33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.[a]
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.[b]
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.
This passage is a prayer for life transformation.
33. We are incapable of following Scripture on our own effort. God must teach us to follow Him. Today, He does this through Scripture and prayer, through the Holy Spirit.
34. It is not enough just to know Scripture, we must also understand it. God is not interested in our blind obedience, for that is fleeting and not sustainable. We must also understand Scripture. But we are also incapable of understanding Scripture on our own. Only God gives us understanding of His Word. He does this by his grace (“unmerited favor”). And we have to ask Him (humble ourselves and admit our inadequacy) — only then are we able to obey Scripture.
35. Once we learn and understand Scripture, then we must walk daily in the path of Scripture — we have to apply it to our lives. But again — we are incapable of applying Scripture on our own. We must humble ourselves and ask daily for God to direct our path according to His Word. We willingly claim our reliance on Him and it is there — in following Him daily — that we find our peace.
36. Now that God is teaching us daily, giving us understanding, and helping us to apply that understanding to our daily path — then we begin to be transformed. First, our heart is changed toward wanting to obey Him. We desire to follow and grow in greater dependence on Him and less dependence on ourselves.
37. Then we actually stop pursuing all those “worthless things” and instead, look even deeper into Scripture for how our life will grow and prosper in Christ, thus starting the cycle again: learn-understand-apply-transform. (Warning: “growing and prospering” in Christ does not look the same as “growing and prospering” in the world — this is a whole separate study and post!!!)
38. God is faithful to fulfill all his promises to us when we seek Him. He transforms us so that others will know Him and love Him too.
39. The world may reject us, but God’s Word is good. His goodness is worth infinitely more than any accolades this world may offer.
40. Our life is preserved into eternity when we are transformed by God’s righteousness. Only God is righteous. Therefore, only God can give righteousness. We cannot earn it or achieve it on our own. Humbling ourselves and admitting our full reliance on Him for our righteousness is the only way our life is transformed now and preserved for eternity.
33. Am I asking God daily to teach me to follow Scripture?
34. Am I asking God daily to give me understanding so that I can obey it?
35. Am I asking God daily to help me live out my learning and understanding? To walk in the path of Scripture? To apply these lessons and understanding so that I will have peace (“delight”) no matter what my circumstances are?
36. How is my heart being changed? What do I desire? Am I growing in greater dependence on The Lord, or greater dependence on myself?
37. What am I pursuing? Am I pursuing “worthless things” or am I pursuing a life that is growing and prospering in Christ?
38. Do others see God because of how He is transforming me?
39. Am I prepared to face “disgrace” because of following God’s Word? How will I respond?
40. Am I fully relying on God for righteousness or am I still trying to earn it myself? How is my life being transformed?
Dear Jesus, Thank you for giving me your Word and the Holy Spirit to teach me, give me understanding, and help me to live out your Word every day. Please grow me and prosper me in YOU — not in the world. Please transform my life by your righteousness — on my own. I am so inadequate and unworthy on my own. Only you, Jesus, can change my life and give me peace — for now and for eternity. Amen.