VOICE O Eternal One, guide me along Your path so that I will live in Your truth. Unite my divided heart so that I will fear Your great name.
ESV - 11 Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
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I would say that the unity of heart spoken of by David in this psalm is a state toward which all Christians can and should strive. Also, it seems to me that it would be discernible by Christians as to whether they were making progress toward that state by consideration of their actions, attitudes, and beliefs in light of the Bible's guidance in that regard. Who are they "serving"? (As Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, it is possible to truly serve only one master.) They can also pray to God for insight into how they can draw even closer to Him, no matter what their current assessment of their spiritual condition might be. However, I would also say, that, as indicated by Paul in Romans 7, as long as we are in this life and this fallen world, that perfect state of unity will never be completely achieved (although that is not an excuse or justifcation for not making the effort). We will always have to deal with the temptations and attacks of the world, our flesh, and Satan, even though we can also know that we have gained ultimate victory over them through faith in Christ. Also, as indicated by David (and by Jesus as well in Luke 12:5), knowledge and fear of the eternal consequences of leaving this world without that faith is another powerful inducement toward making the greatest possible effort with regard to not consciously living with "divided" spiritual loyalties.
First, see the big picture: • Psalm 86 • 1. God’s Covenant Is Secure (Ps 86:1-7). • 2. God’s Character Is Unchanging (Ps 86:8-13). • 3. God’s Glory Shall Prevail (Ps 86:14-17). VOICE: O Eternal One, guide me along Your path so that I will live in Your truth. Unite my divided heart so that I will fear Your great name. "Unite my heart" means "I desire an undivided heart, totally focused on You, God!" "May I have undivided reverence for You!" Unite my heart here in Ps 86:11 means that the psalmist is asking God to transform his heart to have a singular and undivided reverence for God. An undivided heart reveals a heart which is pure and selfless, totally uncorrupted. See Psalm 24:3-4. See also Jeremiah 24:7!; Jer. 32:39 and Ezekiel 11:19. We may know we have an undivided heart if we echo David’s prayer in Psalm 139:23. unite my heart —fix all my affections (Ps 12:2; Jam 4:8). A united heart is a sincere heart which loves God only and is true to God (Jas. 1:8; 4:8; Dt 6:4-5; 10:12), says Wiersbe.
To be “divided” means to “be against one another.” Jesus demonstrates this in Luke 11:17-20. In this teaching, Jesus says that Satan cannot be divided against himself, or his kingdom would be destroyed. Division means to split into multiple parts. So I think that when David says “unite my divided heart” he means that his heart is split in two, and he is divided between his sinful ways and his wanting to serve God. The reason I think this is because of how he follows it up “that I may fear your name.” So, David wants perfect unity with God, a heart that is not divided but a heart of full devotion.
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