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Testimonies vs. Covetousness

Posted by Emma on March 31, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Filed under:Bible,Christianity,Psalm 119,Studying the Word

“Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.” -Psalm 119:36

This verse makes it appear that God’s testimonies and covetousness are opposites, and they are. To truly live in God’s testimonies is to be content. People who covet are rarely content. However, there is more to this verse then meets the eye when reading it in English.

The first word is הט (hat). This is a verb meaning incline. It is particularly talking about inclining one’s heart unto God and His commands. This is to be pulled their way. It is to move towards them, move towards doing them more and more. It is to want to do them. We should ask God to incline our hearts towards Him.

The second word is לבי (libi) which means the inner man. This is the mind, will and heart. It is specifically referring to inclinations, resolutions and determinations of the will. It is the inclination to follow. The Psalmist is asking that his will and resolutions are inclined toward God. He is determined to follow God. Your will and inclinations govern what you do. You must be determined to follow God.

The word אל (el) is a preposition denoting motion to or direction towards. Where this this direction towards? It is towards God’s testimonies. The word (take out later) עדותיך (edivotecha) means thy testimonies. It is talking about God’s laws. They are a testimony to who He is. As we do them we become more like Him and we learn of His characteristics, who He is.

ואל (ve’al) is made up of a ו (vav) which is the conjunction and. The root of the word is an adverb of negation, not, no. It is a negative. This is what we do not want. The Psalmist does not want what he is about to state.

We again have the word אל (el) which is a preposition denoting motion to or direction towards. This time it is a very different direction. The final word of the verse is בצע (batza) which is gain made by violence, unjust gain. This is getting things the wrong way. Christians should stay far from unjust gain. Unjust gain can come in many forms, it can be from stealing, deception, falsehoods, or any number of other sly sins. It is anything that is not gotten properly and honestly. Covetousness often leads to unjust gain. We want something so bad we do anything to get it. This is not good. We must be content in the Lord and flee unjust gain.

The testimonies of the Lord and unjust gains are opposites. We cannot walk in both paths. We are either heading toward the testimonies of the Lord and being more like the Lord or we are heading toward unjust gain and the kingdom of the devil. We should earnestly pray that God would incline our hearts toward His testimonies and not to unjust gain and covetousness. Follow the Lord. Flee unjust gain. Always honor God.

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