Psalm 119:17-24: Open My Eyes
June 3, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
1 Kings 4-5, Psalm 119:17-24, Luke 1:39-56, Ephesians 2:1-10
One of the primary mistakes that we tend to make when we think of studying God’s Word is to under-emphasize its supernatural quality. That is, we treat the Bible too much as a puzzle to interpret by our own strength, instead of doing the truly hard work of asking God to show us its meaning. There is no replacement for knee work if we are to do Bible work, no alternative but to ask God to speak to us through his Word if we wish to hear what he has to say.
Yet so often we go along readily enough through a passage of the Bible as if it is merely a text book or a blog, and not something that is a voice from heaven to us, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. The first part of this psalm expresses this prayerful desire to hear from God through his Word. Most famously, the psalmist says:
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (119:18).
Would you pray that today? Would you ask God to speak to you each day before you start to read the Bible? If you are preparing a talk or a lecture or a sermon from the Bible, would you first ask God to open your eyes? Look how passionate the psalmist is, and how in earnest he is, to really hear what it is that God wants to say:
“My soul is consumed with longing for your rules [or your just decrees] at all times” (119:20).
That is the kind of desire we need if we are to hear from God through the Bible! Would you cry out to God that you might hear what he has to say to you, that the Bible would be an open book to you, that it would make sense and speak to you?
The second half of the psalm appeals to God to protect the psalmist who is receiving criticisms or attacks for taking the Bible so seriously. “Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies” (119:22). It is not uncommon for the person who is passionate about the Bible to be criticized for that longing and that desire. “Don’t take it all so seriously,” some will say! “Calm down, relax; stop trying to understand the Bible!” Sometimes the criticisms can become more serious and may be from those in power or authority over you: “Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes” (119:23). What a commitment!
Could you make that commitment today—especially if you are receiving opposition from authorities, from government, or from university administration for your stance about the Bible—to stick to the Bible and continue to read it and study it, whatever “princes” may say?
Sometimes the opposition is subtler. Some come to give you advice or counsel you to calm down, to believe differently from the Bible. But the psalmist will stick to what God says in his Word:
“Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors” (119:24).
So today ask God to speak to you from his Word. And then ask God to help you stick to his Word, whatever anyone else says.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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