Psalm 119: Teachable


You have done many good things for me, LORD,
just as you promised.

I believe in your commands;
now teach me good judgment and knowledge.

I used to wander off until you disciplined me;
but now I closely follow your word.

You are good and do only good;
teach me your principles.

Arrogant people have made up lies about me,
but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart.

Their hearts are dull and stupid,
but I delight in your law.

The suffering you sent was good for me,
for it taught me to pay attention to your principles.

Your law is more valuable to me
than millions in gold and silver!

(Psalm 119:65-72; New Living Translation)

Are you teachable?  I mean really teachable, as in when someone shares a truth with you, do you embrace it, letting it change you?  Or do you simply pose as being teachable?  I’d guess the latter.  That’s because for the past 12 years I’ve been observing that the majority of us are just posers.  We like to learn, but only on our own terms.  We don’t actually like to be taught much.  We love for a teacher/preacher/professor to confirm what we already think instead, and if he doesn’t, we quickly dismiss the truth taught.  So let’s just be honest about it, most of us are pretty much unteachable.  We might not want to admit it, but our lives bare it out, don’t they?

I love being around older brothers & sisters in Christ that are still young at heart and are not afraid to learn.  You know, the ones who wouldn’t be caught dead saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” because they’re wise enough to recognize that God didn’t create them a dog, but he did create them to learn and grow–even at older ages.  They are the 70+ year olds on the internet, the 80 year olds shopping for a Prius, the grandfather learning new songs alongside the teens at a youth rally, and the retired couple learning Spanish so they can join an outreach ministry of their church or go on a mission trip.  I’ve been blessed to know all the above, and when I think of what I want to be at that age, should the Lord grant me such, I want to follow their lead.  Their lead–a funny thing about that–their lead is an example of humility.  They realize that despite decades of education, work, and life experience they still have more to learn, more to do, more to experience.  They have learned the most important trait in life is to continue to be teachable, to continually be a student.

The psalmist has learned this, too, and said, “I believe in your commands;
now teach me good judgment and knowledge.
”  Far too often we (me & the mouse in my pocket) think belief is enough.  I’ve got my doctrine down, I’ve memorized John 3:16 & Acts 2:38 & for warm fuzzies Zechariah 3:17, I’m good.  In the end, though, people who stop learning and growing in the faith become the spiritual equivalent of the cranky old grouch on the front porch wearing plaid, polyester, stretchable waste-band, golf pants and griping about how “in the good days we didn’t even need keys, we just cranked our car’s motor by hand…didn’t need a fancy restroom either, just went when & where we wanted”….yeah, like was a good thing.  That’s not what I want to become, but it’s unavoidable unless I remain a student at heart.  I’ve not arrived.  I don’t know enough.  I don’t do enough.  I haven’t experienced enough.  I haven’t listened enough.  I am not enough.  I believe you God; teach me. 

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
(Daniel Iverson; 1935)

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2 Responses to Psalm 119: Teachable

  1. Bill says:

    Hiya James!
    I really liked the sentiments of your last 7 sentences.
    The point the psalmist makes regarding the need for discipline as an encouragement to learning certainly explains a lot of what has happened to me in the past….
    To be able to be really teachable, as in when someone shares a truth with you, do you embrace it, letting it change you? is a bit beyond me. I am a skeptic so often. I need to read and re-read God’s truth. I need to hear it different ways. I need to study and pray and pray and pray.
    Your last 7 sentences hold so much truth…..

  2. James says:

    Thanks, Bill. Long time no see; we need to find a cup of coffee in the same time/place sometime!

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