April 15, 2020
Wow! A resurrection Sunday without gathering together with the body of Christ. I cannot remember such an occurrence in my life. An overfocus on these circumstances can lead us into the wrong path. The Biblical perspective provided by the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us confidence for the future. Moreover, that perspective provides motivation for the present which needs reviving from the understanding of God’s ways. Like the Psalmist, we need the Biblical perspective to avoid distraction from the empty things in life.
The Psalmist desires for God to help him pass by (turn away his eyes) the vanity. The word for “turn away” simply means “to pass by or pass over.” Passing by something does not mean we are not aware of its existence, but we do not spend too much time dwelling on it. The author wants the Lord to lead him away from worthless things. The Hebrew word, SHAWE (pronounced “SHAV”) refers to something without divine content or intrinsic value. We cannot avoid all vain things, but we can choose how much time we dedicate to dwelling on them.
By combining vs. 36 and 37, we see the Psalmist uniting the heart and eyes together. Remembering that the heart relates to the complete person, the Psalmist suggests the eyes serve as an external influence. Through the eyes, we choose how much to allow the things we see to impact us. Our recent circumstances with the “pandemic” impacts us but it need not lead us into “vanity.” The Psalmist, who faced more intense suffering, wanted to be renewed in the faith and not weakened by what he saw.
The specific renewal of life the Psalmist desires is in the area of the Lord’s way of life. The Hebrew word DEREK refers to the course of life, something the Psalmist has emphasized from the beginning (Psalm 119:5, 27, 30). God’s Word provides the intrinsic value content by which our course of life is kept pure (Psalm 119:9). God uses certain circumstances to arrest our attention regarding the need for living in dependence upon His Word and power.
Motivation to be vigilant and hunger for God’s Word can be difficult in a world filled with distractions. These distractions can easily move us into the vain way of living the Psalmist wishes to avoid. May the Lord restore in us a renewed desire to walk pure before Him and not be distracted. I pray the reality of the resurrection life of Christ will guard us from vanity and revive our walk with our Savior.
Pressing on in Christ,