Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. (Ps. 119:66)
In Psalm 119, David prays for God's helping hand in good judgment and knowledge. We all need teaching from God. Without it, we remain lost and confused. With it, we grow in his ways and find joy. Charles Spurgeon comments:
Again he begs for teaching, as in Psalm 119:64, and again he uses God's mercy as an argument. Since God had dealt well with him, he is encouraged to pray for judgment to appreciate the Lord's goodness. Good judgment is the form of goodness which the godly man most needs and most desires, and it is one which the Lord is most ready to bestow. From want of knowledge David had misjudged the chastening hand of the Heavenly Father, and therefore he now asks to be better instructed, since he perceives the injustice which he had done to the Lord by his hasty conclusions. We are not able to judge, for our knowledge is so sadly inaccurate and imperfect; if the Lord teaches us knowledge we shall attain to good judgment, but not otherwise. The Holy Spirit alone can fill us with light.
What David desired was godly growth. He didn't want to merely know more about God. He wanted to know God more. He had misjudged him because he knew him less than he should. He had concluded God was against him when God was for him. He had held a grudge against God for his discipline when he was maturing him. The remedy for these grievances was growth in the knowledge of God.
We know relatively little about God when he saves us. We may behold his glory, but that doesn't mean we understand the weight. As we mature in the faith, we grow like students in elementary school. But unlike our school days, we will never outgrow the need for our study of God. We can never graduate from him, and can never reach the pinnacle of the field of divine revelation. The deeper we go, the wider he gets. We may find a corner to plow into, but that only leads to the caves of his mystery.
One of the gifts God grants in salvation is the desire to grow in the knowledge of God. For many (myself included) their days of reading books began shortly after conversion. Being saved by someone leads naturally to a desire to know them in the same way that meeting your future spouse drives you to study.
Learning about God isn't easy on our own. It works best inside the community of faith. That's why last Sunday night, we started something new at our church. It’s actually pretty crazy. A group of us met for an hour and a half for the first of ten months’ worth of discussions over John Frame’s Systematic Theology.
I say it’s crazy because this book is around 1,100 pages. It costs around $35. And each time we meet (which is every two weeks) we are all supposed to have read around 50 pages. That’s a steep investment.
So, why do this? Because we want to be a church where anyone can grow, and one way to grow is to think through theology at a deep level, over an extended amount of time, in community with other Christians. We do this because God gave us the gift of the mind. Thinking deep thoughts about God helps us walk with God.
Like David, we want to be sure the God we think of is the real God of the Bible, not the false god of our imagination. We want to relate to him rightly, and that happens when we get to know him.
Like David, we have a deep need for God's gracious touch to learn about him. He must teach us or we will never learn. He must bend down and speak to us as children so that we might become men and women of God who can testify to his grace in the world. And he not only can do that; he desires to do it!