Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to dishonest gain.
The heart of each person, even a Christian, can quickly lead them astray. The psalmist recognized the danger and prayed that God would keep his heart aligned with God’s word rather than with selfish gain. The Scriptures are clear that we are often our worst enemy!
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.”
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
When the heart is left unchecked, sin will certainly result. Christians must understand that God’s word is essential in their life to keep their heart in submission to God. Since we cannot trust ourselves, we must be constantly alert and absorbed with what we know to be true. When our flesh chaffs against the truth of God’s word, we know that we are wrong and God’s word is always right. We bow the knee.
It is reasonable for us to ask ourselves why we spend time in God’s word. We can get in the habit of reading the Bible because it is the right thing to do. We don’t necessarily see it as the means to an end. We are simply fulfilling a spiritual obligation.
Believers with a reasonable grasp of the danger within their own hearts have a very different perspective of God’s word. They are desperate people, aware of the danger within, recognizing that they are always one step away from foolishness. The believer who sees themself as God sees them longs for God’s word. It is not based primarily on ‘feeling like’ spending time in God’s word. It is based on the fact that God’s word is truth. God promises wisdom to those who will pursue it with all their heart. Since we don’t have the spiritual wisdom to get through a single day, the word of God becomes a passion of our heart. Our discipline to study and meditate on God’s word is a joyful act of the will.
“Divine grace and omnipotent power are necessary to bend the will, bow down the heart, and incline the affections to God.”1
I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, even to the end.
1 Plummer, W. S., Geneva Series of Commentaries, Psalms, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2016. p. 1036