By David Faust
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in God’s Word. Appropriately enough, the theme of the chapter is praising God for his revealed truth. Located at the heart of the Bible, it reminds us to treasure the Bible in our hearts. This remarkable portion of Scripture is an acrostic poem divided into eight-verse sections, and each section begins with a different letter of the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet (in consecutive order).
Quickly scan the chapter and you will notice the repeated use of terms that highlight God’s commands, precepts, promises, laws, ways, words, and decrees. One of those words appears in all but five of the chapter’s 176 verses, with verses 84, 90, 121, 122, and 132 as the only exceptions.
Psalm 119 includes well-known passages like these: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (v. 11). “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (v. 89). “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (v. 103). “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (v. 105).
A Simple Prayer
Verse 18 contains this prayer: “Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.” Wouldn’t that be a fitting prayer to offer up every time we open up the Bible for personal study? Wouldn’t those be good words for everyone in the congregation to utter silently to the Lord as the preacher stands up to begin his message in church?
Every time we are exposed to the teaching of the Bible, we should ask the Lord to help us discover “wonderful things” he has revealed through this remarkable book. No matter how many times we read it, the Bible holds new treasures to be discovered and new insights to be applied. Even the familiar lessons of Scripture can find fresh application as we move through different seasons of life as followers of Christ.
The Need for Fresh Eyes
We should pray for God to open our eyes and give us fresh insight because our vision tends to become clouded. What keeps us from seeing wonderful things in God’s Word?
Neglect. Bible reading gets crowded out by work, entertainment, and other pursuits.
Familiarity. Unless we make a deliberate effort to stay fresh, we can become numb and spiritually callused after hearing the same Bible stories and teachings over and over again.
Pride. Why seek God’s wisdom when we would rather do things our own way?
Presuppositions. Sometimes we fail to discover helpful insights in God’s Word because our minds are already made up. Instead of allowing our view of Scripture to be tainted by human opinions and denominational biases, we should simply let the Word speak for itself.
Laziness. To get the most from Bible study, we need to invest time and mental energy in the process. Just as with physical fitness, spiritual growth requires diligent effort.
God’s Word is like an ocean. There’s beauty to behold even if you just walk along the beach and stick your toe in the water; but if you wade farther in, you will discover unfathomable wonders in the depths. And you will agree with the prayer to God found in Psalm 119:35: “Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.”
1. What do you enjoy about reading the Bible? Would you rather read it for yourself, or hear someone else explain it? Why?
2. What “wonderful things” have you discovered in God’s Word recently?
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of the Lookout.
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of THE LOOKOUT.
THELOOKOUT’s Bible Reading Plan for June 3, 2012
1 Kings 4, 5
1 Kings 6, 7
1 Kings 8
1 Kings 9, 10
1 Kings 11
1 Kings 12