Psalm 101:3 – I Will Focus On Nothing Worthless

David’s ethical standards in Psalm 101 sure caught my attention. I want to focus on another in Psalm 101:3

We can read the first line of that verse as

I will focus
On nothing worthless

On what do I focus? What occupies my mind? To what do I pay attention? With what do I become involved? That focus or involvement may be physical, or visual, or even mental.

How many of these things are “worthless”? Are they morally objectionable, wicked or sinful? Maybe they are not directly wrong, but if they do not advance what is excellent then perhaps they are worthless.

As you ponder this truth, the Holy Spirit will bring to mind some trivial things you need to remove from your focus. A way to meditate on good things like this is to allow no other thoughts in your mind as you walk from place to place.

Technical Discussion of Psalm 101:3

A word for word “translation” of the Hebrew might be “Not will I set before my eyes thing worthless.”

Much of what follows comes from the UBS Translators Handbook for Psalm 101

I will focus

The Holy Spirit has David use the Hebrew phrase “I will set before my eyes” three times in the book of Psalms (Psalm 26:3; Psalm 101:3; Psalm 101:7) “I will focus” rewords the Hebrew phrase “I will set my eyes.” It may mean to see physically. But here it is to focus upon or pay attention.

On nothing worthless

My moral code must come from Scripture. I may make this stricter based on the communities in which I live. If I offend my brother-in-Christ by some liberty which scripture allows, then I may limit my freedom to keep from hurting my brother. 1 Corinthians 8:1-10:33 discuss this in detail.

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Psalm 99 – The LORD answers, forgives, and corrects

Psalm 99:8 summarizes a significant Old Testament pattern.

The LORD answers those
That call upon Him
He forgives them
Yet corrects their sin

The LORD does answer when His people call out to Him. Those who cry or call out to him need to see themselves as totally dependent on Him: unable to fix this problem without Him. Sometimes it is sin that has caused their desperate situation. Their cry to the LORD is their repentance. Their repentance brings them forgiveness. To help them avoid that sin in future the LORD may avenge or correct them. He may have used their desperate situation as that correction. Or He may take them through yet another difficult experience to help them learn obedience.

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Luke 7 – The self-righteous still judge / One who was forgiven

In Luke 7:36-39, 48-50 Jesus has dinner with a self-righteous pharisee. The pharisee’s self-righteousness shows in his judgmental attitude toward one of the by-standers. She is a sinner. She showers affection on Jesus. Why? From Luke 7:48 we learn of her earlier forgiveness. Her actions display her response to that forgiveness.

So here we see that –

The self-righteous still judge
One who was forgiven

Some questions we might ask ourselves:

  • Do I ignore or even deny others forgiveness?
  • Do I criticize those who forgive?
  • Do I forgive?

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Luke 7 29-30 is a Side Comment

Luke 7 29-30 is often skipped by the big fat books or they have conflicting things to say about it..

Here are some things about the narrator’s side comment in Luke 7:29-30

  1. It interrupts Jesus’ speech that started in Luke 7:24. This interruption is unexpected. Therefore it is probably important. (A point we learn from Steven Runge’s  discourse analysis.)
  2. It contrasts the reaction to Jesus by two groups based on their acceptance of John’s baptism.
    1. Common people and the despised tax collectors
      1. Acknowledged God’s justice – Accepted the free and easy entry into the kingdom.
      2. Accepted John’s baptism
    2. Pharisees and Mosaic Lawyers
      1. Rejected God’s purpose for themselves – As the spiritual leaders they should have been the first to receive John’s baptism and enter the kingdom
      2. Rejected John’s baptism
  3. “God’s justice” is probably that God made entry, into the kingdom offered by Jesus, available to all. It was not limited to “the righteous,” the wealthy, the “important,” or any other select group. This would show His justice.
  4. This aside probably sets up Luke 7:31-35. It says that no matter what you do, the religious leaders will reject the humble repentance (wise action) called for the by the baptism of John.
  5. It makes the religious leaders the unresponsive children in the market of verse 32 (Luke 7:32)
  6.  Luke 7:33-34 expands this idea
    1. John is like the children who sing the dirge
    2. Jesus is like the children who play the flute
  7. The last line of Jesus’ speech (Luke 7:35) would then mean that common people and tax collectors of Luke 7:29 are the children of wisdom. The Pharisees and Mosaic Lawyers would by contrast be the children of ???? What a sharp but carefully worded correction.

Luke 7 29-30 Summary

I think you need the interruption in Jesus’ speech so that you can understand the rest of Jesus’ speech. Remember that the first readers of this account were probably Romans who would not know these details about the people in Jesus’ audience.

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Luke 7 – Doing godly deeds / May offend some

In Luke 7:13-23 Jesus does the Godly deeds that the Old Testament predicted Messiah would do. However some people, especially the religious leaders take offense. They want others to think that they are the most direct link to God. Jesus does Messianic signs that show that He, a lowly person by material measures, is a much closer link to God. In fact He is the ultimate link to God.

We should do godly deeds

When we do godly deeds today some may take offense. Here are some possible reasons. They feel guilty because they are not the ones doing it. They despise the person to whom you minister and therefore despise you. To name just two.

Do not be surprised when this happens to you. If it happened to Jesus then it can happen to you. See John 15:18-21.

Here is a truth

Doing godly deeds
May offend some

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