Open My Eyes
“Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18).
No one section of scripture—be it Old or New Testaments—pours forth such elaborate, personal, and priceless pieces of divine revelation about the nature of God’s law than does King David in this, by far the longest of all the psalms. His purpose is to honor God and to elevate His Word to the highest level.
In this verse, David exudes excitement as he prays for wisdom—“Open my eyes”—that he may understand the magnificent truths contained in God’s wonderful law. In this request, he is not unlike instruction given to those of us living in the Christian Age: we are to pray for wisdom that we may apply God’s law properly to our lives.
Having been given the revelation is one thing, wonderful indeed; but without proper understanding and wisdom to apply, we can never receive the benefit God intended for us so that we can grow thereby—that is, grow closer to Him and to His Word.
May we join David in expressing a deep appreciation for the gift of God’s Word and in desiring to have our understanding opened so that we can be the Christian God wants us to be and so that we can grow closer to Him, our Heavenly Father.
Goodness of God
“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance” (Romans 2:4).
Hypocrisy is the main topic of discussion as Paul addresses this letter to Roman
Christians, even though the “spill over” from his message is that he has opportunity to teach against many unseemly and immoral practices being committed by his readers.
Near the end of Chapter 1, Paul lists the sins they are condemning the Gentiles for committing. The problem is these Jews are committing the same sins—thus, the hypocrisy. So, he calls upon them to repent, that is, to change their minds about these sins and to stop committing them.
In this case, Paul teaches that the “goodness of God” should lead them to repent. God is Good…totally Good, possessing no imperfections nor shortcomings. Paul says such knowledge, by itself, should cause them, and indeed all people, to be led to do what is right and to seek to live up to God’s example.
We are not God, and we can never be as good as God; however, His example of Goodness should motivate us to strive toward the goal of such Goodness. “The Goodness of God” should lead us to repent.
Get Away from Here
“Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan” (1 Kings 17:3).
Elijah has just delivered his stinging message to the inhabitants of Gilead: there will be no dew nor rain for three and a half years except at his word. Then God tells him to flee, no doubt because of the serious dangers Jezebel and her minions pose for the prophet.
At the time, God is still operating through miracles, and He has every intention of protecting Elijah. Evidently Elijah does not have enough faith to realize how carefully God is going to take care of him. Knowing Elijah’s apprehensions, God gives the prophet the instruction in this verse.
In the Christian Age, God does not tell us verbally to “Get away from here” when we are in spiritual danger. But His word provides clear instruction about how we should live, how we are to commit to His Son wholeheartedly, and how we are to dedicate ourselves to His Cause, that is, through the Church.
Our job, then, is to apply His word to our lives and keep ourselves away from those influences that might weaken us spiritually. Finding ourselves going toward spiritual danger, we listen to the Word as it tells us to “Get Away from Here.”
“The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the faither, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20).
Prophesying during the dark days of Israel during the Babylonia captivity, Ezekiel has the instruction to clarify for God’s people the misapplication of the proverb “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.”
God never intended that this proverb be used for anyone to deflect personal responsibility, especially for sinful behavior. It is true that when fathers sin, their children may suffer as a result; but God has never held children accountable for the sins of their fathers.
Thus, this verse clarifies the need for God’s people at that time to be personally responsible for their own behavior, even during such troublesome times—they could not blame their forefathers.
By establishing the precept that the person who sins shall be accountable for himself, Ezekiel sets forth a principle that would become a foundation for the Gospel Age: we shall all be judged by our own works—we can blame no one else when we fail to measure up to God’s standards (Romans 14:10).
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