Psalm 119:33-48

33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
    that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may 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!
    In your righteousness preserve my life.


41 May your unfailing love come to me, Lord,
    your salvation, according to your promise;
42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
    for I trust in your word.
43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
    for I have put my hope in your laws.
44 I will always obey your law,
    for ever and ever.
45 I will walk about in freedom,
    for I have sought out your precepts.
46 I will speak of your statutes before kings
    and will not be put to shame,
47 for I delight in your commands
    because I love them.
48 I reach out for your commands, which I love,
    that I may meditate on your decrees.


Psalm 119 is a long one (176 verses), so we are just reading a portion of it today. In it, we find a word about desiring God, God's ways, and God's word. This task, according to the Psalm, includes both positive and negative aspects. Positively, the life of faith means learning to seek God and God's ways through God's word. It means delighting in studying God's word and seeking understanding and knowledge there. Negatively, the life of faith means turning away from other desires -- the desire for selfish gain, from vain pursuits, and from those things that only bring disgrace.  


Try not to think of this as a new law to keep, because the positive should impact the negative. Love and desire for God, God's ways, and God's word should be seen as a promise. As we seek God’s ways, we can rest in the promise that God’s love will come. As we grow in our love of God, our desires for God will increase and desire for selfish gain will diminish. Moving in the positive direction toward God naturally moves us away from other more worldly desires. Pursue God today, move in the right direction, and let God handle the work of shaping your desires and your heart. 


Holy One, we are called to turn our lives to you, your word and your ways. Lead us into your care so that we may turn away from those things which have harmed us and others. Help us separate ourselves from actions and attitudes that demean and destroy.  Forgive us as we fail at this effort, but give us wisdom and strength to continue on the journey. Thank you for your steadfast love that endures forever. Amen.