By Shawn Weir
During the late 17th century and early 18th century there was a rise of intellectual and philosophical ideas that created what historians refer to as "The Age of Enlightenment," or as known in French, Le Siècle des Lumières, literally: "The Century of Lights." Those involved felt that they were illuminating minds after what went before them in the middle or "dark" ages. It was a time of great changes and grand revisions, which ultimately led to many governmental revolutions (including the French and American), the effects of which still deeply influence our time and culture today.
For the Christian, regardless of cultural movements, it is a time of true enlightenment every time we open our hearts to the Scriptures. No one likes to be in the dark. So open your Bible, saints, and turn on the light.
Psalm 19: 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes
The word enlightening here means "to be luminous." It can be used literally and metaphorically to refer to the break of the day or to give light and shine as the sun, moon, and stars. What an expectation the believer of the Word can have every time we approach God's magnificent truth!
The entire structure of the physical eye is reliant on light. Without light our eyes have nothing to behold. God's precepts are so right and so pure that every time we look upon them they will be faithful to give light to the eyes of our hearts.
Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke of similar things regarding the light of God's truth in Luke 11:
Luke 11:33 - 40
33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light
No one would light a candle in their house just to put it hidden away in a secret place or under a bushel. That would not only be an inefficient use of that light source, but it could also be a potential fire hazard! Much like our modern house lamps, one would want to place a candlestick in a logical place in the home to provide light unto all who come in.
34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single [clear or healthy], thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.
Much like Psalm 19, Jesus Christ was also teaching on the eyes of the heart. If an eye is unhealthy (or evil), regardless of the brightness of what is being beheld, that blind eye will not be able to perceive the light. This is a great deception that many men find themselves in. They are spiritually blind but boast that they can see. In a parallel record to this in Matthew 6, our Lord says, "…if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" What a sad place that too many find themselves in. Lost and blind, but claiming they see.
35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.
We want to be sure that which we are beholding is indeed the truth of God so that the light within us is indeed light in truth. Then, Jesus Christ spoke of the great effect that beholding true light has on the entire body:
36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
Consider that for a moment. We can behold the light of God's truth, and it has the capacity to completely enlighten us within to the extent of there being no part dark within us.
No matter how dark the shadows, they can never smother a flame. Light overcomes darkness every time. Peter also spoke of the great work of God's truth enlightening the heart:
2nd Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts
In a dark room, your eyes are naturally drawn to a light. So our hearts are to be to the light of God's Word in this dark world. This more sure Word of Prophecy has the ability to so enlighten our hearts that it can be as a sunrise within. Like the light of the dawn that breaks through the night, so also the Word of God illuminates us inside. As our Lord said, "full of light, having no part dark."
The greater context of this verse is Peter sharing that is wasn't experiences that he desired the saints to take heed unto. He himself walked and talked with the Lord Jesus Christ. I trust he had some stories to tell, but the Prophecy of the Scripture is that which all men should be captivated by. It shines forth greater and truer than experiences. It didn't come by the fickle wills of natural men: but as holy men of God spoke them forth as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
So it is today, the best way to appreciate Jesus Christ doesn't come by experiences, but by taking heed to the true light which reveals him in the truth of God's Word. Incidentally, the Greek word for day star in this verse is a word that means "light bringing." It is the word from which we get our English word for "phosphorus." The word specifically refers to the morning star and in Revelation 22 our Lord Jesus Christ is called "the bright and morning star."
In the magnificent epistle that Paul wrote to the Ephesians he reveals what he has been praying nonstop for those saints since the day he had heard of their believing and love:
Ephesians 1:15 – 18a
15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18a The eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
The "eyes of your understanding" in verse 18, could be better translated as "eyes of your heart."
In the next few verses we see that Paul is praying specifically for the eyes of the hearts of the Ephesian saints to be enlightened to three things:
- That ye may know what is the hope of his calling
- What the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints
- What is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places
Noteworthy is that unlike many common Christian prayers, Paul isn't praying for more of anything. He is just asking that the eyes of their hearts would be enlightened to what has already been given, promised, and is available.
Paul earlier in the chapter already made mention of us being "blessed with all (every) spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." We are in Christ; how could we possibly be more blessed?
What our hearts do need is for our eyes to be
opened to it and then enlightened by it.
There is a great record about opened eyes in 2nd Kings 6:
2nd Kings 6:8 – 17
8 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp.
9 And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down.
10 And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.
11 Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?
12 And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber.
Syria was at war with Israel and the king is tired of his battle plans being repeatedly betrayed. He supposed there was a spy in his midst, but found that the true problem was Elisha, a man of God who would prophesy unto the king of Israel words even secretly spoken in his bedroom.
Stupidly, the king thought that he could then just go kidnap a man who so faithfully walks with and for God.
13 And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.
14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
The king of Syria sends a great army forth and at night they surrounded the city of Dothan where Elisha the prophet was.
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
Elisha's servant looked out and saw the army of Syrian soldiers surrounding them, and his heart was fearful. Elisha wasn't shaken. He already knew there were more with them than against them, but for the comfort of his servant's heart, he prayed a specific request.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
The eyes of Elisha's servant were then opened to the greater reality that early morning. Surrounding and protecting Elisha was a superior army than the Syrian force. God had sent His heavenly host to defend Elisha, and I trust, after seeing that his servant didn't feel like he needed to ask for more.
Did anything change in the spiritual realm once his eyes were open? No, he just was able to see it clearly now, and so it is often for the Christian today. Paul wasn't praying for them to get more in Christ, but just to have the eyes of their hearts enlightened to the spiritual reality. I don't know if those chariots were always around Elisha, but the things we have in Christ are always ours.
Elisha and Paul aren't around to pray for God's people anymore; now we need to pray those kinds of prayers. Pray for God to open the eyes of your heart as you are reading the light of His Word. The Bible is the only book that every time you open it, the Author is there with you. Bring Him a humble heart with the opened book. He will teach you personally.
The historical Age of Enlightenment led to a rise of even more fleshly accomplishments for mankind to then use to boast even more of his favorite topic: himself. Without the revealed light of God's Word, no matter how lauded, a blinded heart is blind.
For the Christian every time we unfold our hearts as flowers before Him, He is always there to give us light. The eyes of our hearts can be enlightened by His Word so that we acknowledge, boast of, and walk in the truth that is in Jesus Christ.
God will teach you, enlighten you, and cause you to understand it with the same power, fervor, and life as when He originally gave it unto those holy men of old to write these inspired Scriptures down for the very first time.
Psalm 36:7 – 9 ESV
7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
Open your Bible, open your eyes,
and let there be light!
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