Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thoughts on Psalm 119:16

16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.

In the last two verses, I’ve shared two unforgettable moments when God has spoken to me. The words on the pages of the Bible were quickened by the Holy Spirit; the Word and Breath came together to become a Voice. (We never speak without breathing/exhaling, and we’re created in God’s image - think about that.)

For a long time, I thought that Jesus heard God’s voice differently than that. I thought that because He is the Christ, God in the flesh, somehow He had some special connection with the Father so that He heard Him directly. Or maybe that He just instinctively knew all things. And that His level of intimacy with the Father was out of reach for me.

But Jesus was born a baby - a human baby - and as such He had absolutely no knowledge. And yet, He claimed to be the Christ - God manifested as a human (John 4:25-26, 10:30-33, 14:9-10). Somewhere along the line He must have come across this information that He is God! But how?

I am captivated by the thought - and I believe this is God speaking to me and you - that the Father spoke in this exact same way to Jesus: by the Holy Spirit quickening the Scripture.

Hebrews 10:5-7 gives some insight into this:
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ...
‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me

“The volume of the book” is essentially referring to the Old Testament, but this is a direct quotation from Psalm 40:7. At one point, Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, for in them You think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.John 5:39

In my mind, I picture Jesus reading the Bible, and He comes across Psalm 40. As He is reading, suddenly those words jump off the page at Him… it is written of me. Something deep inside of Him says, “This is Me. This is talking about Me.” And that was the Holy Spirit breathing on those words, revealing to Him who He is.

And then on another day, He reads this passage:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound… Isaiah 61:1

Again, the Holy Spirit whispers, “This is You! This was written about You!”

So when Jesus began His public ministry, He went into a synagogue and read this passage from Isaiah, and then said to the people, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearingLuke 4:1821 In other words, “This is Me.” He read it, and somehow knew that it was talking about Him.

Have you ever wondered:

Did He just have supernatural knowledge? Well, He did. But He wasn’t omniscient (all knowing) in His life on earth. So that’s not how He knew all of these things. In fact, when He read the Bible, it became for Him a road map, giving Him directions for His life, ministry, death and resurrection.

Consider what happened in His heart when He read these passages of Scripture, in light of the questions above:
  • Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. Psalm 41:9 (see John 13:18)
  • Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered Zech 13:7 (see Matt 26:31)
  • They pierced my hands and my feet Psalm 22:16
  • When You make His soul an offering for sin Isaiah 53:10
  • You will not leave my soul in Sheol (Hell), nor will you allow Your Holy One to see corruption. Psalm 16:10
  • O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave Psalm 30:3

In each instance, He came across these words that were written hundreds of years before He was born, and the Holy Spirit whispered to His heart, “This is You! This is written about You!”

Jesus didn’t instinctively know all things, nor did He have special revelation from the Father because He Himself was God in the flesh. He lived as a man, and received revelation from the Father exactly as any man or woman does - by the Word of God and by the Holy Spirit.

And that same revelation is available to anyone willing to read the Bible and open their heart to  listen to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit highlights some words, saying, “This is you! This is written for you!”  

And as the psalmist says - it truly is a delight, and absolutely unforgettable.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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