Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name Psalms 86:11.
… He (God) testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will’ Acts 13:22.
Though God testified that David’s heart pursued after Him, David did not fail to see that many of his imaginations and actions fell short of the state of his heart. He saw his soul’s wrong meditations and the consequences in his fleshly actions that displeased God.
But, David acknowledged the truth that God wants only pure, true and sincere worship or devotion. So, in his anguish for a solution, he prayed to God, ‘Unite my heart to fear (worship) your name’. He was active in his longing for God’s help regarding the matter. He wanted his whole being to join in blessing and praising God Psalms 103:1
This is the heart beat of every true follower of Christ. It is the sign of a vibrant faith.
Scriptures clarifies the truth that, pure and sincere devotion involves our heart, soul and body. It’s God’s work in our heart overshadowing our soul and bearing its fruit out of our body. This is what it means to worship in spirit and truth John 4:23-24. Meaning, the actions of our body should reflect what is in our soul as our soul takes instruction from our heart or spirit where God is working His will.
What did David mean by asking God to unite his heart?
Could it be that he was asking for sanctification? I believe he was. He had a good grasp of the dichotomy of spirit (heart), soul and body and wanted them to unite to glorify God. In other words, he wanted his heart, soul and body to agree with God’s opinion or thought. He desired the free and smooth sailing of God’s command in his daily worship and service to Him.
However, David realized he couldn’t do it by himself, He needed God’s sanctifying power.
David didn’t allow God’s testimony of him to be used by the deceiver (Satan) to delude him. Rather, by faith, he hungered for His righteousness—thereby letting God’s testimony of him serve as a catalyst for, ‘His will in heaven to be done in his life on earth’ Matthew 6:10.
David’s prayer is not surprising. The people of old who pleased God did so by faith, that is, their obedience to God’s command was through Christ though He had not physically been made manifest to mankind on earth.
Did God answer David’s prayer? Yes! He answers the prayers of His children for help always.
Reading through the scriptures, it is clear that David transformed from one who put Uriah in the front line to die, to being a godly king. Towards his end, he testified, ‘that God had given him rest on every side’. Though, within context, ‘rest on every side’ in its use in earlier and later passages with reference to David related to physical wars. However, its spiritual dimension can’t be ignored because, the bigger picture in all of David’s dealings was the spiritual. This was why God testified, that David’s heart was after His own heart or way.
David desired a good standing in God’s sight both for himself and his people just as it applied to other saints of old like Abraham, Moses et al. Hebrews 11:26.
For those whose hearts acknowledge and desire God’s will, when the soul and body unite with the heart, God’s will is easily accomplished—obedience to Christ’ command through the Holy Spirit sails freely. This is the effect of sanctification.
In the New Testament, Paul’s prayer for the church in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 lined up with David’s, “… May every fiber of my being unite in reverence to your name” (Psalms 86:11b Living Bible).
Our Savior (Jesus Christ), authenticated the thought behind both David and Paul’s prayers by His reply to the question: What is the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-38.
His answer was simple but profound, ‘Love God holistically (spirit, soul and body). And it is exhibited by the second greatest command in Matthew 22:39—meaning, as God has loved you and helped you to love yourself, love others in the same way. Put differently, let your light shine! God grants our prayer for sanctification because, He wants to see us building on His solid Foundation with the right materials 1 Corinthians 3:11. Not with wood, hay and stubble—but with gold, silver and precious stones 1 Corinthians 3:12.
The testimony of God about His Son’s body (the church) on earth is that she is the light and salt of the world. And, He wants to see that testimony lived out. Hence, the exhortation and admonition, “…let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” Matthew 5:16, Galatians 6:10.
Paul the apostle tells us, ‘The opposite of us letting our light shine out will be, to live as enemies of His cross that saved us’ Philippians 3:18. But, when His light in us shines out, what glory it brings to God!
Like David, a servant with a heart after God’s heart, let us pray, “… May every fibre of my being unite in reverence to your name” and from Paul’s example, a man full of grace, let us desire and pray: ‘May the God of peace himself cause us to be completely dedicated to him; and may our spirit, soul, and body be kept intact and blameless at our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming’. Amen!