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Psalms 24:4

by Stanley Hasegawa  
10/28/2009 / Bible Studies

He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. (Psalms 24:4 NIV)

I suppose Psalms 24:4 is best translated something like the NIV translation above. However, the literal translation of "who does not lift up his soul to an idol" really speaks to my heart. The literal meaning in Hebrew is "who does not lift up for emptiness my life."

Here is the translators' note from the Net Bible:
Heb "who does not lift up for emptiness my life." The first person pronoun on "nafshiy," (my life) makes little sense here; many medieval Hebrew mss support the ancient versions in reading a third person pronoun "his." The idiom "lift the life" here means to "long for" or "desire strongly." In this context (note the reference to an oath in the following line) "emptiness" probably refers to speech (see Ps 12:2).

If my life is like a jar of clay, I want to be one who does not lift up for emptiness, my jar of clay. I want to lift up for fullness my jar of clay. By itself, my life is just a container it is just common clay, baked mud. My jar-of-clay-life does not impart value to its contents any more than a glass bottle imparts value to a fine wine. The idea of lifting up my jar-of-clay-life for the sake of worldly emptiness - that really speaks to me of what I am tempted to do instead of lifting up my jar-of-clay-life to God (worshipping God with my whole life). I don't want to fill myself with worldly emptiness according to my will and my own efforts. I want God to fill me with ALL his fullness according to his will and his power. "All the fullness of God" - that's worth lifting up (as in presenting as a sacrifice) my jar of baked mud for.

"and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:19)

"till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:13 NKJV)

"But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)

"Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice alive, holy, and pleasing to God which is your reasonable service.
(Romans 12:1)

I am richly blessed in my marriage. I have two grown children. I am semi-retired. I have been a computer programmer, systems analyst, househusband and homeschool teacher. I love to walk, talk and eat, and write short articles about devoting our lives to Jesus.

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