37 Keep me from looking at worthless things.
Let me live by your word.
38 Keep your promise to me, your servant,
so you will be feared.
39 Take away the shame I fear.
Your laws are good.
40 How I want to follow your orders.
Give me life because of your goodness. [International Children’s Bible]
Perhaps it is because of the change of translations from Good News to International Children’s, but the second half of the fifth stanza doesn’t seem to fit with the first half. It feels more like a laundry list of pleas rather than a consolidated thought… and maybe that’s all it is.
The first plea follows fairly well from the prior line (“Give me the desire to obey your laws rather than to get rich”). And, it fits well with the theme I am attempting to establish within my ministry area at church—stewardship is about setting our priorities. The psalmist is asking God to help him realize what is important and what is not.
I keep looking at the second plea and cannot get past the fact that it looks like an ultimatum being thrown at God… not sure where to go with this. So, I’ll pass =8^)
I also am a little tripped up by the third plea. What is this shame? Is it the shame of having failed (repeatedly) to live by God’s laws? Or, is it the fear of embarrassment (peer-pressure?) associated with being someone who wants to be a “goodie two shoes.” I understand both of these. Taken in isolation, it could be either interpretation.
The final line comes back to the recurring theme throughout the overall psalm so far. We want to do good, but it’s not easy. We need God’s help… in Xian speak, the Holy Spirit.