Prepare With Prayer

Watercolor Painting by Rosie Barnett Foshee

Watercolor Painting by Rosie Barnett Foshee

The Holy Word of God, the greatest Book of love ever written, is one Book that we prepare for, by bathing ourselves in prayer before opening its pages. In this Book, we find the prayer, “Open Thou Mine Eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy Law” in Psalm 119:18. Each of us should make the prayer of the psalmist as our own personal prayer, as we open the Word of God.

  1. It is possible that David, a man after God’s own heart, expressed this prayer to God. King Saul was threatening to take the life of David, and he fled. And when the news reached his brethren and his father’s house, 400 men in distress, in debt, and discontent, went after David to follow him, and David became their captain. (1 Samuel 22:1,2) David and his army of men went into exile as King Saul sought David’s life. When the Lord delivered him and his men out of the hand of all their enemies, and out of the hand of Saul (2 Samuel 22:1) life became good again.
  2. It is also possible that Ezra, a priest and scribe, wrote Psalm 119. Many of the people of Israel, were stripped of their homes and native land, and went into exile when the Babylonians took them into captivity. Some were left behind and foreigners were brought into the land. Later the Babylonians  were conquered by the Persians, and after 70 years of exile, the Persian ruler allowed the people to return to their homeland. When Ezra brought the second group home, he found the people intermarrying and caught up in idolatry.

This prayer in Psalm 119:18 may have been among the prayers of David or Ezra, as the memories of their exile surfaced in either man’s thoughts. Let’s take a closer look at the words of this prayer in Psalm 119, in the setting of the time that the Psalmist lived, whether he be David or Ezra.

The word Open, in Psalm 119:18, means to denude, to expose, to make bare or naked, to exile. When people are in exile, they are stripped from their families, their clothing, homes, animals; their native land; they lose everything of value to them. The Psalmist is asking God to strip everything from before his eyes. As priest, Ezra’s prayer may also have been on behalf of his people, and if David penned the Psalm, as captain of his army, his prayer may also have been on behalf of his men.

Neither of the men would have been asking God to remove everything of value from their own life or the lives of the people they watched over. The Psalmist realized we do not have the ability within ourselves to see the full revelation of God and how He works wondrously in and through the lives of His people.

Sometimes our love for God brings us to wholeheartedly seek Him, and to pray as the Psalmist. Other times we may be destitute, we may feel we are in bondage, we may be discontent with life, we may be confused about what to believe and Who God is, and this may bring us to our knees to seek Him. God hears our prayers, and opens our eyes to see wondrous things of Him throughout His Word. He wants us to know Him, to know His love for us, and how He works in our lives, in ways that is beyond our abilities to do for ourselves. “But with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

“Open Thou mine eyes,” Let’s look now at Psalm 119 for the reference to God, whom both men loved. Psalm 119:12 “Blessed art Thou, O Lord, teach me Thy statues.” Both men praised God whom they called Lord, (in Hebrew Yehwah, a name that expressed His presence to generation after generation. His presence is everlasting). Both of these men, who lived in different time periods, worshipped and loved the same God, who guided their lives and led them to pen His Words upon their scrolls for an everlasting testament of Himself to future generations.

 Now let’s look at the word behold. This word means to take a good look at, to look at something closely, to study, to search, God told Abraham “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them, so shall thou seed be” Genesis 15:5. We can believe after this statement from God to Abraham, many a night, he was out studying the stars. He couldn’t take his eyes off the night sky. He looked forward to nightfall, to study those stars again and again.

This is what the Word of God is worthy of. It is a book worthy of taking a good look at, to look closely at, to search out, to return to it, whether it be day after day, morning by morning, night by night, to read, study and meditate upon its words. We must make time for God’s Word in the busyness of our lives.

wondrous is a word that means to separate, to distinguish, marvelous acts, extraordinary accomplishments. These are acts of God that only He, having all power, could do, acts beyond the Psalmist’s power, beyond our power. These are acts distinguishable from the works that the Psalmist could carry out, or from works that you and I could carry out.  The word, that Ezra spoke in his prayer, mainly has God as its subject.  These are actions that you and I could never expect to carry out. Although something may seem impossible to us, it is always within God’s power.

In Matthew 19:23-26, Jesus speaking of salvation stated to his disciples, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Law is a word for instructions, statues and teachings, that are of God, that taught man how he was to live his life on earth, as an individual and in a personal relationship with God, how to live together as family and as community, and united together in their relationship with God . The Psalmist viewed the Law as the (TLC) tender loving, caring words of the God he loved.

Let’s look at some excerpts of Psalm 119 where the Psalmist speaks of God and His Law.

  1. Psalm 119:11Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee.” The Psalmist viewed the Law as a treasure that he did not want to forget, he hid it in his heart, it kept him from failing in how he related to the God he loved. The Psalmist treasured the law for what it did for him in his relationship with God. He saw the value and worth of the Law.
  2. Psalm 119:18 “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of The Law.” The Psalmist saw things in the Law that he wanted to get a better look at. He describes them as wondrous, marvelous acts, extra ordinary things that the One he loved accomplished. And he asks God to strip his eyes of anything that would cloud his view. He wanted to see the full pictures of these acts like he had never seen before, things that were beyond the power of man.
  3.  Psalm 119:63I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.” His companions, the ones you would find the Psalmist among,  they reverenced God, they stood in awe of Him, They were of one mind, they lifted God up in their praises of Him, and together they rendered God the respect He was worthy of.

God does not want us to miss out on the wonderful things He unveils or reveals of Himself to us. Throughout the Holy Scriptures, from Genesis through Revelation, God reveals Himself to us as the triune God, God the Father, God the Son,  and God the Holy Spirit.

  1. He is omnipotent (Creator of the heavens and the earth, all-powerful)
  2. omnipresent (everlasting, the eternal God)
  3. omniscient (He authored books over 1600 years to make Himself known to man and His plan for His people throughout the ages, He is all-knowing)

And He wants us to know and to see Him, always wonderful and marvelous things to discover of Him throughout His Word. © Copyright 2015 Rosie Barnett Foshee All Rights Reserved

View of The Great Smoky Mountains in Cades Cove

View of The Great Smoky Mountains in Cades Cove

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