Psalm 34:11-16 [NLT]
Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.
My reflections on the Psalm
Forgive me, when I stray and become deaf to the teachings about learning to fear you.
How often am I forgetful of Jesus’ declaration – “I am the way, the truth and the life” and instead I make my own way in life repeatedly down dead end streets. Forgive me. Holy Spirit help me to turn away from evil and to do good. May I find peace in your presence Jesus and remain there forever.
Hear my cry for others, a friend dying of cancer and longing for another day. A mother grieving the loss of her son, and grasping at how to move on. Missionary friends longing to share Jesus and always a dollar short and robbed of much needed sleep. Friends that are left wanting. Change lives, change hearts, change desires, change me. Longingly seeking your face.
From Tim Keller’s book Songs of Jesus:
THE LIE. To enjoy a good life (verse 12) you must live a good life (verses 13–14). This challenges the lie of the serpent in Eden that if we obey God fully we will be miserable, that rich living lies outside God’s will, not within it. This lie has passed deeply into every human heart: that we would be happier if we, rather than God, were free to choose how our lives should be lived. But the ultimate good is knowing God personally, and the ultimate punishment is just as personal—to lose the face of God (verse 16), the only source of joy and love, to be “left utterly and absolutely outside—repelled, exiled, estranged, finally and unspeakably ignored.”
Prayer: Father, if I want to love life, I have to love you—and loving you means doing your will with gladness. Shine your face on me—let me know your love—so I can love you for who you are. Remind me that the only loss that is unbearable is to lose you and your presence. Amen.