Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Reading The Bible Backwards

"Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right;
and I hate every false way
Psalm 119:128

Not everyone possesses the knowledge of God and the love of the truth, so that he is able to recognize every false way, much less to hate every false way. Only the most dedicated and blessed saints hate every false way because only they know what those ways are. False ways can be made to appear right, but the wisest among the saints see through the appearance of good that often conceals the evil within. The author of this Psalm was an extraordinary man. He considered everything God said to be right, no matter what God was talking about, and he despised everything else. He was a man who knew God, and who loved what he had come to know about Him.

While I pondered over this verse, asking myself how this righteous man managed to attain to such knowledge and holy love of God, I noticed the verse before this one: "Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold."

But how did he come to love God’s commandments so passionately? I noticed the verse before that one: "It is time for thee, O Lord, to work, for they have made void thy law." So, it was jealousy for the Lord, when he saw God’s people ignore His word, that provoked such a strong passion for the commandments of God. But how did he come to possess such a knowledge of what God’s words were, and the importance of them? He humbled himself before God and pleaded with Him to know His words! This I discovered when I read the verses before this one: "I am thy servant! Give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies!"

But how did he come to feel that he was a servant of God, so that he might approach God with such a request? He found such faith and boldness when God touched him and gave him a great hunger for truth and a great desire to be free from the oppression of men, as shown in the verses which come before that one: "Be surety for thy servant for good. Let not the proud oppress me. Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness. Deal with thy servant according to thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes."

And finally, the reason this humble man’s prayer was heard, when so many other similar prayers go unanswered, may be found in the verse before that one: "I have done judgment and justice; leave me not to my oppressors." The blind man healed by Jesus, in John 9, told the elders who were questioning him, "We know that God does not hear sinners, but if any man be a [true] worshiper of God, and does His will, him God hears." So, the prayer of the wise author of Psalm 119 was heard by God because he humbled himself to God and did His will before he prayed.

No matter which way we read the Bible, whether backwards or forwards, there is hidden wisdom to be found.