As time passes by, words obtain new meanings. When the queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon we read in I Kings 10:2, “And she came to Jerusalem with a great train.” Surely what we call a train today is quite different. So the word prevent, as used in Scripture, has a different meaning from what we have in mind when we use it today. To prevent, for us, is to keep from happening. In Scripture it has the meaning of the two words from which it comes, namely before and come. Thus when in Psalm 119:147, 148 we read, “I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. Mine eyes prevent the night watches that I might meditate in thy word,” a better translation would be, “I came before the dawning of the morning and cried: I hoped in thy word. Mine eyes came before the night watches to meditate in thy word.” The idea is that he filled the day as fully as he could in medita¬ting in God’s word and praying for understanding of God’s law. Our versification has it thus:
At early dawn I prayed,
Thy promises my trust;
At night I thought upon Thy word,
Most holy and most just.
What an example he sets here for us! In serious illnesses and when dangers arise we will pray. We may ask God to bless our food before we eat it and afterward give thanks to Him for it. But how often do we pray for a clearer understanding of what His law requires of us, and what our duty is in the particular present situation in which we find ourselves?
We think that physical exercises are important for our bodies. There are times when we are convinced that we should have a vacation so that we can get from under the strain. But do we consider reading and studying God’s word important? Do we want to see Christ and His blessings more richly? Is our newspaper and are our newscasts more important than God’s word? Do we spend as much time with God’s word as with books and magazines?
Truly we have a great deal to learn from the psalmist.
Read: Matthew 6:19-34
Psalter versification: 339:2
This devotional was written by Rev. Heys and published by the Reformed Book Outlet.