Reading: Psalm 119
Be good to your servant while I live,
that I may obey your word.
Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.
You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
those who stray from your commands.
Remove from me their scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.
Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.
Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors (NIV).
My wife knows all about my blindness. Actually, it’s a condition that afflicts many men. You see I have difficulty seeing what is right in front of me. She will tell me to get a certain item from the next room, but can I find it? Of course not. Eventually, my longsuffering wife will arrive to point out the obvious. To which I will respond with, “Now, why couldn’t I see that?”
She will then reply with, “Because you’re blind.”
I’m sure domestic scenes like this are repeated in homes all over the world. But something very similar happens when we open our Bibles. We read a passage and though we take it in with our eyes, it seems the words go nowhere. The thoughts expressed by those words do not register on our minds or in our spirits. I’m ashamed to admit there are times when I have read a chapter from the Bible and walked away completely unaware of what I have read. Nothing has registered. The psalmist’s prayer in today’s reading needs to become my own: Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
Unless God opens our eyes when we read His word, we are engaging in an exercise in futility. The Holy Spirit inspired the apostles and prophets to write the Bible, and we urgently need the same Holy Spirit to bring those words alive for us as we read. The god of this world has blinded our eyes. Often God’s truths are veiled. We need the Holy Spirit to remove that veil. Something marvelous happens when that occurs. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3: 18).
Response: Father God, open my eyes and my heart to the truths of your glorious word. Day by day I want to grow in my knowledge and love for you. I need to be transformed by your Spirit. Remove the veil from my eyes. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you regularly read God’s word? Do you sometimes suffer from Bible blindness?
Reading: Psalm 111
Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, |
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever (NIV).
If the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD, what is the end point or objective of this inducement to wisdom? I have often heard it argued that the fear of the LORD, which is frequently extolled in the Old Testament, has little to do with the common meaning for fear. We are to reverence or be in awe of the LORD, not be afraid of Him. To an extent this is true; however, I suspect that we often push this fearless approach to God too far. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah is not toothless. He has claws.
A healthy dose of godly fear can prevent a massive case of sin enslavement and heartache.
The reaction of God’s people when the Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai is well worth noting. When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die” (Exodus 22:18-19).
The very human fear expressed in this Exodus passage went well beyond a sense of awe and wonder. This was knee-buckling, heart-racing fear—the kind of fear that makes us dread doing anything that might offend this all-knowing, all-seeing, holy God. That’s a healthy fear—a fear that helps us to live and walk straight. Why would God want to induce this kind of fear?
God wants us to fear Him because He loves us. He wants to spare us from the agony of the terrible consequences of sin. A healthy fear of God leads us to an awe-induced love for Him. Now that’s wisdom
Response: Father God, help me see your love for me in your commandments. In love, you correct me when I stray. Grant me understanding that comes through a healthy fear and love for you. Amen.
Your Turn: What does fearing God mean to you? Is God your chum, your friend or your master?
Reading: Psalm 110
Of David. A psalm.
The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
Your troops will be willing on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.
The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
He will drink from a brook along the way,
and so he will lift his head high (NIV).
Psalm 110 is perhaps the most messianic psalm in the entire psalter. Jesus made a direct reference to the opening line of this psalm in a discussion he had with the Pharisees in the temple courts during the week of his crucifixion. See Matthew 22:41-46 and Luke 20:41-44.
Jesus asks, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” In response the Pharisees answer, “The son of David.”
But Jesus refutes their answer by quoting from Psalm 110. His answer does not carry the same punch in the English language quote we see in Matthew, because we fail to see the distinction between the first ‘LORD’ and the second ‘Lord’. We see these words as synonymous, but in the original Hebrew they most certainly are not. The first LORD is Yahweh (Jehovah), but the second Lord is Adonai, the Messiah.
Speaking prophetically by the Spirit, David was referring to his Adonai—his Messiah. By quoting this scripture Jesus was affirming his designation by God as the Messiah that the Jewish nation had longed to see. The long wait was over. Jesus the Messiah was standing directly in front of Pharisees who were blind to his presence and his deity.
This Lord or Adonai is also the divinely designated priest who will present his own body as a sacrifice on the cross. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” The writer of the Book of Hebrews has a great deal to say about the priesthood of Melchizedek. He systematically reasons that Jesus is our heaven-sent prophet, priest and king. See Hebrews chapters 6-8.
Response: Father God, thank you for sending Jesus into the world to be my personal Messiah. Jesus, you suffered and died for me. Now extend your reign as conquering king over me and through me. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you bowed your knee before the Messiah King?