“I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, to You, O Lord, I will sing praises. I will give heed to the way of integrity. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me” (Psalm 101:1-3).
These verses stopped me in my tracks this week and caused me to ponder what these words meant to the Psalmist, hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, and what they mean to us today. To have a better frame of reference as to the meaning of the word worthless, I did some homework. Since the passage was originally written in Hebrew, I searched out the Hebrew definition and then the definition from a modern dictionary. And there I found that the meaning of this adjective is much the same from either source.
Hebrew definitions for the word include, vain, empty, base, futile, stinky, fleeting, and useless. Dictionary.com gives the following definitions, without worth, of no use or importance, and good for nothing. Please bear with me as I play with some thoughts here.
The author of Psalm 101 was David, King of Israel. He lived roughly 1000 years before Christ. That was many centuries before the invention of the printing press, electricity, radio, television, the internet, and Hollywood entertainment. And yet there must have been some things that David recognized were a waste of his time and energy. Now, take a giant leap from his day to ours, where the culture is rife with distractions and time wasters, or as the dictionary states, things without worth, of no use or importance, and good for nothing. O how easy it is to get sucked in by the great time wasters of our age!
Benjamin Franklin said, “Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made out of.” This is right in line with a statement made by the Apostle Paul, he said, “Look carefully how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of your time…” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
This does not mean that we do not need legitimate times of rest, relaxation, and refreshment. But we have elevated these things into an art form. The late English Evangelist, Leonard Ravenhill, one day told me, “America’s epitaph will be, ‘She entertained herself to death!’”
As you re-read the definitions of the word worthless, do any of them describe pursuits or activities with which you are involved? Are you willing to lay the pursuits of your life at God’s feet and ask Him to help you sort out the worthless things? The Psalmist also said, “Search my heart, O God, try me and know my thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). Another Psalmist also prayed, “Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your way” (Psalm 119:37).