A matter of the heart

Driving home from visiting with family over Thanksgiving (yes, I started this post over a week ago and am just now getting around to finishing it), I was thinking about Ps. 119:1-2 and 36-37, which I memorized a couple of months ago:

1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart! (NKJV)

36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way. (NKJV)

I chose these verses for their usefulness in helping me kill sin – especially, in the case of 36-37, lust. (“Worthless” in 37 is also sometimes translated “vain” or “false”. Note that this is different from the vanity used in Ecclesiastes. That vanity is also translated “breath” in Ps 144:4, which I wrote about here.)

What I hadn’t noticed (or at least focused on) prior to the trip home were the common themes of the heart and God’s testimonies in the two passages. Another late-breaking epiphany thanks to scripture memory! (Also see here and here for previous epiphanies.) Notice how keeping His testimonies is equated with seeking Him with your whole heart (how often do those not go together in my mind?), and how inclining your heart to His testimonies is the opposite of covetousness. So what should I do if I want to seek Him with my whole heart? Keep His testimonies! What should I do if I want to kill the sin of covetousness in my heart? Ask Him to incline my heart to His testimonies! (Note that, like asking for an increase in faith, I can ask God to help me in focusing on and valuing His testimonies!)

What are “His testimonies”? In vs. 2, the word is also translated “witness” and is “always of laws as divine testimonies” (at least the word used in KJV is – I don’t know why it’s not the same in NAS – it’s not even listed in the NAS Strong’s…), and in vs. 36, the word is also translated as “admonitions”, “ordinance”, and “warnings” (here the same word is referenced in both NAS and KJV) – so it appears to be a little broader, though quite similar. Both are from the same root (5707).

I think I also had some thoughts related to some NT passages, but I can’t remember them anymore… If I do remember them, I’ll add the references here later.


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