“Open My Eyes” (Psalm 119:17-24)

Preached by Derick Parfan on January 6, 2019 at Baliwag Bible Christian Church

Prayer Focus Week

Beginning today until next Sunday, January 6-13, will be our Prayer Focus Week. We plan to do this yearly as we start the year. Para mas maging focused ang attention natin sa kahalagahan ng Salita ng Diyos at panalangin sa buhay Cristiano, and our life as a church. I will preach about this today and next week. Meron din kayong copies ng three-year Bible reading plan. In three years babasahin natin ang Old Testament once at New Testament twice, one or two chapters a day lang ‘yan. Mas manageable at doable kesa sa mga dati nating ginagamit na reading plan to read the Bible in one year.

Meron din kayong study guide for reading Old Testament narrative, and I will give yung ibang guides for other genre sa mga susunod. Meron ding guide questions for gospel-centered Bible reading. If you want to be more skilled and effective sa paggamit nito, ask your leader or discipler, or attend our training sa gospel-centered Bible reading. Or join our Facebook group.

Yan yung personal aspect nitong Prayer Focus Week. Meron din namang corporate aspect. From Monday to Saturday, 6PM to 7PM, we will have daily prayer meetings, with a worship night on Friday. God has great things in store for us this year. Mas nagiging focused and intentional tayo sa planning and strategizing kung paano magiging reality yung gospel ambition natin to make disciples of all nations. But we need to humble ourselves before God, amining hindi natin kaya on our own to accomplish these things, and ask him desperately to do his great work in us, among us, and through us.

Psalm 119

My role as your pastor is to motivate you para makita ang kahalagahan ng prayer at Word of God. Parehong kailangan, parehong indispensable. Sabi nga ng kids’ song, “Read your Bible Pray everyday, and you grow, grow, grow.” Very appropriate ang Psalm 119 for this purpose. Tinatawag itong acrostic poem kasi sa 22 sections nito, each section is corresponding to every letter sa Hebrew alphabet. Napreach ko na noon pang 2011 yung verses 1-8 (aleph) at verses 9-16 (beth). I will preach today on verses 17-24 (gimel) at next week sa verses 25-32 (daleth).

Ang Psalm 119 ay 176 verses of song of praise and prayer to God about his Word. Prayer and Word. All of life konektado sa Salita ng Diyos. Sino daw yung mapalad, masaya, blessed? “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord” (v. 1). “…who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways” (v. 3)!Dito sa text natin ngayon, ganito ang mababasa natin, ganito ang prayer niya in relation to the Word, in relation to his life, particularly sa mga difficulties and trials na naeexperience niya. Actually, hanggang verses 25-32 ‘yan.

Psalm 119:17-24

Pero dito muna tayo sa verses 17-24 [read].

Every single verse dito about the Word. “Your word” (v. 17, dabar, divine communication, God speaking to us). “Your law” (v. 18,  torah, instruction, direction). “Your commandment” (v. 19, mitzvah). “Your rules” (v. 20, mishpat, judgment, decision, ordinance, plan). “Your commandment” (v. 21, mitzvah). “Your testimonies” (v. 22, edah, of the Ten Words on the tables as a solemn divine charge [BDB]). “Your statutes” (v. 23, choq, something prescribed, due, decree). “Your testimonies” (v. 24, edah). Salita, kautusan, utos, tuntunin, turo ng Diyos.

Makikita natin sa section na ‘to ang underlying theological conviction ng psalmist at ang corresponding life application nito:

  • Theology: The Lord shows his goodness and guidance to us through his Word.
  • Life: [so…] Our prayer and devotion is to understand and obey his Word.

Ipinapakita ng Diyos sa pamamagitan ng kanyang Salita ang kanyang kabutihan at paggabay sa buhay natin. Kaya naman, ang panalangin at hangarin ng puso natin ay ang maunawaan at masunod ang Salita niya.

I. The Lord’s Goodness (vv. 17-20)

The Lord shows his goodness to us through his Word. Mabuti ang Diyos, ‘yan ang underlying theological conviction ng prayer niya, “Deal bountifully with your servant” (v. 17). Sa ASD, “Ipadama n’yo ang inyong kabutihan sa akin.” Pakitunguhan n’yo ako ng mabuti, show your goodness fully, adequately, abundantly. Hindi barya-barya, hindi tingi-tingi, hindi basta-basta lang, kundi yung sagana at umaapaw na kabutihan ng Diyos. To keep that flame of conviction, alam niya kailangan niya ang salita ng Diyos, kasi nandun yung mga “wondrous things” (v. 18) about God. Mga istorya, mga utos, mga propesiya, mga passages na nagpapatotoo ng kahanga-hangang kabutihan ng Diyos. Kaya sabi niya sa verse 19, “Don’t hide it from me.” Sa verse 20, “My soul is consumed with longing…” Lord, you are good. Your Word testifies to that. So, I need more of your word, not less. I need more of your goodness, not less. 

Prayer (vv. 17-18)

Dahil sa kabutihan ng Diyos, we pray. Ano yung prayer niya sa v. 17? “Deal bountifully with your servant.” Ang identity niya (“your servant”) ay nakatali sa Diyos, his good and benevolent Master, Lord and King. Ang goal ng isang servant is to be submissive, respectful and obedient sa kanyang Master. Itong verses 17-18 in the form of a prayer, an acknowledgment na hindi niya kaya sa sarili niya na makapamuhay ay as a servant/slave of Yahweh. Kaya naman tayo nananalangin, kasi inaamin nating hindi natin kaya sa sarili natin na makasunod at makapamuhay nang ayon sa salita at kalooban ng Diyos. Kahit nga yung best efforts natin may mantsa pa rin ng wrong, selfish and legalistic motivations. So we pray, even before we open our Bible, even before we face our day, “Lord, I need your more of your goodness, more of your grace to work in my heart, in my life, that I may obey you.

“Hindi rin naman tayo makakasunod kung di natin mauunawaan ang salita niya. So, our prayer is to understand and obey the Word. Yun ang prayer niya sa verse 18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Negatively stated yung prayer na ‘to sa v. 19, “Hide not your commandments from me!” Ganito rin ang usual prayer ko before I read the Word. Bakit kailangang ganito ang prayer natin? Yung “wondrous things” ay may dalawang implications dito. On one hand, yun yung mga kahanga-hangang gawa ng Diyos na nakasulat sa Bibliya. Not just yung mga miraculous, extraordinary, spectacular display of his power and goodness. Obviously, kasama yun. But everything God has revealed about himself – his mercy, his wisdom, his grace, his justice, his wrath, his patience, everything about him. 

On the other hand, itong “wondrous things” ay nag-iindicate na yung mga bagay na ‘to ay beyond my human and finite capacity to understand. Sa mga panahong di natin maunawaan, kailangan natin ng wisdom from the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:9-10). So we pray, “Open my eyes.” Sa mga panahon namang maiintindihan naman natin agad, pero we find it boring, not exciting, not relevant, the problem is not in the Word. The problem is in our hearts. Kasi yung mga videos sa Netflix, YouTube or Facebook, mas exciting pa sa atin at talagang we will spend a lot of time in that. So our lack of interest sa Bible reading is not because the Bible is not interesting. Your heart is the problem. Pray for your heart first. Then read the Word. And as you read, pray that you may understand and obey the Word.

Devotion (vv. 19-20)

When we pray, we act on it. Hindi pwedeng prayer lang, dapat may devotion. Our heart must be into it. Kaya yung time natin with the Word, usually tinatawag nating “devotion.” May magtatanong sa ‘yo, “O, nagdevotion ka na ba?” Sagot mo naman, “Isang beses lang this week.” Hmmm, parang hindi naman devotion yun. Dito sa verse 19, nung ipagpray niyang “hide not your commandments from me,” nag-eexpress yun ng intense emotion na para bang sinasabi niyang, “Wag na wag mo itong ipagkakait sa akin.” Kung meron kang iPhone, tapos merong kumuha, what would you feel? Kapag merong kang gustong isang tao, tapos may umagaw o nawala sa ‘yo, what woud you feel? But if you don’t have God’s Word for one whole week, what would you feel? Our problem with our devotion to the Word is a problem of misplaced desire. Nakakalimutan kasi natin, and we are slow to believe, na ang identity natin ay nakatali sa Diyos who alone is good in this world.

The psalmist’s devotion is rooted in his identity. “I am a sojourner on the earth” (v. 19). Yung sa verse 17, “servant” in relation to the Lord. Dito naman, stranger in relation to the world. Temporary dwellers (BDB), pansamantala lang. Foreigners, exiles in a foreign land (1 Pet. 1:1). This world is not our home. So our heart’s devotion must not be fixed on this world or the things of this world. Our heart’s devotion must be fixed on God and his Word.Again, sobrang expressive siya ng emotion niya about that devotion sa verse 20, “My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.” A strong desire. An overwhelming desire. Merong pananabik. Merong matinding paghahangad. Hindi ito yung basta daily reading of the Word for 10-15 minutes a day, para ma-check yung reading plan, para masabing nakapag-devotion ka, to somehow ease your guilt of not spending time with the Word. No, not like that. “Consumed with longing…at all times.” This was his heart’s passion, life-long pursuit.

Not everything in our heart is okay. Just look at how weak your prayer and devotional life is. A good test yung nitong nakaraang Christmas season. Even me, because of the crazy-busy schedule, with all the celebrations, vacations, a preoccupation with gift-giving and receiving, naisasantabi agad, o kung hindi man pero minamadali naman ang time with the Word and prayer. If it is easy for us to set aside that time, then indication yun na hindi talaga yun ang priority natin. So we pray for our heart, “Give me oil in my lamp, keep it burning.” If we keep praying that, if we keep feeding our hearts with the Word, sasagutin ni Lord yung prayer na ‘yan. Because he is good. All the time.

The Lord’s Guidance (vv. 21-24)

Kaso, may mga times na parang hindi good. Kung ganun, yung prayer and devotion ba natin sa Salita ng Diyos ay pang-good times lang? Paano kung naeexperience din natin yung experience nitong psalmist sa verses 21-24? Committed nga siya sa salita ng Diyos, pero may mga tao naman sa paligid niya, probably some from his family or friends, na parang mga tupang ligaw na nalilihis ng landas, “who wander from your commandments” (v. 21)? Hindi lang yun, sa halip na maganda ang maging feedback sa kanya ng mga tao because of his devotion to God, meron siyang naeexperience na “panghihiya at pangungutya” (v. 22 ASD). Hindi ito mga empty words lang, mga leaders pa, mga tao in prominent or powerful position ang nag-uusap-usap at nagbabalak ng masama laban sa kanya (v. 23). Merong naninira sa kanya, merong kumakalaban sa kanya, enough reasons or excuses ba ‘to para panghinaan na siya ng loob at hindi na maging devoted sa salita ng Diyos? Sabi niya sa verse 24, “Ang inyong mga turo, ay nagbibigay sa akin ng kagalakan, at nagsisilbing tagapayo” (ASD). 

Sa halip na magmukmok sa kalungkutan, nandun yung overflowing joy sa kanya. Sa halip na maguluhan kasi di na alam ang gagawin sa mga nangyayari sa buhay, nandun yung security and assurance sa kanya. Bakit? Because of the Word. His devotion is fueled with this theological conviction: The Lord shows his guidance to us through His Word. His goodness, kanina. Ngayon naman, his guidance. Countless of times ganito ang naririnig kong mga excuses sa mga kinukumusta ko kasi di na nakaka-aattend ng church and missing a very important time to listen to the preaching of the Word: “Pastor, medyo busy lang po talaga, maraming problemang dapat ayusin. Basta kapag nakaluwag-luwag na po at medyo naging mabuti ang sitwasyon, magugulat na lang po kayo, aattend na kami.” O kapag kinukumusta ko naman sa habit of daily Bible reading, kakamot at sasabihin sa kin, “Sobrang busy po talaga, laging puyat, laging pagod, daming schoolworks, daming overtime.”

Hindi naman tayo mauubusan ng excuses. Hindi naman matatapos ang mga problema sa buhay. Kelan ba natin mas kailangan ang salita ng Diyos? When things are going well, or when things are going bad? Di ba’t mas kailangan nga natin ng guidance from God during these times. We need to be in the Word more, not less. Kaso, we are trying to navigate life on our own. Akala naman natin kaya natin. We don’t much time in prayer and his Word kasi ang yayabang natin.

Prayer (vv. 21-22)

Ano ba ang kahihinatnan ng mga prayer-less, Bible-neglecting arrogant people? “Sinasaway nʼyo ang mga hambog, at isinusumpa ang mga ayaw sumunod sa inyong mga utos” (v. 21 ASD). Ang ayaw makinig at sumunod sa mga utos ng Diyos, sila ang mga arogante. Sinasaway ng Diyos, hindi lang pinapagalitan at pinagsasabihan. Isinusumpa. Ang sumpa, ang parusa ng Diyos ay nasa kanila. Terible ang ending na kahihinatnan ng mga taong ‘yan. Mula sa presidente hanggang sa mga pobreng ayaw sumunod sa Diyos. The psalmist was saying this kasi ayaw niyang matulad sa kanila. Ayaw niyang maligaw ng landas. Alam niya na para siyang isang tupa na palaging dapat nasa pangangalaga at paggabay ng Diyos. Meron siyang tamang pagkakilala sa sarili niya – servant, stranger, sheep – at meron din siyang tamang pagkakilala sa Diyos – Master, Lord, Shepherd. That is why he prays.

Anong prayer niya sa verse 22? “Ilayo nʼyo ako sa kanilang panghihiya at pangungutya,dahil sinusunod ko ang inyong mga turo.” At first, parang ang dating ay ang basis ng answer ni Lord sa prayer niya ay dahil sa pagsunod niya. But no. It is an expression of his desire na di matulad sa mga taong kumakalaban sa kanya at sa Diyos. This is not a prayer na maging free from suffering or from the people causing him difficulties. Parang sinasabi niyang, “Huwag n’yong hayaang dumikit sa akin ang mga kahihiyang dulot ng pangungutya nila. Don’t let their words define me. Help me be secured in my identity anchored in your word, always.”

Devotion (vv. 23-24)

Again, tulad ng ginawa niya sa first half ng passage natin, after praying meron namang expression ng devotion. Verse 23, “Kahit na magtipon ang mga namumuno at mag-usap laban sa akin, akong lingkod nʼyo ay patuloy na magbubulay-bulay ng inyong mga tuntunin.” Tulad sa v. 17, he reminded himself of his identity as God’s servant. He was a servant of the King. Kaya kahit sinumang mga princes o human rulers ang magsabwatan laban sa kanya, magsalita laban sa kanya, magbalak nang masama laban sa kanya, his security remains anchored in God’s word. Kaya kahit anong mangyari, “your servant will meditate on your statutes.” Mas madali para sa atin na maging devoted sa Diyos at sa kanyang salita kung everything is going well. Pero mas kailangan pa nga nating mag-meditate sa Word of God kung mga kasinungalingan about us ang naririnig natin – from other people, from social media, from fake news. Mas lalo nating dapat pagbulayan ang salita ng Diyos dahil ito ang paraan ng Diyos para gabayan tayo sa buhay. 

The Word of God is not a burden. It is rest for the soul. Not merely a duty, but a delight. Not added work, but a source of joy. Kung sa pamamagitan ng Salita ng Diyos mas lalo mong nakikilala ang Panginoong Jesus, mas nagiging greater ang appreciation mo sa ginawa niya para sa ‘yo, mas lumalalim ang relasyon mo sa kanya, why will we not devote our time and attention to get more of the Word? Verse 24, “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” Ikinukumpara ng psalmist ang mga salita ng Diyos na parang isang team or group of counselors or advisers surrounding him. Para bang ako na surrounded by our team of elders kapag nagmi-meeting at pinag-uusapan ang mga planuhin para sa church. Reminding us na kung kailangan natin ng guidance, hindi tayo lalayo sa Salita ng Diyos, lalapit pa nga.

Kung mahirap ang sitwasyon sa pamilya o any relationship, we don’t make that as excuse para di muna magbasa ng Bibliya, but as additional reason to find guidance in the Word. Kung kung anu-anong salita ang naririnig natin from other people, hindi excuse para pabayaan ang devotion to the Word, but additional fuel to motivate us na makinig sa Diyos.

Conclusion: From Excuses to Motivations

Ano ang itinuturo sa atin ng Psalm 119:17-24? 

The Lord shows his goodness and guidance to us through his Word. So? Our prayer and devotion is to understand and obey his Word. 

Ipinapakita ng Diyos sa pamamagitan ng kanyang Salita ang kanyang kabutihan at paggabay sa buhay natin. Kaya naman, ang panalangin at hangarin ng puso natin ay ang maunawaan at masunod ang Salita niya.

Meron na tayong Bible reading plan. Meron ding mga study guides kung paano ‘to pag-aralan at isabuhay. Meron ding mga special training sessions. Merong mga available na magdidisciple sa inyo. Meron tayong Bible school. Meron tayong website. We have a lot of resources, giving you a lot of opportunities to be engaged with the Word everyday. Ang tanong sa ‘yo personally ay ito: What are you going to do about it? Magpapatuloy ka ba to make lame excuses na paulit-ulit mo namang sinasabi just to ease your guilt of not reading the Bible and praying enough? 

I pray na you will begin crossing-out those excuses at palitan sila ng mga reasons na magsisilbing motivations for your heart to make decisive, intentional actions para maging regular ang habit mo and make it your lifestyle na basahin, pagbulayan, at isabuhay ang salita ng Diyos. Kapatid, basahin mo ang Bibliya para maintindihan mo ang sinasabi ng Diyos sa ‘yo. Kung di mo maintindihan, ipagpray mo na ipaunawa ito sa ‘yo ng Diyos. Basahin mo ang Bibliya para ang puso mo ay masiyahan at maging matatag sa pananampalataya. And pray to God to make that happen. Basahin mo ang Bibliya para ang buong buhay mo ay nakaayon sa kalooban ng Diyos. At manalangin ka na tulungan ka ng Diyos na maisabuhay ang lahat ng nakasulat dito.

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