Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Teach Me

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in all of Scripture. It's an acrostic psalm, meaning that it follows the Hebrew alphabet in the way that it is written, the way that you might have written a poem for Mother's Day using the word "M-O-T-H-E-R" as a starting point for each line. And it's easy to get lost in this Psalm, the way it just goes on and on and on. What is the Psalmist talking about? What is the point?

But if you take it slowly, look line by line, read it carefully, you'll see that the entire Psalm boils down to simply two things: Teach me, Lord because I love Your Word

That's it. That's all there is to it. Over and over and over again, the psalmist asks the Lord to teach him, to instruct him, to remind him, to guide him. How many ways can you ask the Lord to teach you? The psalmist seems not to run out of them. 

Yet we struggle to grasp even one. 

Think about it - when was the last time you asked God to teach you something? If you're anything like a lot of us, you once asked the Lord to teach you patience and He put you in a spot where you had nothing to do but wait...and you decided never to ask Him to teach you anything ever again. Not if He's going to require you to actually do the thing you're trying to learn because He gives you no other option but to do it. 

Or maybe you think that you already know everything about God that you need to know, so there's not really anything for Him to teach you. You know He is good. You know He is gracious. You know He is love. Isn't that all there is to it? Anything else would be extra credit, bonus material. It's not necessary for your faith; you believe already. If you believe, you don't need to know anything else that would make you believe; it seems entirely unnecessary. So no need to ask for Him to teach you anything. 

Or maybe you think that you should probably know more about God, but you're embarrassed or ashamed that you don't know it already. You don't want to ask Him to teach you because you don't want Him to know that you don't already know it or don't already believe it. You don't want to confess there are things about Him you don't understand. Maybe you even think, perhaps because you've been taught somewhere, that you aren't supposed to understand God. That your faith is supposed to be a leap based on a mystery and asking for anything more certain than that is actually a lack of faith. It shows your weakness. So you're ashamed to ask for more because you've been told that you shouldn't need it.

There are a lot of reasons we don't ask God to teach us anything any more, but the Psalmist shows us plainly how faithful such a request can be. He spends the longest chapter of the entire Bible pleading with God to teach Him - not because he is ignorant, not because he is weak, not because he is uncertain...but because he loves the Word that much. He wants God to teach him as much as He possibly can because he loves God so deeply that he wants to know everything God is willing to share with him. 

Think about that for a second. The palmist loves God so much already, yet he pleads with God to teach him so that he can love Him more. 

That's faith.

That's the way this whole thing is supposed to work. That's the Christian life. That's the holy life. That's the righteous life. 

Teach me, Lord, for I am already so in love with You that I cannot wait to learn more. 

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