How do you come before the Word of God? Do you come to God’s Word from a dry, dutiful approach in order to check it off a list and move on with your day? Do you come to it from a proud, intellectual approach looking with condescension upon the Word of God? How you come before the Word of God will determine what you get out of the Word of God.
In Psalm 119, the psalmist approached God with a sincere desire to keep God’s Word. He says in verse 17: “Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.” He came before God with a sense of desperation. He longed for the spiritual blessing of God, not for his own personal indulgence, but that he may live out and keep the Word of God. The psalmist continued his plea to God to “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (v. 18). The psalmist approached God’s Word with a desire to keep it but also a desire that God would enlighten his eyes to see the “wondrous things” contained therein. The Word of God is filled with treasures innumerable that must be dug out by the prayerful student of Scripture. When we come before God’s Word, this must be our approach. We must come humbly realizing how desperately we need God’s Word to teach us and give us spiritual life. We must come with the realization that God’s Word is a supernatural book, written in a supernatural way, and understood only by a supernatural enlightenment from God. There are some who come to the Word of God from merely an academic viewpoint and fail in their attempt to pull anything out from the Bible. Why? Because they fail to see their need for the Holy Spirit to help them. There are others who fail to dig in and put forth personal exertion in Bible study because they think the Holy Spirit is simply to going to reveal everything to them. We must avoid both of the ditches and realize that we must put forth effort to study God’s Word. No lazy person will get much out of God’s Word. However, even with our mental exertion, we must realize that without the Holy Spirit of God illuminating God’s Word to our hearts, we will never get very far in our understanding of the Bible. We must be like the psalmist and humble ourselves before God asking Him to open our eyes so that we can see wondrous things in His Word! Then, and only then, will the Holy Spirit be your Teacher!
As one commentator said, “In order to keep God’s word, must we not pray to understand it? What then is this prayer? Not – give me a plainer Bible – but open my eyes to know my Bible. Not – show me some new revelations beside the law – but make me behold the wonders of the law.” (Bridges)