God's Word: A Doorway for Light


“The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130 ESV

We all want to better ourselves. 

We don’t want to better ourselves in the same way. For most of the world, the primary way to improve life is through money. The pursuit of happiness runs the same path as the pursuit of money. A happy life finds itself only in a rich life. And so for a lot of us, our default mindset falls with modern culture rather than biblical mandate when looking for ways to improve ourselves: We naturally assume money will better our lives.

I believe we start at the wrong place. We have the wrong idea of life. Even for the Christian the tendency is to focus on making oneself the center of pleasure, but God did not create us to please ourselves. Nowhere in Scripture does it say, “Follow your dreams. Do what’s in your heart. Live out the path that brings you the most pleasure.” The problem with these statements is that life is not meant for our dreams—life is meant to bring Christ glory. God has an eternal plan that will be carried out according to His self-seeking desire (Eph. 1:11). When one does what is in the heart, we do things like murder, rape, incest, lying, stealing, cheating, deception, etc. (Jer. 17:9; Matt. 15:19). The path we must walk should give God the most pleasure, even if it brings us the most pain. Look at the life of Jesus (Heb. 12:2; Phil. 2:6).

God calls us to a higher life in Christ. 

God imparts to us what will bring Him honor and glory and what will bring us profit and pleasure. We have this blessing by opening His Word. “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119:130 ESV)
His words are the doorway through which light shines to impart discernment to an otherwise naive people. We cannot live better without God’s unfolding light.

How does this bring God honor and glory? 

If God is holy and has mirrored that holiness in His law to where humans are now obligated to reflect that holiness in their lives, the way to honor and glorify Him is to “look” like Him. The way to look like Him is to look like Jesus, and we find that all Scripture points to Christ, the all-perfect human being. We receive the most profit and pleasure by mirroring God because we deeply long for this reality. We desperately want to be what we aren’t: holy. We desperately want to live like we don’t: morally upright.

The teaching in Psalm 119:130 can be stated this way: God’s Word imparts to us understanding for moral instruction. Why do we need moral instruction? The seemingly pointless book of Leviticus emphasizes the main point of God’s primary concern for His people: “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy” (Lev. 19:2 ESV). And if we’re not holy as He, “Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them” (Deut. 27:26). We are lost in a world of condemnation without God’s Word giving instruction on how to live and how to please Him.

Light in Scripture represents life (Ps. 27:1; 36:9; John 1:4), guidance (Ps. 112:4), goodness (Ps. 118:27), understanding (Ps. 119:130), moral excellence (Job 24:13; Is. 5:20), joy (Ps. 97:11). The Hebrew parallelism indicates that the light presented here is given for moral instruction. The first line speaks about the opening (lit. doorway) of God’s Word causing light to shine; but then we must ask what is this light for? The parallel clause makes that plain: it imparts (lit. causes) understanding for the simple. But what does that mean?

The simple in Scripture are represented as the naive. The word in Hebrew for “simple” is related to the word, as the ESV translates it, “unfolding.” “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” There is a play on words. The simple are those who are open to all kinds of enticement; they are easily deceived. Therefore they must be well taught. The Hebrew word for unfolding is literally “doorway” or “opening.” I believe the NET (New English Translation) has a better rendition of the word: “Your instructions are a doorway through which light shines….” (Ps. 119:130 NET). The following clause gives meaning to the preceding which answers the question, “What is this light?”

When His word shines light, it provides understanding to those who need it. 

To have understanding means you have the ability to discern right from wrong, that you are able to judge rightly. Throughout our lives—no exceptions—every Christian will have the need for God’s Word to instruct them on how to live morally upright. Sin makes this necessity.

The Holy Spirit does not automatically give you all knowledge on what is morally correct so that you don’t have to labor in the Word in order to gain the perception to discern (Heb. 5:14). If we automatically knew all moral instruction on how to live, we would be robots. We wouldn’t need His Word. We wouldn’t need the Holy Spirit.
Great is the Christian truth: We are becoming one with Christ. Conforming to Christ is guided by the Word which opens its light to what is morally correct and pleasing to God, so that we may receive a heart of wisdom and discernment. We desperately need God’s doorway of light.
Every day the world tries to rob our innocence. No one is free from the lies of Satan and the world—only some are able to discern what’s from him and what’s from Christ. The fallen world, whom Satan is prince, says you can live a moral life without Christ.

Just consider TV shows. You know, the shows that aren’t necessarily violent or full of cursing or sexually explicit, the ones with a TV-PG rating. For instance, take King of Queens, Seinfeld, Friends, House, Grey’s Anatomy, Jersey Shore, Glee, etc. We typically don’t see anything wrong with them. But they all have one thing in common that is often overlooked: They teach us how to live a “good” life without Christ in our lives. (I am not saying I don’t watch these shows. I don’t have a problem watching them, although I don’t much. My point is for us to think about the deceptive—to most of us hidden—lies the world gives us daily.)

God has made life to be a hot pursuit of His holiness. He has elected us so that we would be holy in His sight (Eph. 1:4). We need help in pursuing God’s holiness. God as light represents God as morally excellent, and His moral excellence sets Him apart as completely unique, which makes Him terribly holy. We are not left in the dark. God invites us into His light. 
His Word offers to us light that gives instruction on how to walk the same path of holiness Jesus Christ trekked. God’s Word imparts to us understanding for moral instruction. Not only do we need this, but we also long for it. 
“I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments” (Ps. 119:131 ESV).

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