In Psalm 139 David mentions how the Lord has searched him throughout his life, even when he was in his mother’s womb. His experience of such divine searching has not made him reluctant for more. Instead, the opposite is the case and he prays in verses 23 and 24: ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!’
God does not only search the hearts of individuals in isolation. The description of the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 2 and 3 reminds us that Jesus searches the churches, and we should note what he says in Revelation 2:23: ‘And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.’
In addition to this description being evidence for the deity of the Son, it is also a reminder that he searches and judges local congregations of his people. In the vision of Jesus given in Revelation 1, he is depicted as having ‘eyes of fire’, eyes that see everything in a penetrating manner.
In 1 Corinthians 2:10 Paul writes that ‘the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God’. Paul is referring to the things of God that he has revealed to us by his Spirit. Yet the phrase he uses also points to an intra-Trinity activity in which the Spirit searches permanently and fully all that is in God.
Something similar is said of the Son in Matthew 11:27: ‘All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’ And in John 10:14-15 Jesus says, ‘I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.’
In these verses, we are given an insight into the inner life of the Trinity in which they explore, with great mutual delight and satisfaction, the depths of God’s being and purposes.
This activity of God is a combination of two of his incommunicable attributes (features and capabilities that only God can possess), that is, his omnipresence and his omniscience. He does not search each heart sequentially but simultaneously, and he searches every heart fully and is not ignorant of any details.
Here the reference is to being searched by the Father and we will think about that experience tomorrow.