In Bible study this week, we will be discussing Psalm 119, that longest chapter of the Bible that extols the benefits and blessings of knowing and obeying and delighting in the Word of God. In my preparation, I’ve been greatly encouraged by reading a couple of John Piper’s sermons on the psalm, most specifically verse 18:
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law
In his sermon Open My Eyes that I May See, Piper reminds us of three wonderful truths gleaned from this verse:
1. There are wonderful things in the Word of God, things that transform us and sustain us and empower us and compel us. Things sufficient for life and godliness and for victory over sin. There in His Word we the glory and beauty and surpassing greatness of God and His Son.
2. We cannot see these wonderful things without God’s supernatural enabling. I am guilty and fallen and corrupt and ignorant and blind apart from God’s saving, illuminating work. Piper says “The point of teaching this and knowing this is to make us desperate for God and hungry for God, and to set us to pleading and crying out to God for his help in reading the Bible.” Oh, yes, I am desperate. How I need Him.
3. We must pray and ask God to open our eyes to see. Since we cannot see without His gracious illumination, we must ask Him for it!
So, then, we desperately need His Spirit to teach us and to help us in our weakness, opening our eyes so that we may see the glorious truths of His Word. Piper goes on to say, “if we would stay alive in God and be real and authentic and intense in our love for him, we must be desperate to have this enabling every day. So pray, pray, pray.” If we would see Christ, we must pray. Yet where do we look to see Him? In the Bible. Where is Christ revealed? In the Word of God. We do not seek the kind of vision only God grants in order to gain some new sort of revelation. We need only to look into God’s living Word, the Bible. We need eyes to see what God has revealed to us in His Word!
Borrowing Piper’s points once more, this from his follow up sermon Wonderful Things from Your Word, if we would press on to the deeper things of the Lord, earnestly seeking Him with a wholehearted determination and devotion, we must not only pray, but pray and read the Word, pray and study, pray and think, and pray and ransack. Proverbs 2:1-6 states:
My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding
I love Piper’s point that if there are hidden treasures, act like it! Seek the knowledge of the Lord with a singleminded intensity! Let us ransack His Word, inclining our hearts, crying out, seeking, searching, confident in His promise that those who seek Him will surely find Him. What treasure!
True confessions: I want to be a better student of God’s Word. I want that kind of ransacking, passionate pursuit. I want to memorize and meditate and know and read and study and delight in the Word of God. I love God’s Word, I do; I want to love it more. I want Psalm 119 to be my prayer and my testimony. For quite some time, I’ve wanted to be more disciplined in Scripture memorization, specifically in terms of memorizing longer passages of the Bible.
It seems I’m always late to a good bandwagon, but now that all the original participants have completed their Scripture memory journey, I’ve decided to embark on the Partnering to Remember project, an organized approach to memorizing the entire book of Philippians. Yeah, the whole thing. Want to join me? You can find out more here.
May the Lord grant us a hunger and a thirst for His Word! May we say with confidence: I have stored up your word in my heart that I may not sin against you; in the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches! You, O Lord, are the treasure of my life! Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your Word!