Eugene Peterson

Difficult to see

It is difficult to recognize pride as sin when it is held up on every side as a virtue, urged as profitable, and rewarded as an achievement. What is described in Scripture as the basic sin, the sin of taking things into your own hands, being your own god, grabbing what is there while you can get it, is now described as basic wisdom: improve yourself by whatever means you are able; get ahead regardless of the price; take care of me first. For a limited time it works. But at the end the devil has his due. There is damnation.

Commentary from A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Master Work Lessons Bible study, Fall 2020, by Eugene Peterson.

Painful Labor

Here the ‘bread of sorrows’ is food earned with painful labor. Our work creates neither life nor righteousness. Relentless, compulsive work habits, which our society rewards and admires, are seen by the psalmist as a sign of weak faith and assertive pride-as if God could not be trusted to accomplish His will. As if we could rearrange the universe by our own effort. The sovereign intention of God is far more crucial to the outcome than man’s efforts.

What does make a difference is the personal relationships that we create and develop. We learn a name; we start a friendship; we follow up on a smile-or maybe even on a grimace. Nature is profligate with its seeds, scattering them everywhere; a few of them sprout. Out of numerous handshakes and greetings, some germinate and grow into friendship in Christ.

Commentary from Eugene H. Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Masterwork Bible study, Fall 2020, page 13. Also, the John MacArthur study Bible, notes for Psalm 127:2.