This Touching Base is meant to be used as a tool to assist you in growing in intimacy with God. As a church it is our desire to respond to the heart of God, and transform the heart of the city, nation and world. While that is our corporate vision statement, it is also our desire that each individual who makes Bethel their home would grow deep roots in their relationship with God. It is out of a healthy, growing relationship that we can be used by God to bless the city, nation and world. I think most of us realize that the city, nation and world do not just need good human deeds (as great as they are), but a genuine encounter with the power of God to truly experience transformation.
How we deepen our roots could be illustrated several different ways. However, on Sunday we looked at David’s prayer in Psalm 139:23, 24 and answered the question, “What is the language of a heart desiring deeper roots with God?”
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.
Why not take a moment and memorize this prayer, not as some sort of “magical prayer”, but a means of expressing your desire to grow deep roots with God.
Search means ”to discover, probe, to be laid bare”. I think David is saying “God, you have the right to frisk me! Check my pockets, my whole being, what I have and who I am is all yours.” The heart which is the object of the search is just that, the inner man, the whole person.
Note in this chapter how David says in v.1 that God has already searched him. Of course God knows all that is in David’s heart. That is part of being God. In v.23, David makes it known that he will not resist the search, but will in fact welcome it.
- Take a moment and read through Psalm 139 and note all that God knows about David, and thus about you and me.
- Tell God that you not only acknowledge that He knows everything about you, but that you welcome His intimate knowledge of your heart.
Note that the verb changes from search to test and the object changes from heart to anxious thoughts. Anxious means “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs” (such as sweating, tension, and increased pulse). David’s life is causing some heart palpitations. What we can take from this was that there was some kind of situation in his life that was causing his heart to race. Perhaps v.19 clues us in to some of what David was facing. Notice the verb - test. This is a word that in the ancient world referred to the process in which crude metal was customarily re-melted to remove impurities and to make metal castings (tools, weapons, images, etc.). The metal was heated in pottery crucibles (Pr. 17:3; 27:21) in ovens or hearths, bellows often being used to provide a current of air to create greater heat. This imagery is used of God whose desire is to purify our hearts, removing any dross or alloy that would contaminate them. In other words, sometimes trying situations or difficult times can deposit things in our heart that are like impurities that don’t deepen our roots with God, but compromise them. Thus the next verb makes a lot of sense.
... if there is any offensive way in me. Sometimes we can go through trying situations, and our hearts get all messed up. Dross and alloys attach themselves.
- Think about current situations that you are walking through. Has that situation or that anxiety caused your heart to be compromised? List some of the trying situations.
- Take some time to ask God to test your heart. Is there anything in your heart that is compromising your relationship with God, preventing you from developing deepening roots? You may need to take some time to acknowledge the wrong, the issue that is grieving God.
Note the contrast, the offensive way vs. the way everlasting. The offensive way is filled with things that lead us into a dead end in our relationship with God by killing the root system. The way everlasting can refer to a prolonged life. God’s way, His truth, is life… is healing… is hope… is freedom!
- What do you need God to lead you away from? ( i.e. attitude, person, circumstance, belief system)
- What do you need God to lead you towards? ( i.e. His word, healthy community, forgiveness, purity, freedom)
- As you think about the answer to these questions, pray and ask God for his empowerment. Who can you talk to about these issues? We are always stronger in community.
Note that each of these verbs requires humility on the part of the person praying. Search, test, see and lead come from the lips of a person who has stepped aside, bowed in worship, and acknowledged the King. Humility and deep roots walk hand-in-hand.
- Pray that God would give you the humility you need to allow God to do a deeper work in your life.
- Each morning as you rise, why not take some time to pray this prayer back to God. Some love to journal so they can keep track of how God is shaping their hearts.
Next week we will be looking at growing in intimacy with others. We want to be a people deeply rooted in God and deeply rooted in community.
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact firstname.lastname@example.org