Friday, October 15, 2010


TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 119:105-120

TO CHEW ON: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105

One of the many ways the writer of Psalm 119 portrays God's word is as a light. It's a good comparison on at least two levels. For if life is a journey, we need illumination for the next step ("Your word is a lamp to my feet") and long-range plans ("And a light to my path").  God's word can show us where to go and how to get there.

God's word as the source of the light of understanding is the another thought this verse holds. Sayings that link light and understanding are common in English.

- We talk about the light dawning on us when we finally get it, comparing our new-found understanding to the sun coming over the horizon at sunrise.

- We say there's a light at the end of the tunnel — a reference to the end of a mining or railway tunnel — when we find a solution to a problem or perceive hope in the situation.

- We talk about considering things in the cold light of day when we reconsider the solution to a problem or issue sometime later, in a calmer, more practical way.

The  idea that God's word is the source of understanding about life runs through the Bible:

  • The "pure" teachings of God's word are enlightenment (Psalm 19:8).
  • "Your words" give understanding to the simple ("Break open your words, let the light shine out, let ordinary people see the meaning" -- Message) (Psalm 119:130).
  • Even its negatives, its don'ts, are illuminating and lead to the "way of life" (Proverbs 6:23).
  • It is the source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6).
  • When times are dark, its promise of better things brightens our situation with hope (2 Peter 2:19).
  • It gives us understanding about success and prosperity (Joshua 1:8).

I ask myself, am I living in the light of God's word — letting its principles inspect my daily actions, trusting its promises for my future? If you've ever tried to walk even a familiar path in complete darkness, you'll know how uncertain and tentative is each step. What a shame if we choose to grope about in the dark of our own understanding, goals, and determination when light is so available.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for your practical and versatile word. Please help me to comprehend its teachings and principles, and to know how to apply them to my everyday living. Amen.

MORE: Wisdom from Psalm 119 - Piper

"Seven Kinds of Prayer to Soak our Bible Reading"

But since our text is Psalm 119:18, "Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law," we should let this psalmist show us how he prays more generally about his reading of the Word of God. So let me close with a little tour of Psalm 119, and show you seven kinds of prayer with which you can soak your Bible reading this year.
We should pray . . .

1. That God would teach us his Word. Psalm 119:12b, "Teach me Your statutes." (See also verses 33, 64b, 66, 68b, 135). True learning of God's Word is only possible if God himself becomes the teacher in and through all other means of teaching. 

2. That God would not hide his Word from us. Psalm 119:19b, "Do not hide Your commandments from me." The Bible warns of the dreadful chastisement or judgment of the Word of God being taken from us (Amos 8:11). (See also verse 43).

3. That God would make us understand his Word. Psalm 119:27, "Make me understand the way of Your precepts" (verses 34, 73b, 144b, 169). Here we ask God to cause us to understand - to do whatever he needs to do to get us to understand his Word.

4. That God would incline our hearts to his Word. Psalm 119:36, "Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to [dishonest] gain." The great problem with us is not primarily our reason, but our will - we are disinclined by nature to read and meditate and memorize the Word. So we must pray for God to incline our wills.

5. That God would give us life to keep his Word. Psalm 119:88, "Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth." He is aware that we need life and energy to give ourselves to the Word and its obedience. So he asks God for this basic need. (See also verse 154b)

6. That God would establish our steps in his Word. Psalm 119:133, "Establish my footsteps in Your word." We are dependent on the Lord not only for understanding and life, but for the performance of the Word. That it would be established in our lives. We cannot do this on our own.

7. That God would seek us when we go astray from his Word. Psalm 119:176, "I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant." It is remarkable that this godly man ends his psalm with a confession of sin and the need for God to come after him and bring him back. This too we must pray again and again."

Excerpt from "Open My Eyes That I Might See" By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

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