When I was younger and reading through the Bible, I used to dread when I came to Psalm 119. It’s the longest chapter in the Bible, and I still remember groaning when it came up for that days reading. I’ve always had a checklist personality, so when something takes a bit longer to cross off my list, I quickly grow impatient. As I’ve grown to love God and His Word more, I have come to appreciate Psalm 119 to the point it is now one of my favorite chapters, and I get excited when I turn to it.
There is so much packed into this single chapter. Almost every verse holds a complete and self-contained nugget of praise, worship, wisdom, or instruction. I think you could read Psalm 119 every day for the rest of your life and never plumb its depths.
Today as I was reading Psalm 119, I was struck anew by verse 36. It says, “Turn my heart to your decrees and not to material gain”. Verse 37 continues, “Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in your ways.” These verses are powerful companions. I am constantly aware of the lure of money and comfort. I never want to desire these things more than I desire Jesus and His mission for my life. Every day Satan tries to knock me off course by getting me to rely on my own strength or what I perceive to be my own ability to provide for myself and my family.
As I read Psalm 119:36, I was convicted anew how God’s Word is so much more valuable than any amount of material gain I might acquire. Only His Word will remain. My life must be spent pursuing Him and what He has given me to do. The moment I am more focused on material gain than spiritual gain, I am trusting in my own strength and not relying on God. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to acknowledge God in everything and to not lean on our own understanding. If we do this, it says He will make our paths straight. I didn’t fare so well in Geometry, but I remember the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Since my desire is to be with Jesus, I want to get there as quickly as possible. I want to walk on the straight path so I might come to Him sooner rather than later.
The straight path, relying on God and not ourselves, means our entire pursuit must be of Him, not on anything this world has to offer. His Word and His ways are the only things that matter and will bring us life. Pursuing anything other than Him is leaning on our own power, which is no power at all. The comforts of this world are no comforts at all. Only Jesus has the power we need. Only He can heal all that is broken within us.
Oh Father, keep me from pursuing anything but You. Don’t let me look on worthless things. Turn my heart to Your Word, Your decrees, and Your instruction. Don’t let me be lured by material wealth and gain. Keep my eyes on You, and not on my possessions. Help me see them as worthless, and You as my everything. Help me to find my life in Yours.