My soul clings to the dust…
I find it amazing how attached to this earth I am. Everything within me loves the temporary. I know the eternal is better, but my desires are rooted deep in what the Bible would call my flesh. Food, sex, comfort, money, the easy life…all things that if caught in the right moment I would, and have (like Esau), traded the better and longer lasting joy for the more immediate and temporary joy. Now comfort and pleasure aren’t bad things. They’re a problem when they become what drives our decisions, when they trump the eternal…when we trade our birthright for a bowl of stew (Genesis 29:25-34).
This “clinging” to the temporary is an ever-present reality in the life of every person, even those rooted in Christ. Our hearts just love what’s immediate. But what sets the believer apart is the desire for it to change and the recognition of need for help. In the first part of Psalm 119:25 (see above), the psalmist talks about this desire he sees in himself. But he continues with a prayer: “give me life according to Your Word!” (25b).
He continues in verses 26-32: “When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes! Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law! I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me. I cling to your testimonies, O Lord; let me not be put to shame! I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!”
The psalmist’s answer to clinging to the dust, his recognition of his love for the temporary, is a desire to choose God’s ways over his own and a prayer for the help to do it. And over time and through a dependence on God, the dust can begin to slip through our fingers…and we can hold on to Christ and His ways.