Long Obedience

I have been pondering a verse for a couple of weeks now.  Something about it spoke to me…though, to be honest, I wasn’t sure why exactly I was drawn to it. 

Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things… – Psalm 119:37

I underlined these words in my Bible and just began thinking about worthless things…what are the things that I tend to focus my attention on that have no value or benefit to me in this journey I am on?  I could think of several: material possessions, opinions of others, desires of my heart…all of these things have served to distract me from my true purpose of glorifying God and being an encouragement to others. 

What I found particularly interesting was the second portion of this verse…

Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.

When we turn our eyes away from looking at things which are of no benefit to us, God is able to revive us in our walks.  He is able to restore vitality and energy that we did not even realize was lacking.  I love that it says revive me in Your way.  Don’t just energize me, Lord.  Restore my passion for You and Your calling on my life.  Don’t let my eyes wander and my passion fade.

There are days when I feel so close to the Lord.  I feel like I am following closely behind Him and am right where I am supposed to be…then, suddenly, I look around and can’t seem to find Him anywhere.  It has occurred to me that…1)Obviously, God has not moved…2)I have not taken a wrong turn…3)I am, quite possibly, just focusing my attention in the wrong direction.  I have become distracted. 

I have really enjoyed reading Eugene Peterson’s book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.  The title alone struck me as a statement of brilliance.  It clearly defines this pilgrimage we are on…a journey that is long, a life lived in obedience, a commitment to walking in the same direction as the Lord. 

In fact, I love the way The Message (also by Eugene Peterson) paraphrases Psalm 119:33-40…

God, teach me lessons for living
      so I can stay the course.
   Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
      my whole life one long, obedient response.
   Guide me down the road of your commandments;
      I love traveling this freeway!
   Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
      and not for piling up loot.
   Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
      invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
   Affirm your promises to me—
      promises made to all who fear you.
   Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
      but what you say is always so good.
   See how hungry I am for your counsel;
      preserve my life through your righteous ways!

My whole life one long, obedient response…Lord, how I want that to be me.

2 thoughts on “Long Obedience

  1. One of the things that caught my attention was that you underlined scripture in your bible. When I was growing up I was taught to respect books and to write in them was taboo. After my grandmother passed away at 97years old, I was looking through her bible, not only did she have it underlined , she wrote people’s names , prayers, and her hearts desires. It is the most precious possesion in our family. She could not have left anything more meaningful and heartfelt. It makes me feel so close to her. Thank you I needed that!

Leave a Reply