37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways*.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
39 Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!
* Through these reflections, those phrases that identify God’s word, revelation, or law will be highlighted in the text in the hopes of accentuating the many and varied ways we can visualize what God has given to us for our good.
There are an any opportunities for distraction in the world as there are sets of eyes. This is one of the many unspoken challenges to living a life that is accord with God’s word.
We have to choose to turn our eyes and our attentions toward God. To refocus our efforts and to submit our impulses to the will of God does not come cheaply. A cost will be incurred. Too often I find myself hoping that God will simply make living by faith easier. And then I am confronted with an even more pressing realization, how does that help me become stronger? It doesn’t.
As the years have passed and I have seen more of what this world has to offer (both good and bad), my confidence in God’s commands has grown. I want to trust the all-wise God to lead me. To comfort me through his immovable faithfulness.
In a world where everything appears to be in flux, the notion of an immovable God can be disorienting. And yet, this reality is our safe harbor. It is our calm in the storm. Because God never moves, we can always find him to be right where he has promised. And that place is where he has always been, for he is the ever-present God. There is no place where he is not, for there is not place where he cannot be.
Verse 37: Sometimes we need help is averting our eyes from those things that would draw our attention from God. We would like to believe that we have the spiritual maturity and strength to do it. However, this is not often the case. As we turn away from those “worthless things,” we can turn to God. And as we turn to him, we can call upon God to give us life. But this life is not on our terms. It is life in God’s ways. This is neither unreasonable nor should it be surprising.
Verse 38: When those moments of doubt come, and they will, we can ask God for a reminder. There are promises that God makes that are too big to believe. They just don’t seem possible. When the reality of what God has promised begins to sink in, then comes the doubt and worry. How can we keep from ruining the precious gift God has given? We may be tempted to think this way, but we should reject this line of thought. Whatever God promises he will fulfill. And there is nothing more praiseworthy than a person who keeps their word. So when God makes a promise, both of blessing and discipline, we should listen and heed his word.
Verse 39: The Psalmist says that God’s “rules are good.” This is not simple lip service. This is a declaration of an inherent quality of God’s word that must be reclaimed. What God has commanded is good. Period. And the tension that is often felt is our rejection of this particular good. When we know what we ought to do and choose another path, we instinctively feel the reproach of that. It is a willful rejection of something God has given. Something good God has provided for our comfort and direction.
Verse 40: The life we have in Christ originated in God’s righteousness. Another way of thinking about God’s righteousness is as God’s essence. That quality of being that defines how God operates. God is good. He is righteous. Therefore, he will never act in a way contrary to these immutable realities. As followers of Christ and believers in God, we can walk in God’s precepts because we can count on God’s unchanging character.