Psalm 119 Turn away from worthless things

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
Psalm 119:37 (NIV)

Read: Psalm 119:33-40

Consider: The psalmist adds to his prayer to God that he would be saved from worthless things. It is very easy in life to put our focus on things that ultimately do not matter and which distract us from living the life God would wish for us. Examples of these things are power, status, career and possessions. It is important to realise that none of these things are bad in themselves. God created everything in the world for us to enjoy and this must include these things. Therefore it is not that they are bad, it is just that they are worth less than something else.

When Job lost everything and his friends came to advise him, one of them (Eliphaz) said this: Let him not deceive himself by trusting in what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return (Job 15:31). It is important for us not to put our trust in things that are transient, but to trust in what is eternal.

There are, of course, some things that are actually worthless (worth nothing). It says in 2 Kings 17:14-15 – But they [the people of Israel] would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the LORD their God. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, ‘Do not do as they do.’  When society accepts as the norm, standards that are not in accordance with God’s Word, it is important for us as Christians to see through these ‘acceptable’ things.

If some aspects of life can be worth less, then by implication there are things that must be worth more. In Matthew’s gospel, in the chapters recording the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7) it is recorded that Jesus said: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21).

When Paul and Barnabas healed a lame man in Lystra, the crowd decided to venerate them and to treat them like gods, wanting to offer sacrifices to them. However, Paul and Barnabas rebuked the crowd: But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: ‘Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.

So where is your worth to be found? In work, home, status or possessions? None of these! Your true worth can only be found in Christ, in the living God.

Pray: Father, help us to see how true worth is not to be found in material things that are transient, but only in you. Amen

Every blessing

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