Footsteps to Follow: Fact or fiction?
If you have a few minutes today, read Psalm 119. From start to finish, this chapter exclaims the theme of holding onto God’s word. I can think of no other time in our history when it is not more important to pray these Psalms and cry out to God for biblical wisdom.
As I read verse sixty-six, I think of the political and ideological events around us. We are not only in need of discernment regarding spiritual matters of God and the Bible, but that same wisdom needs to be applied to how we view daily life.
Psalm 199:66 states, “Teach me knowledge and good judgement, for I trust your commands” (NIV). This psalm begins with the word “teach.” Although most individuals have either graduated from high school or higher learning, we must never forget that the Christian life is an extended educational course. If you are honest with yourself, you tend to think that you have seen and done it all. Romans 11:33 states, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” Just as the wisdom and knowledge of God are fathomless as depths of an ocean, we can never exhaust knowing everything about Him.
The life of a Christian should not be obsessed with living for self and the things this life offers, but of knowing every aspect of our Savior who sacrificed His life for us. We must pray “teach me, O Lord!” (Psalm 199:33).
We have been given the spiritual tutor in the person of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10). But what does the psalm tell us is the content of this instruction? What teaching should we ask of God? The Psalmist writes, “knowledge and good judgment” (Psalm 199:66).
First of all, God’s teaching is valuable. The writers of the Hebrew portion of our scriptures used an ancient Hebrew word to describe all the valuable items that Abraham’s servant took with him when he embarked on the journey to find Isaac a wife. This teaching of God that we should seek is of the highest value; it is priceless.
The next word is “discernment” which means “to taste.” The author of this psalm beautifully prays in a figurative way that his palate would differentiate and discern right from wrong, moral and immoral. In Job 34:3 the writer records, “For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food.” The bible gives us this helpful picture to illustrate how we ingest information and content, whether biblical theology or just items in the environment around us. Whether you are listening to a sermon or scrolling through a news feed, everything should be biblically discerned or tasted.
As Christians and citizens of a country, we will encounter more complex dilemmas than mere right or wrong decisions. Discernment for a Christian means being able to differentiate the primary from the secondary. When we pursue the secondary, non-essential matters of life, we miss out on the primary, essential, and permanent things that God has for us. We lack biblical discernment when we solely focus on ourselves, our political agenda, a job, or a hobby to the exclusion of placing Christ and others at the center of our lives.
Our discernment and knowledge must be founded on God’s Word. Allow it to permeate your life to the point that every time you encounter an ideology, a philosophy, a theology, or just a plain moral dilemma that you will automatically have the biblical taste to discern what is true and what is false.
Hunter Konkle, of Montoursville, assistant pastor, Calvary Life Church, Queens, N.Y.