As we saw earlier in this series, Psalm 119 details the benefits of God’s Word, and all throughout its 176 verses, one word is repeated multiple times:
The psalmist makes mention of the relationship between the Word and his eyes in several places:
Oh that my ways be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. (vv. 5-6)
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. (v. 15)
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. (v. 18)
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. (v. 37)
My eyes long for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?” (v. 82)
My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise. (v. 123)
My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law. (v. 136)
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. (v. 148)
He mentions what his eyes need in order to see Scripture, and he also says how Scripture affects what and how he sees. We find mystery in this connection between the Word and our eyes, yet clearly it’s important. Vision, a significant theme in this chapter, is also a principal aspect of our time spent studying God’s Word. His Words to us are meant to illuminate our paths, and the light surfaces by reaching the mind through the eyes, showing us where to set our gaze. And we know the right gaze is an essential element of living the Christian life –
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalms 27:4)
“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7)
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 12:17-18)
“…for I have appeared to you for this purpose…to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26: 16-18)
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you…” (Ephesians 1:16-18)
Because of verses like these, we know that the direction our eyes are turned affects many things: our endurance, worship, salvation, eternal focus in suffering, deliverance, and knowledge of the gospel’s hope. I want all of these things, yet it’s easy to forget they’re found in setting my sights on him.
And that leads us to appreciate the fourth grace-gift of Bible study we’re exploring in this 31 Days series:
Gift #4: Bible study turns my eyes in the right direction.
Studying the Word is crucial in shaping my vision of who God is. If I’m not allowing the Bible to guide me into truth, I risk being deceived by others’ versions of Christ, leaving me ignorant of the gospel and ill-equipped for the battles of this world. We need Bible study for how it provides us with truth our eyes can focus on.
Let’s reflect on our heart’s tendencies. Consider with me –
When you neglect the study of God’s Word, where are you looking? As you go about your day, whether hit by suffering or excitement, is your gaze set on Jesus? What are the things that pull your eyes away from him?