We could look at any of a number of verses here, but let’s focus on verses 33-37:
33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.
The psalmist’s first request is for God to teach him. So should we. We will not understand Scripture, we will not understand God’s character, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. As Paul writes:
1 Corinthians 1:18 the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing.
And it will be folly to us unless He enlightens the eyes of our heart.
So verse 33 gives a general request to God: “Teach me, Lord, then I will keep your Law.” The next four verses flesh out the details of this request.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
Here he asks for his mind. He asks that he would know God with his mind, and thus take on the character of God. Obedience flows from a mind that knows God’s Word.
Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
Here he is asking for practical obedience, for God’s leading him down the right path, and keeping him off the wrong path. He asks God to hold his hand, to guide him in the right way. He delights in God’s character, and so wants to become practically like God.
Three weeks ago, we identified practical obedience as loving God with all our strength. So that is the psalmist’s request in this verse.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
In verse 36 he asks for his heart to be moved, for his heart to be focused on God and His character. He asks that his heart not be captivated by the things of this world, but by God Himself. In effect, he is asking that he might love God with all his heart.
Finally, verse 37:
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
What is he asking here? Not for his heart. Not for his mind. Not for his strength, or practical obedience. Rather, here he is asking that his will, his soul, his inner self, would want what is truly most valuable – life in God! – and not pine after the baubles of this world that look so lovely but in the end are worthless.
So do you see what the psalmist has done here? After an introductory verse asking God to teach him, the next four verses in effect ask God to help him to love Him with all his mind, all his strength, all his heart, and all his soul. He is asking that He might fulfill the Great Commandment. He is asking that He might love God with all his being.
Don’t you need this same prayer?
Don’t others around you need this same prayer?
Pray biblically for yourself and others!
- “Teach me!”
- “Give me understanding!”
- “Lead me in the path of your commandments!’
- “Incline my heart to your testimonies!”
- “Turn my eyes from worthless things!”
So when we love God’s Word, we end up praying that we would love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.