Hovering over my reading in Psalm 119 this morning, verses 33 thru 40. A number of asks here by the songwriter as he continues his ode to the word of God. Teach me . . . give me understanding . . . lead me in the path . . . confirm to me Your promise. But one ask in particular causes me to pause and reflect.
Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
(Psalm 119:36 ESV)
It’s a competition, it seems. His testimonies or selfish gain. The witness concerning Himself or the ways of the world. His covenant or my covetousness. Kind of the way our hearts are wired — ready to cling to something. Ready to pursue something. Ready to get in line behind some god or idol. Lord, says the songwriter, would You bend my heart towards Your word?
Incline my heart to Your testimonies. Turn my heart to Your decrees (CSB). Give me a bent for Your wisdom (MSG). Give me an eagerness for Your laws (NLT).
As I chew on this verse, a line from a song comes to mind that I’ve often enjoyed from a few of my Gaither videos: “I can’t even walk, without You holding my hand.” It occurs to me, “Lord, I can’t even desire Your word without Your gracious work of inclining my heart.”
Born in sin. Wired naturally to worship the creation more than the Creator. Instinctively ready to desire that which benefits me more than that which blesses Him. So where does a longing for the way of heaven comes from? What causes the propensity to want to live for self to be pushed out with a desire to live for God? What inclines the heart to the wisdom of God? Number one Sunday school answer: God! God inclines my heart to His word.
Just grateful this morning for any desire I have to get up and start my day in His word. Not my natural inclination, but His supernatural inclining of my heart.
Thankful for whatever measure I think I’m actually understanding this God-breathed revelation. Not because of my intellect, but only through the Spirit’s illumination.
In awe that I see what I see, . . . and pick up what I pick up, . . . and feel what I feel, . . . and want to respond the way I want to respond, not because I’ve made some grand, self-disciplined decision to live according to the Word, but because it’s actually “no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
It’s because God answers the songwriter’s prayer, “Incline my heart to Your testimonies.”
My prayer too. Because I can’t even walk, without You holding my hand.
By Your grace. For Your glory.