It is easy for us to approach the Bible with a distracted mind in an age of endless distractions. We read God’s Word, but our soul is not engaged. We see the words on the page with our eyes, but nothing is driven into our dull heart. Nothing thrills our soul anymore. The same old truths that we hear each week have become old to us. What do we do when we find ourselves in that situation? We must do the hard work of prayer. Pray to God for the help of the Spirit of God in our devotional time. What do we pray for? Get on your knees and pray Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”
If there is one chapter in the entire Bible that is saturated with the centrality of the Word of God in everyday life, it is Psalm 119. In this Psalm, we see that the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to guide us and sanctify us. The people of God are identified as men and women, boys, and girls, who love the Word of God. But the Christian life is full of different experiences. During some seasons, your soul feels replenished and well nurtured. Other times, your Christian life feels like a long wilderness experience.
In this article, I want to address those who are currently walking through the wilderness. I hope to offer some source of encouragement for you through a brief devotional on Psalm 119:18. Charles Bridges writes: “In order to keep God’s Word, we must pray to understand it. What then is our prayer? Not – give me a more plain Bible – but open my eyes to know my Bible.”
The Unashamed Request:
Do you see the unashamed request of the Psalmist? The psalmist is weary. He is tired. He feels spiritually dry. What does he pray for? He cries out: “Open my eyes” (v.18). We need God to open our eyes if we are to be impacted by the Word of God. In Ephesians 1:17, the apostle Paul pleads the following prayer for the Ephesian believers: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him.” The Spirit of God is the Spirit of wisdom and of the revelation of God. There are mind-stretching truths in the Bible. If we are going to understand the Bible, God must open our eyes. In Ephesians 1:18-19, Paul then shows us the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believer: “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe”
Do you long to know with greater certainty the hope to which he has called you? Pray that the Spirit would enlighten the eyes of your heart. Do you long to know more fully the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints? Pray that the Spirit would enlighten the eyes of your heart. Do you long to know the immeasurable greatness of his power towards us who believe? Pray that the Spirit would enlighten the eyes of your heart.
Now, contextually speaking, why does the Psalmist ask God to open his eyes? What purpose does the Psalmist give? The purpose statement can be located by finding the word “that” in verse 18. Look again at Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” In other words, the Psalmist is praying that God would open his eyes so that he may behold the wondrous things out of God’s Word. Do you know the wondrous things in God’s Word? Maybe we could explain it well on a seminary term paper. Maybe you could explain it quite exceptionally to an unbeliever. But does the Word of God truly stir your soul? Why is it so wonderful? It is because it displays the beauty of God in the face of Jesus Christ. One glimpse of Christ by faith should overwhelm your soul. The apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesian believers would come to know deeply “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). My knowledge of Christ and his glory is far too little. I need to get on my knees each day and pray with the Psalmist that God would have mercy on me and open my eyes, with the great end of seeing His glory displayed upon each page of the Scriptures.
If we are going to comprehend God’s love for us in Christ more fully, then we need to pray for help. We do not just want to acquire head knowledge and a few books on the shelves. We want to encounter God in his Word. We want to behold the wonderful things out of his law. We want to see and know the surpassing worth of Jesus Christ (Philip. 3). As you continue to make your way through the Bible this year, have Psalm 119:18 at your fingertips each day. Use this text as a prayer for your own Bible reading. When each page turns, may this text be your prayer: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”