Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
This prayer of David is one of the most fundamental in the whole Bible. It expresses the necessary attitude of anyone who would seek God in truth. It isn’t asking for material goods or similar blessings, but rather for things internal to the one praying. It is expressing a commitment to obedience, which is sadly lacking in so many people who claim to be “spiritual.” It recognizes the many distractions and temptations that beset us all, essentially all of the time. How often do we pray to be able to fear the Lord? Not very often, I’m sure. Just as America is terribly divided right now, even well-intentioned people often have divided hearts, being pulled one way or the other, unable to focus on their Creator and His plan for their life. This prayer is the appropriate response to that condition, and as such is one we should all pray regularly. The good news is that God does teach us His way, if we have ears to hear Him and hearts committed to obedience. In our human weakness we often fail in that obedience, so it is marvelous news that repentance does work and forgiveness is available, but we’ve got to be humble enough to acknowledge our sins and errors. That’s where fearing the name of the Lord comes in. Like little children, we need to know that Daddy has the power and the authority to discipline us. That’s why children who are undisciplined are so much to be pitied: they are being severely handicapped, not only in their lives on this earth but also in their prospects for eternity.
Again, this applies as much to me as it does to anyone. I grew up with the enormous advantage of parents who indeed loved God and were committed to obeying Him, and I naturally loved Him from an early age myself. However, my obedience was certainly spotty! I wasn’t a “wild one,” but my heart was pulled after a lot of things, and I was double-minded much of the time. My biggest problem was that I made myself, my own judgment, the standard, instead of seeking what God had to say on any given subject. That left me thinking I was “a fine Christian,” while allowing my heart to get further and further from Him. I was already a married father when God tapped me on the shoulder and showed me a mirror to see, for just a moment, the state of my own heart. That was absolutely devastating to my pride, and that’s a very good thing indeed. I need to keep seeking Him just as this verse says all the days of my physical life, so that I may have the assurance and joy of eternal life with Him.
Father, thank You for this reminder. After all these years it would be nice not to need such reminders, but I know my weaknesses, and I’m grateful. I pray that You would use me to guide more and more people into the attitude expressed in this verse, so that Your house may be full indeed, for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!