Desiring to follow God with all our being and yet failing to do so in the weakness of our flesh, is a reality Jesus rose from the dead to change (Matthew 26:41; Romans 8:11; II Corinthians 5:17). We are grateful for this change, despite it occurring often awfully slow. At times, the change seems impossible to even the sincerest among us.
In addition to our need and earnest desire, in times of weakness, for the Lord re-teaching us the way of His statues*, David reveals another area of REFOCUS , in our REALITY willing spirit but weak flesh.
*(yesterday’s devotion “THE SPIRIT IS WILLING… Teach me, O Lord”)
(Psalms 119:34) Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
When reading “Give me understanding”, we encounter two very important features. David is asking for he discerns a great need, which is not more scrolls with the law written on them, but a deep inward desire to understand God’s heart through what was written; and to be able to use when there were no writings available.
(Psalm 119:9-12) reveals “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
How is it that we can hide the word of God in our heart? We first need understanding and secondly we need to be led by and use the hidden word in practical avenues.
In the first place, to understand does not imply intellectual understanding only. In fact I would argue that understanding the word of God with our brain, is secondary to God revealing its meaning to our hearts; remembering that the natural man does not understand the things of God’s Spirit (I Corinthians 2:14). Also remember that God first reveals His word and will to us in our spirit, then to our soul (rational mind, seat of personality) where submission needs to take place. If we submit within our soul, the will and intellect to understanding it will be worked out in our physical (body) experience.
Where a person is submissive this progression works seamlessly, but when our weakened flesh is holding court, there is difficulty. This is because the understanding David is pleading for is to know what the law means in its fullness and to enabled to discern the appropriate action in each situation we face.
Let’s be honest, humanity often gets the word of God wrong from an intellectual perspective. Consider two portions of the law where this is clearly evident from Jesus own teaching: murder and adultery. In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus reveals the depth of the law concerning murder to be even character assassination. In Matthew 5:27-30 he reveals the depth of the law concerning adultery, to include harboring lustful thoughts concerning persons we are not lawfully wedded to.
Asking for understanding means that what we read and hear of God’s word, is meditated on, until the Holy Spirit reveals to us its depth of meaning and how it relates to our life. To understand also means that I seek to be led by the Holy Spirit in my life and circumstances. This ought to produce prayer that asks the Lord to give us understanding of how to use His revealed truth at the right time and place. This is an area of focus that the church sorely needs in America.
Many people have prim and proper doctrinal bent and even moralistic tendencies. Like the church of Ephesus in Revelation, we stand out as moral crusaders with great ministry programs; but what of the Christ life where it matters most, in the midst of the lost surrounding us daily? The problem is that we have equated right biblical knowledge for having understanding, which is error prone thinking. Understanding comes from communion with God’s Spirit moment by moment (Proverbs 3:5-7) and submitting to His understanding in the moment He gives it.
(Hebrews 5:12-14) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
David’s prayer for understanding of the depth of God’s meaning to His law and the Spirit’s leading us by it, is an area of REFOCUS we need for REVIVAL personally and as a community of saints.
Remember that the law and the prophets hinge on this command… Love the Lord your God with all of YOU and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).
- Begin each day with this prayer and then wait on His understanding. Pray this until you receive understanding or the Holy Spirit releases you.
Father, when you commanded that I love the Lord my God with all of my heart, soul and mind what did you mean? Reveal any area of my life that I love more than You? How can I love my neighbor as you intended?
- As you live daily, for the foreseeable future, keep this reality as a guide to discern how to properly through out the experiences of the day.
Wherever I go and whatever responsibilities I have are a platform to love God with all my heart and my neighbor as myself. May the Holy Spirit lead me to do this.