By Wayne Clapp – Associate Pastor
We find in Psalms 119:18 a beautifully simple prayer. It is one that I have repeated frequently before beginning to read or study the scriptures.
My searching of the scriptures always seems more profitable when I do so because it helps me acknowledge God’s participation with me as I enjoy my fellowship with him.
“Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from your law.” Psalms 119:18 KJV
The psalmist could open his eyes. He was not blind. He could see. But is he really talking about physical eyesight?
This is something he felt that he could not do by himself. He needed God’s help. Hence, his prayer was directed to God, “Open Thou mine eyes.”
It’s About Relationship
Exactly for what did he pray? To read the scrolls? No, he could do that. To understand the words? No, he knew what the words meant.
He wanted more out of his time in the scriptures. He wanted a relationship with the Author of the Book!
He wanted to know God’s Word as a personal communication to him-one in which he might see the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that God has for them that love him.
He felt that God had laid up great bounties in His Word, and he asks for power to perceive, appreciate, and enjoy the same.
What we need is not so much that God should give us more blessings, but rather the ability to see and appreciate what He has already given us.
The psalmist asks for no new faculty. He does not desire a “sixth sense.” The eyes are there already, and they need only to be opened. It is our joy and responsibility to use the eyes and God’s delight and responsibility to open them.
It is during our time spent with God in His Word when we begin to learn how God speaks to our hearts. God’s Word expressly declares God’s will and lights our path so we can walk with him.
There is no substitute for being diligent to present ourselves approved unto God as workmen who need not to be ashamed as we rightly divide the Word of truth.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15 KJV
When we know what the Word says, we know what God wants us to do. There is no way to get around the importance of spending time with God in his Word.
If we do not know his Word, we will never know his will, and our attempts at walking by the spirit will be nothing but vain imaginations.
The psalmist’s request here is quite adamant; it’s very forceful. The Hebrew word for open is galah which means to uncover, discover or lay bare, in the sense of looking beyond the garments – the outward appearance – and seeing what is covered up.
Galah is in a piel (intensive) imperative form. The psalmist is not satisfied with a cursory reading; he wants to know the deep things of God.
“But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 KJV
Our eyes have an appetite, and we must be careful what we feed them.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16 KJV
How wonderful to train our eyes to feed upon the wondrous things of God instead of the mundane things of the world.
The psalmist wanted to “behold” the wonderful things of the Word of God. The Hebrew word behold is nabat which has the idea of showing regard for, paying attention to, or looking expectantly at.
It is a hiphil conjugation, which is causative. He wanted God to cause him to understand; he was aware that he could not do it on his own.
The Benefits of Scripture
“Wondrous things” is the Hebrew pala, which means to be marvelous, awe inspiring, extraordinary, and distinguishing by being beyond one’s power to understand completely.
How could the psalmist get so excited about the Word of God? He anticipated the benefit he would receive from it.
There are wondrous things in Scripture, but they can only be seen when our eyes are opened by God. This means that prayer is an important (and often neglected) part of Bible study.
Photo by congerdesign pix
There is so much more to the Word of God than just a surface-reading provides. The psalmist’s heart would settle for nothing less, neither would his eyes be satisfied.
If we ever have trouble reading the Word of God or get bored when doing so, perhaps we should cry like the psalmist, “Open my eyes so I can behold the hidden wonders of your Word.”
Once God begins to do that, we will never get bored with his Word again.