January 17, 2020

Discernment to Understand God's Word

Psalm 119:121-128

Give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

—  Psalm 119:125

In this section of Psalm 119 we find some of the most memorable words in the entire psalm, as the writer declares that he loves God’s Word “more than gold, more than pure gold.” But if we lift this beautiful confession out of its context, we miss a more subtle truth in these verses: the psalmist’s plea to understand God’s Word.

In declaring how he treasures God’s Word, the psalmist isn’t merely offering a beautiful senti­ment. He offers this like evidence in a court of law, as if he is testifying like a plaintiff. Because he loves God’s words above all else and seeks to follow them, God should rescue him from his oppressors.

Knowing that we tend to see only our own point of view and that we often fall short, most of us would hesitate to put God on trial in a way like this. Nevertheless, we can learn from the psalmist’s request. He acknowledges his need for help in understanding God’s precious Word.

Though we may not all dare to call God to account in pleading for his help, we all need guidance in discerning the truth of God’s Word. We hear God’s voice most clearly when we ask him to remove our distractions and reveal himself and his will to us.

And when God does speak to us through his Word—as he certainly will—we must apply God’s teaching to our daily lives.

Teach us your Word, Lord, and help us to love your commands more than pure gold or anything else. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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