--By Lois Lang

 Psalm 17:3...Thou hast tried my heart; Thou has visited me by night; Thou hast tested me and dost find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.

Did you ever buy a nice set of shelving, only to receive a box full of pieces and pocket screws?  (Pocket screws:  those screws you have left over after you assemble the shelves--they probably were supposed to go somewhere in the thing you’ve built, but you just put them in your pocket.)  You set out to build the shelves and follow the directions to the letter.  You are determined to get this right.  Then something doesn’t go quite as the directions and the diagram show.  But you are determined, so you tweak the instructions a bit.  If that doesn’t work, you try something else.  As my husband used to say, “Hit it with a bigger hammer.”  You keep trying, because you are determined.  Without that determination, you would have quit after a try or two and stored the box of pieces in the back corner of the basement.

Or do you make New Year’s resolutions?  Do you pledge to lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more, read your Bible daily?  Few people (for instance, me) keep their resolutions without a backslide or two.

The Psalmist David was determined.  He “purposed” that his mouth would not transgress. Of course, he erred now and then, but because of his determination, he persevered.  If his lip slipped, he sought forgiveness and tried again.  God really loved David, despite his many falls from grace.  God forgave David, helped him back onto his feet, and encouraged him to try again.  David didn’t quit; he “purposed.” 

I thought of David as I bandaged my boo-boos from the shelf project...and I am now the proud owner of a new set of shelves (and only two screws left over)!

Lord, please help us to “purpose” to follow You, to be determined to live our lives according to Your leading and teaching and commandment.  When we fall, You have said we would not be hurled headlong, because You are the One holding our hand (Psalm 37:24).  Please forgive us and help us to try again.  Thank You for Your patience and encouragement.  We pray in the Name of Jesus, who never gave up:  on His mission or on us.  Amen.