Psalm 119:141-176

The Desire For Discernment.

“O LORD, listen to my cry; give me the discerning mind you promised.” ­– Psalm 119:169 NLT

The psalmist longed for the ability to discern right from wrong. He desired wisdom and he knew it could only come from one place: God. So he prayed and asked God for it. Remember Solomon’s dream? In it, Solomon was asked by God, “What do you want? Ask and I will give it to you.” Wow! What an opportunity. Here was the God of the universe handing Solomon a blank check and telling him to fill in the amount. He could have asked for anything, but I think God knew Solomon’s heart. God knew what Solomon was going to ask for. And what was it? Wisdom. “I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am among your own chosen people, a nation so great they are too numerous to count! Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great nation of yours?” (1 Kings 3:7-9 NLT). Solomon asked for discernment – the ability to discern right from wrong. And God gave it.

The writer of Psalm 119 was anxious for God to give him the same thing. He knew the key was his ability to understand the commands and decrees of God. “Your decrees are always fair; help me to understand them, that I may live” (Psalm 119:144 NLT). He wasn’t content with a blind obedience. He wanted to understand the intent  behind the commands of God, because he knew that they were the source of life. Like children who obey without understanding, we can go through the motions, but as soon as we get the chance, we stop obeying because we have never really understood the real reason behind the need for obedience. To understand the commands of God is to understand the heart of God. There is method to His seeming madness and there are reasons behind His rules. The psalmist longed to know what they were. Do you long for the same thing? Do you want to understand the heart of God? Do you desire a discerning mind that can tell the difference between right from wrong, good from evil? Rules are great. But they are really intended for those who can’t discern right from wrong. Rules are for the unruly. But if we all knew right from wrong, if we all knew the heart of God and how to please Him, no rules would be necessary. Even the Ten Commandments can become burdensome and laborious if we never get to know the God who gave them. What was His intent? What was His real desire behind them? That is what the psalmist wanted to know. Do you?

Father, I want a discerning mind, but more than that, I want to know You. Open my eyes so that I might see the way You see. Give me a heart that is similar to Yours. May I see the world the way You see it. Don’t ever let Your Word just become a list of dos and don’ts to me. I want to grasp the meaning behind them and get to know the God who gave them. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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