Turn my eyes from looking at vanities…

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Psalm 119: 36 Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, the writer is in some trouble and is here expressing complete dependence on God to intervene. I was struck by the word “vanities” in v.37. Vanities refers to things that don’t matter or are inconsequential. A waste of time. Turning from such things makes perfect sense and yet is easier said than done.

I say this because it’s not always obvious at a given moment what things are vanities and what are not. I can recall a number of conversations I’ve had with people who, at the end of life, realized they had spent years and years on vanities – often work-related stuff. They chose things related to work instead of time with loved ones, or with God, or other priorities. Priorities can get confused in the day-to-day press of time. I know I’ve made mistakes of this kind many times.

Truth is, we made judgments in this area every day and hope we get it right. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. So this morning I’m praying along with the psalmist. Turn my eyes from looking on vanities; give me life in your ways O God. Amen.

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