“My Soul Clings to the Dust”

Psalm 119:1-32

Have you ever wondered what dust actually is? Magnify it 22 million times, and you’ll find a terrifying landscape: great ropes of hair, menacing dust mites, bits of dead insects, clothing fibers, pollen grains, and sloughed off skin cells, among other things. It’s enough to make anyone get out the vacuum.

Yet hear today’s psalmist. He’s consumed with being as faithful to God as God is faithful to him. But still he writes, My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to your word (v. 25). I’m with you, psalmist! I try to be faithful but distract me or stress me and see what happens. I cling to the dust, ideas I thought I’d sloughed off, habits I thought I’d shed, bits of bad theology I picked up along the way.

Those old ideas that used to rule our lives can linger in the shadows. I find myself guarding what’s mine, afraid there won’t be enough to share. I won’t say no to new projects when I should, forgetting that my value doesn’t depend on how much I produce. I try to earn God’s love when I’m already soaked in it. I thought these ideas were dead to me. Yet I reach for them.

Maybe the psalmist himself has the answer. My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to your word. We cannot be faithful on our own. We need to ask God to help us. Our faithfulness to God is a project between the two of us, not a solitary endeavor. Revive us, God. Wipe away our dead ideas, the impulses that pollute our lives. We need God’s help, even in being faithful to God.


What old ideas linger in the dust of your faith?


Dear God, I want to be faithful to you. Help me let go of anything that won’t bring me closer to you. Revive me, God. Amen.

This post originally appeared in Reflections: Daily Devotional Guide volume 31.3.

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