Enlarge My Heart! | Psalm 119
We’ve been looking through the imaginative, word-brushed paintings of God’s life-creating power in Genesis 1-3 as we read Psalm 119. (To understand more what makes Psalm 119 so unique in the Bible, read the show notes from the Dec 21 episode.)
Genesis 3 is a powerful picture of the resulting dysfunctions in every human heart after the man and woman (Adam and Eve) chose to transgress God’s one commandment. Genesis 3 poetically paints the human story of how, now driven by insecurities and distrust, we hide from God behind all the trees and cover ourselves and our shame from one another while seeking to manipulate others for our selfish desires. But https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%203%3A15&version=NIV (Genesis 3:15) also foreshadows that God will ultimately destroy the Serpent and our resulting dysfunction through the death and resurrection and victory of the male human offspring of the woman.
We’re in the middle of that story right now, between Jesus’s death and resurrection and ascension, while we await his kingdom coming to bring a new, resurrected body and soul to his people, and to renew and restore all creation. And in the middle of this already/not-yet reality, God is progressively renewing and transforming his people through his Spirit (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%203%3A18&version=NIV (2 Cor 3:18)). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Corinthians%204%3A6&version=NIV (2 Corinthians 4:6) uses the poetic imagery of https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%201%3A1-2%3A3&version=NIV (Genesis 1:2-3) as a picture of what God’s Spirit must do in the heart of every follower of Christ.
Several Old Testament prophecies tell of this heart transformation that will come. Like almost all Old Testament prophecies, these promises are already but not yet, just as Christ’s coming is already but not yet. Partially now in the hearts of all followers of Christ through his Spirit, but not fully until Christ brings bodily resurrection when he brings his kingdom of heaven back to earth.
Jeremiah 31:33 NIV
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Ezekiel 11:19–20 NIV
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
Ezekiel 36:26–28 NIV
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
One of the important themes throughout Psalm 119 is our need for God to open our eyes, enlarge our heart, and give us understanding – all by the Spirit’s life-transforming power in his word. Unless and until God does that, God’s word (the gospel/the Bible) will always seem boring and irrelevant to what matters to us most. (Show notes in the previous couple episodes shows how the Bible teaches that the work of God’s Spirit is inseparably linked to the work of God’s word – the Bible).
What is the chicken and the egg here? Does God respond to our prayer for his Spirit’s transformation of our heart, or do we care enough to pray for God to transform our heart as a result of his Spirit’s work of transformation? The answer is Yes. We respond to him as his Spirit works in our heart, but as his Spirit works in our heart we must respond to him and ask him to continue to open our eyes and heart to him.
And this is where the prayers and meditations of Psalm 119 are helpful to us.