As we celebrated Pentecost this past Sunday, we took a look at an important principle found within Psalm 119:130: the unfolding of God’s word brings light. This principle plays heavily into our understanding of Pentecost because the Day of Pentecost was the day on which God’s unfolding word lighted the inauguration of his Kingdom.
Every promise we find in the Old Testament was answered in this Acts 2 inauguration. What the writers of the Old Testament understood was fully comprehended in the time of the Apostles. This is a powerful idea.
This unfolding of light is why we don’t celebrate Pentecost as an opportunity for a new tongues-of-fire experience. God’s word already unfolded for us. It has already given light. The tongues already fell, and God lives with his people. He dwells within us. The promises he made through the ancient prophets were fulfilled on Pentecost and we now live our lives in the light of his fulfilled promise.What the writers of the Old Testament understood was fully comprehended in the time of the Apostles. #pentecost Click To Tweet
Eagerly Desire Spiritual Gifts
Paul told the Romans that if they did not have the Spirit of God then they did not belong to Christ. It’s a beautiful truth that when we surrender to Jesus Christ, we are immediately indwelt by his promised Spirit.
This indwelling is Psalm 119:130, the unfolding of God’s word bringing light. Now I say all that and I want to make sure I also say this—this truth does not mean that God does not empower his people in unique and special ways today. It does not mean that he is not still comforting us and still giving us important gifts for the edification his Church. Scripture tells us to eagerly desire these gifts.
We need the Spirit’s empowering gifts. But we must also understand that when we look at the word of God rightly, we see that God has fulfilled the promises he made. He kept his word and is keeping his word as we move forward in his story.It’s a beautiful truth that when we surrender to Jesus Christ, we are immediately indwelt by his promised Spirit. #pentecost Click To Tweet
Unfolding Light, Answered Promises
When we understand the Psalm 119:130 principle (the unfolding of God’s word gives light), we no longer look at Old Testament passages in confusion. We no longer wonder what the ancient prophets were trying to tell us. We no longer look at Old Testament passages as discombobulated, disconnected texts that somehow are supposed to link together prophetically.
We see there’s so much more to God’s word. These passages practically and prophetically play together. They tie together and together they have been fulfilled. As Dr. Michael Heiser likes to say:
“You don’t quote a verse and get a Messianic profile. You have to build it from the pieces scattered all over the Old Testament.”
In Psalm 22:18 we read, “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” Then we fast forward to Matthew 27:35 and read, “And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots.”
We read these two verses and conclude that they are two sides of the same prophetic coin. But how do we prove it? Well, we could say that Jesus was to experience what David experienced but this does not bear much weight. Why did Jesus have to experience what David experienced?
That answer is found elsewhere. This is where we tap into the Psalm 119:130 principle. The unfolding of God’s word brings light. In Ezekiel 37, we understand what all this was about.
Ezekiel knew that the Christ would be David come to eternally rule. Ezekiel prophesied, “My servant David will be King over them.” But do we see the problem in this line? It was written hundreds of years after David died. What was happening here?
God’s word was unfolding and giving us glimpses into what was to happen. We begin to understand why Jesus endured what David prophesied. David was a type and shadow of the Christ and it was the Christ (not David) who was the fulfillment of Ezekiel. It was the Christ who was God’s fulfilled promise.
My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. Ezekiel 37:24
They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. Ezekiel 37:25
How can David be their prince forever? Because, Christ is the David of whom Ezekiel is speaking.
I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. Ezekiel 37:26
Do we know what this sanctuary is? It is us. The Church of God. We are the sanctuary. We are the assembly. We are the place where God dwells. We are bricks being built together into a Holy temple.
And that is how the Psalm 119:160 principle works. The unfolding of God’s word gives us light. Gives us understanding. If it didn’t, we’d be left in confusion, wondering how to make connections from promise to fulfillment.
The prophetic voices, the prophetic truths, which were declared in the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. They were fulfilled on Pentecost, on the day God’s Kingdom was inaugurated. They are fulfilled in God’s Church as we spread his Kingdom and live to his glory.The prophetic voices, the prophetic truths, which were declared in the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Click To Tweet
God’s Word & Our Obedience
Do we want to understand Pentecost? Then we must understand that God always promised he was going to bless the whole world. When he fulfilled this promise, he fulfilled it through himself. This is a wonderful truth.
Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul observes them. Psalm 119:129
The unfolding of God’s word coming to be true here is amazing. Back in Psalm 119:18, David said, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.” David petitioned God to open his eyes so that he could see God’s word as wonderful. In Psalm 119:129, we see that God answered his prayer.
For us to understand God’s testimonies as wonderful, we must call out to him. We need him to help us understand his word as wonderful.
To get to a place where we can say God’s word is wonderful, we must get on our knees and beseech God to make his testimonies wonderful to us. When we do, we will obey in joy. David said, “Not only are your testimonies wonderful to me, it’s in light of that that my soul observes them.”
We struggle with obedience. The reason we struggle is because we don’t believe God’s commands to be wonderful. We think they’re a buzzkill or just some sort of oppression on our lives.
But God himself told us his word is good and right and pure and true and Holy. His ways are high above ours. His statutes are magnificent. We should glory in his word. His words are right, we are the ones who are off. Because of how wonderful his word is, we should obey it.We struggle with obedience because we don't believe God's commands to be wonderful. We think they're a buzzkill or just some sort of oppression on our lives. Click To Tweet
The Psalm 119 Principles
God’s word gives understanding to the simple. At first glance, the term ‘simple’ might seem derogatory. It is not. Simple is defined as those who would seek in humility, those who are open-minded.
We live in a culture where open-minded means accepting anything and everything that comes down the pike because there are no absolutes. This is foolishness according to the Bible. True open-mindedness is humbly trusting that God’s ways are the only ways. Trusting that God’s ways are right for us.
The unfolding of God’s word gives light (Psalm 119:130) and the sum of God’s word is truth (Psalm 119:160). We need all of it to understand where we are in God’s storyline. What we should recognize is that the sum truth, the unfolding truth, gives light and understanding to those who are humbly seeking.
Again, the reason we don’t look much like our Christ is because we’re not simple. We’re proud. We know what we want to do and it’s our way or the highway.
This is not the Spirit of Jesus. This is not the Spirit of the Scripture. This is the spirit in which David penned the Psalms. Listen to what David said in Psalm 119:131, “I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Your commandments.” And again in Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God.”
David understood that God made a promise long ago to fill his people. So, what did he do? In eager expectation of the promise’s fulfillment, he opened his mouth expecting the God of the universe to fill it.
“I, the Lord, am your God,
Who brought you up from the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10
The command God made in Psalm 81:10 was obeyed by David as seen in Psalm 119:131 and Psalm 42:1. This is the Psalmist, looking at God’s promise and saying, “You promised you would fill my mouth so I’m going to wait here with mouth wide open.”What we should recognize is that the sum truth, the unfolding truth, gives light and understanding to those who are humbly seeking. Click To Tweet
Here’s the question I have for us in our Christian lives: are we waiting for God or are we simply believing that his word will serendipitously flow from us?
But what about when Jesus told his disciples not to prepare their defense beforehand because the spirit would give them wisdom? This simply isn’t the same as never preparing because you think God will talk to you in the moment.
God will help us defend ourselves as far as we know and understand his word. The same Scriptures that say not to prepare a defense also say to be diligent, to study and show ourselves approved, to be ready in season and out of season. Church, we must get into God’s word.
We cannot cross our fingers and hope the Spirit will talk to us when we have never opened the book. Christians who believe it works this way have not lived by the Psalm 119 principles.
David opened his mouth wide and panted. Why? Because he longed for a special revelation filled with warm fuzzies? No, that’s not what he said. He opened his mouth wide and panted for God’s commandments. Where are those commandments found? In the pages of Scripture.
Open your Bible. Know that God will fill you. He made the promise and it’s our job to take action, open our mouths, yearn, and long for him. And to do it with so much anticipation that it is as if we’re thirsty deer panting for streams of water. Sadly, we have not become spiritually thirsty enough to run to the Living Water.
Our minds and our hearts are filled with worldly things. We’re not hungry and thirsty for the word of God. Trust me when I say this: if you’re not panting for God’s word, it’s because you don’t see it as wonderful in the way David did.
What do we do? We do as David did. Ask God to make his word wonderful to us. Be thirsty for it. Wait in eager expectation. Get in the word and live by its truths.Sadly, we have not become spiritually thirsty enough to run to the Living Water. #biblestudy Click To Tweet
Do you struggle with seeing God’s word as wonderful? Are you lacking spiritual thirst? If you are, I’d love to talk it out with you. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.