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Friday, October 29, 2010

Turning My Heart: Psalm 119:33-40

I didn't post yesterday.  I didn't even read the passage.  I was writing a paper.  And writing an article for the school newspaper.  And doing other things.  And Scripture reading and blogging didn't get done.  Sigh...

I'm going to try to not let that happen again.

Today I have about half an hour between breakfast and chapel, so I'm sitting here in the campus center.  I didn't put my Bible in my backpack today, but thanks to the internet, I have Psalm 119 up on another tab.  Here's the passage for today:

33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
       then I will keep them to the end.
 34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
       and obey it with all my heart.
 35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
       for there I find delight.
 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
       and not toward selfish gain.

 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
       preserve my life according to your word.

 38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
       so that you may be feared.
 39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
       for your laws are good.
 40 How I long for your precepts!
       Preserve my life in your righteousness.

I'm noticing a pattern in the way the Psalmist is writing.  Almost every verse contains law and gospel!  It's so cool!  Look at verse 35, for example: Direct me in the path of your commands (LAW), for there I find delight (GOSPEL).  Or verse 38: Fulfill your promise to your servant (GOSPEL), so that you may be feared (LAW).  Maybe the writer of Psalm 119 was Lutheran; he's certainly got his theology in order!

This psalm is also a prayer.  Almost every verse is asking God to do something.  The psalmist wants God to teach and direct him toward God's word, and that's rephrased in nearly every verse.

I especially like verses 36 and 37, the ones I highlighted.  How often are our eyes and hearts turned alway from God: turned toward "selfish gain" and other "worthless things"?  I realized as I was reading this that that's what happened yesterday.  My eyes were turned away from his word and my heart was turned away from him, and instead I was focusing on (relatively) worthless things.  Yeah, it was stuff I had to get done-- a paper and a news article, both due today.  But I could have spent less time putzing on facebook and knitting (of all things) and instead spent time in God's word.

Today my prayer is that God will turn my heart toward him, toward his word.  I'm headed to chapel shortly, something I didn't do yesterday either: that's a start!  Lord, give me eyes and a heart only for you.  "Preserve my life according to your word."

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