We either learn by receiving instruction from our teachers, or we learn through practical experience (or we refuse to learn).
When it comes to matters of life and death, it is much wiser to seek guidance and instruction – than for my life to eventually become a cautionary tale of practical experience that was gained “a second too late” because I foolishly insisted on learning only through life’s experiences.
Psalms 119:125 NLT
Give discernment to me, your servant; then I will understand your laws.
עַבְדְּךָ־אָ֥נִי הֲבִינֵ֑נִי וְ֝אֵדְעָ֗ה עֵדֹתֶֽיךָ׃
δοῦλός σού εἰμι ἐγώ συνέτισόν με καὶ γνώσομαι τὰ μαρτύριά σου
The Psalmist calls himself ebed – a slave, a servant, a worshiper of God. This is not so much to point out that we are lowly, but to point out that God is high and lifted up. He is the creator and we are His creation. He deserves our reverence and respect and honor.
The Psalmist asks for biyn – to be taught understanding, to be given instruction, to have knowledge and comprehension of the subject at hand. This is meant to be instruction and teaching focused on the meaning of the words and a fullr understanding of the subject matter. We are meant to meditate upon the scriptures, to examine them closely and deeply for understanding.
The Psalmist hopes for yada – the ability to perceive, discern, recognize, know, and understand. Without time spent in dedicated instruction, few will reach understanding, and none will approach mastery of a subject. The Psalmist is not just seeking enlightenment, but an understanding of how to apply and use what has been taught to him in his daily life.
The Psalmist values edah – and some translations will say things like – laws, rules, statutes, decrees, testimonies, and written instructions. It’s pretty important that we understand what is being said here – so I think we should understand that edah is “always plural and always of laws as divine testimonies”.
You see, in the verse just before this one, the word for statutes is choq –
Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes
And you see, choq means something very different from edah. The word choq means “statute, ordinance, limit, something prescribed, something due.”
So, you see – this section of Psalm 119 from verse 121-128, this division set aside to represent AIN in this, the longest chapter in the Bible – it has an important message to share with us.
You see, when the Psalmist is seeking mercy, when He is convicted of his sin and is seeking mercy – when He is asking to be taught, the law is to Him something that convicts Him, it is a law that shows him his guilt.
But once the Lord gives us salvation, once He shows us mercy, once we know His grace, this gift of the Holy Spirit teaches us. And a wonderful thing happens. This same thing that used to be law that convicted us becomes valuable instruction given to us by divine and holy God.
But this only happens when we value His instruction for what it is – divine instruction and guidance for a purpose driven life serving God.
If we get it twisted and toss away the instruction as worthless “because we have our Jesus ticket”, then we really don’t value God very much at all, do we?
If we get it twisted and use the instruction as a measuring stick to compare ourselves and others, because “they are living in sin” – aren’t you convicting them under the same law you expect to receive as grace and mercy and instruction?
So I have to ask, do I VALUE His divine instruction and guidance? Am I using it in my life today?
This is an important distinction for understanding what a repentant and God seeking life should look like. We should love His instruction and seek ways to grow and apply it in our lives – we should believe it to be truth and valuable wisdom that need to be applied to our every decision.
Yes, this is a bold distinction and separation from being led around by our base desires as a human – but isn’t that the point?
We aren’t supposed to live like Hell if we are children of Heaven. What we chase tells us what we desire. And what we desire betrays the truth of our hearts even if our words and actions before others try to hide it.
And it all comes down to a lack of belief and a lack of trust.
So what can I do? How can I learn to trust? How can I learn to believe?
These things are not taught, they are gifted. They are some of the blessings of refined silver and gold that come from dedicated, honest, surrendered prayer to God. I’m not talking about empty recitations of written prayers. I’m not talking about long prayers listing of many things to God.
What I’m talking about is prayer WITH God, not prayer TO God. Opening up our hearts to our heavenly Father who is Almighty God and King of Kings. You see, real prayer isn’t a ritual. Real prayer is an opening of our heart to God in humble and honest discussion, so that He might pour His wisdom into us, so that He might reveal Himself to us more fully, so that we might know Him. You see, prayer is when we are seated at the feet of our heavenly teacher, hanging onto Him for instruction and clarity and understanding.
So we can apply today’s lesson in our lives by:
1) understanding the value of His instruction
2) seeking to learn from His divine instruction in the Word of God daily
3) trusting in God to teach us and instruct us and guide us through prayer if we will listen instead of just talking
4) dig into our self examination to understand the opportunities we have to see change and growth in our walk today
5) arise, stand upright, and walk it out