“LORD, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient I am. …… And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” (Psalm 39:4,7)
“You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, who remembers You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, we continued in them a long time; and shall we be saved? For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” (Isaiah 64:5-6)
This is my concluding piece on Psalm 39 which started with part 1: my best is a mere breath, and part 2: my worst is also a mere breath. In the last one, I ended with a paradox: that although God is 100% responsible for how we turn out, He also teaches us that we are 100% responsible for how we ourselves turn out. Isn’t that paradoxical and contradictory? How is that reconcilable?
Isaiah 64:5-6 gives us another paradox (which you will see is related in a moment). In 64:6 (as Andy pointed in his comment in my article in part 1), our righteous deeds are all regarded as a filthy garment. Yet, the verses before that indicate that God’s presence meets with one who does righteousness. What is the missing piece of the puzzle there?
Recently, we taught Chase to kiss us good night. Right now he’s consistently doing goodnight kisses. But he has yet to learn the fine art of kissing. While we kiss with our lips, it’s funny that Chase kisses with his head. It was more of a case where he leans his head forward to our cheek than exercising his lips on us. If we were to give a performance grade to him making a kiss, he definitely gets a failing grade on kissing technique. But as his parents, we’re moved beyond measure every time he kisses us. In other words, Chase’s kissing technique is “worth” very little, but his kiss has great “value.”
A rich man may buy a house worth a few million dollars, but the house may not be of much value to him. A poor man scraps his savings together and puts money down on a cheap $10,000 fix-me-upper, but it’s worth more value to him than the few million dollar house to the rich man. “Worth” is measured in the absolute, but “Value” is measured in the referential. Our righteous deeds are worth nothing and less than nothing, but it is of value to God is we love righteousness and does righteous acts.
The Psalmist knows his life is “transient” and nothing of man amounts to any worth. But when he says, “my hope is in You” (which, BTW, always reminds me of Third Day’s song of the same name), he is looking to God to place value on what He’s done, and he waits for God’s vindication and valuation.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this and look to God to put value on who you are and what you do.