God's Way

UNIFY MY HEART

PSALM 86

9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;
unify my heart in the fear of your name,
O LORD my God,
12 and then I will praise you with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.

Whoever prays, “O God, unify my heart!” recognizes that his heart is not unified but divided. He confesses to God, who fathoms the depths of our souls, that in a manner of speaking his heart is shattered into bits and pieces. He is no longer ashamed to admit that he is powerless to put them back together. He can’t reunite them or weld them back into a coherent unit. Now, recognizing that he is unable to achieve this in his own strength, he approaches the Almighty, who has power over all things. He entreats God: “Please, Lord, work deep within me. Truly, O my God, unify my heart again; unify it so that I might fear your name.”

Unity of heart. That’s what this is about. That’s what it comes down to.

Is there anyone who has achieved the incalculable strength needed to put such a smoothly operating heart to work? Wouldn’t this require putting all the counsels and devotion of our souls into play? And even if that were possible, is there as much as one human heart that has the strength, capacity, and determination to work with the required purpose and intensity to achieve this? There isn’t!

But that’s the secret to understanding Satan!

Satan’s heart is definitely unified. There is no division or disunity in him. There’s not a trace of contradiction in the depths of his unfathomably evil heart. There’s not a hint of any struggle in it. His heart is totally unified, and it’s also thoroughly wicked. It’s not only capable of hating God with his entire mind and all his strength; it’s also filled with a passionate desire to do so.

That’s also the secret that explains the influence that radically godless people have in church, state, and society today.

As long as we were dealing with a generation of people who were half-heartedly godless and only half-heartedly religious, the flood of godlessness was not overwhelming. It couldn’t be while they were in control. They were too double-minded, too compromised, and too weak for that to happen. Their hearts were divided three or four ways.

But that’s not the way things are now with the present pace-setting generation. Now a kind of person has appeared on the scene who has a unified heart. He wants to banish the fear of the Lord’s name with all of his heart and with all of his soul. Just take a look at how things are going. Look at how people want to turn everything upside down and sweep away whatever gets in their way. A demonic, almost superhuman power has broken loose.

But yet, don’t despair, my brothers and sisters. Simply pray that you will get what these evildoers have, namely, a unified, fused, and undivided heart. Do it because it’s perfectly obvious that with a compromised and double-minded heart you won’t be able to accomplish a single thing against those doing battle with you from the amazing strength of their own undivided hearts. As things now stand, half-hearted and divided efforts are completely useless, powerless, and ineffectual.

You can see how these swarming deviants daily gain more influence and how the half-hearted are simply sidelined. There’s nothing at all to be gained by half-hearted piety, compromised orthodoxy, or half-baked theology. Now that the heat of the day has come, its light has burned off all these mists like shadows. The only thing that won’t wither is what is deeply rooted in good ground. Only it can resist and remain standing.

This is how good comes from evil and God’s people are aroused to jealousy by the unified hearts of godless folks. But this will happen only if they are provoked by the disgusting condition of half-heartedness and restored to wholeness. It will happen only if God Almighty hears their petition, “Unify my heart,” and their hearts become one again. It will happen only if he hears that prayer and it convinces him that they “love him with all of their heart” and that they “wholeheartedly belong to him,” the God of mercy.

Wouldn’t that be worth celebrating?

So let’s give thanks! Let’s give thanks with lips that are resolutely serious about experiencing the beautiful days of renewed commitment once more. Evil has broken out, to be sure. But so has the richest, most glorious expression of heavenly power possible!

Let people focus only on this one thing. Let every individual first of all examine how things are in their own heart, in the heart they carry around in their own chest. Let them examine whether it is unified, whether it speaks with one voice, and whether it is whole.

And if it is not, then pray, pray without letup, pray at all times, pray to the Spirit who is within you and who prays with you, that the sacred peace of “a unified heart” may be given also to you.

I know very well that here on earth this is a petition that is never fully granted. But I also know that whatever is lacking in this respect is covered and fully completed through the unified, fully divine and fully human heart of the Mediator. It was never shattered. But through all the days of his life and all the times of his suffering, even unto death, it remained unified in the fear of his Father’s name.

Abraham Kuyper, Ever in Thy Sight: 31 Devotions on the Psalms

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