Day 11

I Have Not Forgotten Your Instruction

from the Psalm 119 reading plan

Psalm 119:145-160, Romans 2:12-13, Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

BY Kara Gause

It was the first time I’d ever stood up in front of our church congregation, some fifteen years ago. Alongside our fellow “new members,” my husband and I looked out over the church body we were joining, as our pastor read our favorite Bible verses aloud and introduced us by name. Never one to go first, I listened from the end of the line as one inspirational verse after another was read into the microphone, each one offering another shade of affirmation, encouragement, and faith. But as I listened for the first time to the verses of other new congregants, I felt panic set in: Had I misunderstood the instruction? The sound of my blood pumping in my ears grew louder, nearly drowning out my pastor’s voice completely, until my husband gently squeezed my hand to hear my own “favorite verse” from Scripture:

“There is nothing better for a person than to eat, drink, and enjoy his work.
I have seen that even this is from God’s hand,
because who can eat and who can enjoy life apart from him?” (Ecclesiastes 2:24–25).


In all of Scripture, with its sweeping poetry and prose, that was “my verse”—is my verse, I should say. In that moment of pride, I began to doubt my seemingly simple choice. I was afraid that, out of context, it misrepresented my faith and understanding of the gospel and downplayed my affection for God. I’ve since come to realize just how accurately it still reflects my relationship with Him and the sin that so often distracts me from Him: my heart’s unfortunate tendency to wander.

I’m easily distracted, you see. By work. By striving. By perfectionism of the textbook-definition variety. And when I get caught up in working and worrying, spinning myself into a cycle that pushes God away from the center of my heart’s affections—that’s when He reminds me of what’s true. He gently squeezes my heart in such a way that I’m forced to acknowledge the emptiness I’m feeling, the deep ache I work so hard to numb with the distraction of productivity, when I try to live my life with my gaze affixed on anyone or anything “apart from him” (John 15:5).

The Westminster Shorter Catechism posits that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” In my own walk with God, I’ve tended to focus on the first part, on what it might mean to glorify Him. I’ve twisted the idea of bearing His image into a works-based, legalistic, shallow religion that has very little to do with my God.

But to enjoy Him. To be satisfied in Him. To delight in His Word. To stop and savor His provision and the work He’s called me to, not just for what they might become in the future, but for what they are today—well, that sings of enjoying relationship with my very relational God, the one who is ready to answer when we call out to Him, when we seek Him with all our heart (Psalm 119:145). His Word is a very precious gift that instructs us on how to best live this life He’s given us (v.153). And it is clear: in knowing Him, being in His presence, there is abundant joy and eternal pleasure. But apart from Him, we will never be satisfied (Psalm 16:11). This is the instruction my wandering heart so desperately needs.

Post Comments (40)

40 thoughts on "I Have Not Forgotten Your Instruction"

  1. Amy E says:

    “And when I get caught up in working and worrying, spinning myself into a cycle that pushes God away from the center of my heart’s affections—that’s when He reminds me of what’s true. He gently squeezes my heart in such a way that I’m forced to acknowledge the emptiness I’m feeling..”

    This hit home tonight. It’s such a simple truth, and yet I find myself needing this gentle reminder so often it seems. Thank you Jesus for always reminding me of what’s true. Your love for me is matchless. Your glory beyond compare. Praise you God for all your goodness and mercy. May I strive to seek you and your presence through the Holy Spirit each day without exception or distraction. Amen

  2. Dionne says:

    Reading everyone’s posts have me feeling hopeful that we are in this together. We are all praying and asking God to keep our wandering hearts on him. Through him will we find satisfaction, peace, joy, and hope. All the things we strive for on a daily basis and look for from things or people who distract us.

    I wake up several times throughout the night to get my daughter back to sleep, we’re currently trying to help her sleep through the night and without the help of a bottle. In those times I’ve been praying more and more. I talk to God, especially when my heart is feeling particularly heavy. I’ve noticed now more than ever that in doing this I feel peace, connection, hope, and security.

    With everything going on in the world these days, I felt it extremely necessary to pick up and start my journey (I’ve always known God to be God, I’ve always prayed, and believed. But for the longest time I’ve been distracted, with God at the back of my mind) to be closer and walk this path he has for me, for all of us. I felt it in my heart this need to better seek him and follow in his word.

  3. Rhonda J. says:

    Prone to wander, Lord I feel it….one of my favorite hymnals! I had to youtube it to hear it and sing it!

  4. Dorothy says:

    I needed this devotional today. I strayed form the devotionals for several days now and have finally got caught up. Kara spoke to me and so did the scripture. I will be reading everyday again because I noticed what a difference it makes in my life.
    Glory B. thanks for the encouragement but part of it has to do when I can arrange to get off. I am a private duty nurse for a little almost 5 year old girl who needs a lot of assistance. She can’t walk on her own and she has no bowel or bladder control.
    Cara P. you are definitely in my prays. I do know what it is like to lose a child suddenly but not to violence like you did. My son drowned, it will be 17 years the end of this month.

  5. Sarah D. says:

    Throughout Psalm 119, I have constantly been seeing the theme of “I will obey your statutes”, “your word is completely pure”, “the entirety of your word is truth”, “your word is a lamp for my feet”, and so much more. Just this one chapter in Psalms repeats over and over again the truth and authority of Scripture. Unfortunately, my sister and her husband believe in picking and choosing out of the Bible what they agree with. But as a Christian influencer I follow said, by cherry picking parts you like and don’t like, you twist the Gospel and end up creating your own religion all together. You don’t believe in God, but in yourself. Praying that I would be able to show this to them and that God would soften their hearts and open their eyes to the REAL, unshakable truth of the Bible.

  6. Rachel Reekers says:

    So I’ve recently become familiar with the musical Hamilton and the lines from one of the songs played through my mind while reading this morning “you will never be satisfied”. I often strive to find satisfaction in the world forgetting that true contentment and satisfaction are found the beautiful grace of God and his wonderful words. The cry of my heart is to find satisfaction in him. The world and all it’s pleasure alone will never satisfy. He alone is the supplier of enjoyment and satisfaction.

  7. Maura says:

    I appreciate all of your comments. I have been thankful sometimes in the very early morning 2 am or 3 am whenI cannot sleep that SRT is already posted and I can fix my eyes on Jesus and let the restless thoughts fall away. I too will pray for those God beings to mind and for His peace to wash over me. He does hold us in loving and Everlasting Arms. May we all know and feel them holding us this day. Hugs Sisters!

  8. Lindsay C. says:

    My husband and I have been wanting to move forward in some areas of our life for a while now. We have taken many small steps forward (doing the next right thing as they say) and so far no paths have been cleared. We aren’t hearing any confirmations from the Lord and I definitely related to the psalmist today as he cried out- answer me, save me, help me, hear me, rescue me, redeem me, give me life!

    What a comfort Kara’s words were, and a needed reminder. Enjoy Him, be satisfied in Him, delight in His Word- for what they are today. I have no idea what my future holds or why God is stationing us here for what feels like so long, but I can trust that His presence is enough. There is abundant joy in that alone. Help me to remember Lord and give me eyes to see. Amen.

    1. Violetta Reum says:

      Amen, Lindsay! I have been in your place and I pray with you. It’s so hard to not see what the future holds but may you still have peace and delight in the everyday!

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