Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken me in thy way
- Psalm 119:37
Solomon said, vanity, all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? He said in Ecclesiastes 1:8, “… the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing."
We attribute the topic of vanity to Solomon, yet Job spoke of it, and here is David, his father, speaking clearly of its ramifications, and asking the Lord to turn his eyes away from beholding it.
On December 9 we looked into the deadly topic of Envy. Vanity can lead to envy, as we try to maintain a pointless ‘look’ or lifestyle. It can lead to deceit, guile and moral ruin.
It can also lead to much disappointment, even suicide, when the source of our vanity — our looks, perhaps, wear off, and we are left aged, wrinkled and forgettable. Or our fame is long gone, and we are the only ones with a room full of our own posters, telling stories of how great we were. Vanity has us living a life of desperation or labouring for a vision which is full of air.
On November 28, we read of Job saying that he made a covenant with his eyes that he might not think on a maid. This comment of Job’s told us much about the eye-brain connection of vision and thoughts followed by sin, and here we see David’s deep desire to reject anything to do with vanity or those things which lead to it.
Vanity can make us try to flower in ministry too early in the Lord’s work — attempting to bring about a ministry that the Lord doesn't want, or doesn't want, yet!
In many places the Bible states that vanity is actually one cause of leaving the Lord and chasing idols. In Psalm 94:11, David show us how much vanity is on our minds during a typical day, “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity."
David knew that should he behold vanity for too long, he might just develop a passion for it. His desire was for the Lord to quicken him in the way — to make him alive in the Lord's way.
Jesus said, "I am the way , the truth and the life, and no man cometh unto the father but by me.” (John 14:6)
In Romans 8:19-20, the Lord says that we ‘creatures’ are made subject to vanity. Being humans, we are subject to every alternative attraction in this world, and vanity is one of them. Our job, like David’s, is to become ‘quickened’ in the Way; to become alive in it — to become a living part of it, so much so, that to turn away to vanity would be the furthest thing from our mind.
Today’s prayer: Dear Lord, thank you that David’s desire was to flee from all vanity and seek your way. Please help me do the same as I pray the same prayer, turn away my eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken me in the way.