I seem to be stuck on a theme of understanding and knowledge as it relates to God’s Word. I suppose there are worse things to ponder.
It is always hard to put the 119th psalm in context because it does not follow the pattern of most other books and Chapters written in the bible. An overarching theme might be “The delight, meditation and prayer upon God’s Law” (word, precepts etc.).
The following two commentaries give a good overview unto this psalm:
The wonders of redeeming love will fix the heart in adoration of them. The Scriptures show us what we were, what we are, and what we shall be. They show us the mercy and the justice of the Lord, the joys of heaven, and the pains of hell. Thus they give to the simple, in a few days, understanding of those matters, which philosophers for ages sought in vain. The believer, wearied with the cares of life and his conflicts with sin, pants for the consolations conveyed to him by means of the sacred word. And every one may pray, Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. We must beg that the Holy Spirit would order our steps. The dominion of sin is to be dreaded and prayed against by every one. The oppression of men is often more than flesh and blood can bear; and He who knoweth our frame, will not refuse to remove it in answer to the prayers of his people. Whatever obscurity may appear as to the faith of the Old Testament believers, their confidence at the throne of grace can only be explained by their having obtained more distinct views of gospel privileges, through the sacrifices and services of their law, than is generally imagined. Go to the same place, plead the name and merits of Jesus, and you will not, you cannot plead in vain. Commonly, where there is a gracious heart, there is a weeping eye. Accept, O Lord, the tears our blessed Redeemer shed in the days of his flesh, for us who should weep for our brethren or ourselves.
The entrance- I must admit this is one instance where my loved KJV has a poor rendering, especially for modern understanding. But if we consider that most biblical entrances refer to pulling back a curtain to reveal something, it makes a little more sense. Most modern versions render it “unfolding” some “the revelation” and still others “the teaching”
of thy words – What is it that requires this revelation, the pulling back of the curtain from God? His Words, here meaning in context of the Psalm all His precepts and laws.
giveth light; – –Condensed from Thomas Manton
- — Light. This “light” hath excellent properties.
- It is lux manifestans, it manifests itself and all things else. How do I see the sun, but by the sun, by its own light? How do I know the Scripture to be the word of God, but by the light that shineth in it, commending itself to my conscience! So it manifests all things else; it layeth open all frauds and impostures of Satan, the vanity of worldly things, the deceits of the heart, the odiousness of sin.
- It is lux dirigens, a directing light, that we may see our way and work. As the sun lighteth man to his labour, so doth this direct us in all our conditions: Ps 119:
- It directs us how to manage ourselves in all conditions.
- It is lux vivificans, a quickening light. “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”: Joh 8:
- “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light”: Eph 5:
- That light was the life of men: so is this spiritual life; it not only discovereth the object, but helpeth the faculty, filleth the soul with life and strength.
- It is lux exhilarans, a comforting, refreshing, cheering light; and that in two respects.
- Because it presents us with excellent grounds of comfort.
- Because it is a soul satisfying light.
it giveth understanding – Man in his natural sinful state can not understand the need or reason for the word of God 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 for they have been blinded to the truth.
unto the simple – Note that the Psalmist does not say to the wise or worthy but to the simple. By simple it is meant to mean those who are child like in their understanding and desire to learn. The proud and wise think they know it all, but the child will drive you crazy with questions like how come, why and are we there yet :).
God does not and will not reveal the knowledge and understanding of His word to the Pharisees and Scribes of this day. There are many in the church who have brain knowledge and no heart knowledge, they know about God and know nothing of God. They remain in the darkness.
God’s word is a light, it reveals to us the knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Saviour our Father Creator we only need pray and ask God to pull back the curtain and share His Understanding by Light.