We have all experienced the Walmart dilemma. You enter into the massive store full of your city’s most eclectic citizens with the intention of buying one needed item. As the greeter wishes you a good day, you coach yourself that you don’t need anything else except that one item. As you return to your car, you are unaware of how you just spent $50 on drive-by items.
What’s even worse is when you have bags full but have forgotten that one item for which you came. The Walmart dilemma is that you lose focus on what you came for because you are overwhelmed with all the other items clamoring for you attention.
The psalmist is in a similar position. Other gods are present and vying for his worship. The world powers claim they need not to swear their allegiance to the Lord. Circumstances are apparent that distract his focus. So, what does the psalmist pray? He prays for an “undivided mind” in order to fear God’s name (v.11). He is acknowledging the presence of distractions, and he is asking for God’s help to leave the store with solely the one item.
8 Lord, there is no one like You among the gods,
and there are no works like Yours.
9 All the nations You have made
will come and bow down before You, Lord,
and will honor Your name.
10 For You are great and perform wonders;
You alone are God.
11 Teach me Your way, Yahweh,
and I will live by Your truth.
Give me an undivided mind to fear Your name.
12 I will praise You with all my heart, Lord my God,
and will honor Your name forever.
13 For Your faithful love for me is great,
and You deliver my life from the depths of Sheol.
He wants to have one focus. He wants to learn God’s way so he can live by his truth (v. 11). He wants to praise him with his entire being (v. 12). He sincerely desires to live for his God but he is aware that from time to time, he gets distracted.
So, how do we get an undivided mind in order to fear God? We focus on the things provided here in Scripture. We remind ourselves who God is and what God has done (v. 8). Look back over your shoulder at how many times God has shown up for you and be amazed. Remember those times when there seemed to be no way out and the outcome was such that only God could have been responsible (v. 10). Never forget that he saved you from death with his faithful love (v. 13). Don’t let the trinkets of this world distract you from what we came here for. He’s good. Focus on him.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.