Unfolding Light – Part 3

Continuing our study in Psalm 119, we will finish up our Unfolding Light series by looking at the five final verses within the Pe section of this acrostic psalm.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,

After Your manner with those who love Your name.

Establish my footsteps in Your word,

And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.

Redeem me from the oppression of man,

That I may keep Your precepts.

Make Your face shine upon Your servant,

And teach me Your statutes.

My eyes shed streams of water,

Because they do not keep Your law. Psalm 119:132-136

Grace of God

I want you to hear something in Psalm 119:132 because it is a strange verse and can get a bit convoluted depending on which translation you are using. Let us interpret it together. The NASB says, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, after Your manner with those who love Your name.” David is saying, “God, I want you to turn to me and be gracious to me. I am asking for grace. I am calling out for grace.” This type of prayer is a sign of humility. Grace is not owed to anybody, but it is promised to some.

What do I mean by this? I am not espousing an obscure idea. Let us look at the second half of the verse. “Turn to me and be gracious to me, after Your manner with those who love your name.”

This verse tells us that the manner of God is to show grace to those who love his name. David is declaring something important through this verse. He is saying, “I love your name, Lord. I love you, your word, your truth.” Do you see that this is the only verse within these eight verses that replaces the terms word, understanding, laws, commandment with your name?

In David’s mind God was his name was his word was his action. God’s name is who he is and how he acts. Everything is the same.

David called out to God saying, “be gracious to me.” David does not say, “you owe me.” He knew that nobody was owed grace. It is unmerited. But he also knew that it was nonetheless given to some. To whom? To those who love the name of the Lord.

This is what drives David to say, “I love you, Lord. I know that you are gracious to those who love you. So, please give me grace.” This is important for us as we live out our Christian journey day by day. We need to know that if we love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength that even though God doesn’t owe us grace, he has promised it to us. We can call out to him for his mercy and his grace.

#Psalm 119:132 tells us that the manner of God is to show grace to those who love his name. Click To Tweet

Man’s Plans, God’s Guidance

Establish my footsteps in Your word,

And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. Psalm 119:133

Let us look at this idea of God establishing our footsteps in his word. The Bible says, “The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” What we have come to believe this means is that though we make a plan, God is somehow pulling our puppet strings and making us step to the right or the left.

We have gotten it wrong. God is not pulling our strings. He has given us a mind, intellect, and common sense along with the ability to study his word. This verse is telling us that we can make a plan and God is okay with that. God ordains our steps through his word.

Through his word, God teaches us how to walk. Therefore, as we carry out a plan that we have made, we do so in honor of him, in obedience to him, and to his glory.

Sometimes we make things too spiritual. Other times we leave off too much of the spirit. But, in this case, we have over-spiritualized this idea. We make plans and then expect God to be our cosmic puppet master, guiding us to the right or to the left through the spirit.

No, that is not how it works. Man makes his plans. God ordains his steps through his word. Therefore, David said, “Establish my footsteps in your word.” The word will show us what we are supposed to do. The word will teach us how to take the next step.

We make plans and then expect God to be our cosmic puppet master, guiding us to the right or to the left through the spirit. Click To Tweet

Man’s Responsibility

After David asks for God to establish his steps in the word, he cried out with, “and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalm 119:133

Does this cry negate man’s responsibility for his own actions? Of course not. David is simply giving us the hints of something Jesus would later teach us to pray. “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

What do we mean by lead us not into temptation? Is God waiting to lead us? The point is that we are crying out to God and asking not to be put in a testing situation. But even if we do face temptation or a testing situation, we have a promise from God that says in every temptation, he will provide a way out.

If we end up succumbing to the temptation, if we end up sinning, it was not because God allowed iniquity to overcome. No, he was faithful to provide a way out. He answered our prayer. But we must obey him. We must still put our trust in his way out.

So, what David was saying is, “I’ve made my plan, but I need you to teach me how to walk. And as I am walking out my plan, don’t let any iniquity have dominion over me.” We need God’s help in defeating sin, Church. We have been given everything we need pertaining to life and godliness according to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, but we also need the spirit of God as he emboldens us and empowers us and teaches us to walk free from sin.

We also need one another. We need accountability, iron sharpening iron. This is what God established in his word.

Oppression & Obedience

Redeem me from the oppression of man,

That I may keep Your precepts. Psalm 119:134

What is David saying and what is David not saying? David is not saying that it is impossible to obey God when you are being oppressed. What was he being kept from because of oppression in his life? He was being kept from many of the laws, including sacrifices to God.

David was saying that as he continued to be oppressed by people who claimed the name of God (the Israelites), he was not able to keep the Lord’s precepts. He was asking God to bring an end to the oppression.

We find ourselves in a similar situation right now in that we feel as though this pandemic is an oppression that is preventing us from keeping the precepts of God (e.g., coming together and honoring God).

Remember, God did not hold David as guilty in this. David did not view himself as guilty. He had a reason he could not keep God’s precepts, but he did not complain about it. Instead, he cried out to God for help and redemption.

Make Your face shine upon Your servant,

And teach me Your statutes. Psalm 119:135

Many of us are familiar with Numbers 6:25, “The Lord make his face shine on you, and be gracious to you;” David understood this blessing as a part of how he moved forward. And teach me Your statutes. Why did David want God to teach him his statutes? Because he wanted to walk in them. Because though he had made a plan, he also needed to be taught how to walk.

My eyes shed streams of water,

Because they do not keep Your law. Psalm 119:136

Let’s tie this into the larger picture. First, we saw that God’s testimonies are wonderful. Therefore, our soul should observe them. And this must start with a view that God’s testimonies are good and pure and true. We must call on God, asking him to make his testimonies wonderful to us. Then, God unfolds the light of his word to us so that it will give light to our steps. We need his help in understanding because we are simple.

Then (vs. 131) we open our mouth wide and wait for God to fill it. We must want it. We need to desire God’s word, and (vs. 132) cry out to God, asking him to turn to us and be gracious. We know that his manner is to show grace to those who love his name. Do you see how all of this is connecting? The unfolding of God’s word is giving us light.

As we put it all together, it makes sense. In vs. 133, we see that God will establish our feet in his word and not allow any iniquity to have dominion over us.

In other words, we have made our plan, but God is teaching us how to walk. And as we learn to walk, God will not let sin overtake us because in our battle against sin, we need God’s help.

Verse 134 breaks my heart. Redeem us from the oppression of man so that we may keep your precepts. Church let us take our cries to God. Let us ask him to redeem us. To remove the things that inhibit us from doing what it is that he wants us to do.

Verse 135 shows us that without God shining on us, we will continue to fight and argue over ideals and traditions and beliefs. We must embrace humility. We need to trust the word and the word alone. It does not matter what one statement of faith says or what an article says. It matters what God’s word says. We cannot walk rightly without his word. We need his word to teach us.

Without God, we will continue to fight and argue over ideals and traditions and beliefs. #Church, we must embrace humility. We need to trust God's word alone. Click To Tweet

The Disobedience of God’s People

David ended this section of Psalm 119 with verse 136, “My eyes shed streams of water, because they do not keep your law.”

When we understand that God’s word is wonderful, when we understand that the unfolding of God’s word gives light to the simple, when we understand that God will fill our open mouths, when we understand that even though we’ve made our plans, God will teach us how to walk, when we understand that though oppression might keep us from certain precepts, God can set us free, when we understand that God’s face is shining upon his servants and that he will help us learn his statutes, our hearts and minds should be broken over Christians who refuse to obey.

David’s heart was broken over the disobedience of God’s people. His eyes shed streams of water because God’s covenant people did not keep God’s law. Church, we are God’s covenant people. We have his word. He has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness, but Christians continue to disobey their King.

Jesus Christ has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness, but #Christians continue to disobey their King. Click To Tweet

The Way Forward

God’s way is right, we need to trust him. You will not find a passage of Scripture that tells you to trust in the Lord your God unless you are a twenty-first-century American. What you will find is a God who says, “Let me teach you how to walk.”

If we obeyed our King, if we listened to him and learned from him, the Church would no longer be a mockery to the world. Do you want a true and genuine Pentecost experience? Then remember that the Spirit already dwells in us.

Do not grieve him. Obey him. Honor him. Trust him. Give your life to him. Hunger and thirst for his righteousness in his truth. This is the only way in which we will show the world that we are profoundly different.

If we obeyed our King, if we listened to him and learned from him, the Church would no longer be a mockery to the world. Click To Tweet

Let’s Talk

Are you clinging to God’s word, asking him to establish your feet in his commands? Or, are you walking in your own way? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or email me at nathan@nathanfranckhauser.com.

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