“Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.” vs. 34
We can understand the heart of the psalmist. Like most of us he sincerely wants to be a good person and live a life that is pleasing to God. And somehow he’s gotten the notion that if he can only receive the gift of understanding, he’ll be able to achieve his goal and keep God’s law. Again, we can identify. We too believe that if only we can understand something, we’ll be able to do it. That works well in a school setting where understanding problems is a crucial first step in being able to solve them. And there are many instances in life where that strategy works well…but not always. Again and again we can point to instances where people have known full well what they were doing, and still persisted in doing hurtful, ugly things. Understanding is a powerful and useful tool, but it won’t guarantee that we will keep the law. Sin is just too powerful an enemy. Paul puts it this way in Romans 7, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Sometimes, the more insights that we have, the more confusing our behavior is. We persist in doing the things that are the most perplexing to us…and then act baffled when we get the same repugnant results. The desire of the psalmist is commendable…but the greatest gift of God, and the one that we need the most, is not understanding, but forgiveness!
Thought for the Day: When has understanding been a blessing to me?