|Series Theme: Meditations in Ephesians|
Meditation No. 10
Meditation Title: Prayer for Revelation
Eph 1:17-19 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
To take hold of the wonder of what we are reading in Scripture we sometimes have to break down verses into small parts, and no more so that in Paul's writing which is so ‘content-filled'. There is so much here that we can only create an outline for further meditation. There are two sets of things that Paul wants for these Ephesian believers.
The first request that he has been making of God is that the Lord will give them wisdom and revelation, but it's not merely that it's the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, implying that these two things are given or enabled by the Holy Spirit, i.e. it is not merely human wisdom but it is wisdom from God in line with God's will (in fact anything that is contrary to God's will is not wisdom!). So why these two things? Wisdom is ‘knowing how to'; it is all about knowing how to live in line with God's will. Revelation is God-given insight into His will. It is seeing what others have not been able to see because it is only given through having a relationship with the One who sees and knows all things, and it brings understanding to who we are and who He wants us to be, as we see in what follows.
But there is an outworking of this wisdom and revelation; it is “so that you may know him better”. A relationship is all about getting to know someone and our relationship with the Lord is no different. We can get to know about Him but we really need to know Him personally and experientially. Before I went out with the girl who eventually became my wife, I could find out about her from others, but that is nothing like getting to know her by living with her for the past thirty five years or so. Our relationship with the Lord doesn't only mean us getting to know what the Christian life is all about as found in the New Testament of our Bibles, but it is also all about getting to know Him, so that we know what He's like and what He feels and how He acts. Yes, part of that learning process comes through reading His word, but part of it also comes as we interact with Him and as He speaks, guides, and directs us and does things in us and around us, and how we learn as we respond to Him.
But Paul doesn't want to it rest there. He wants us to know that we have a future and that he refers to in the second request he makes: “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.” Now that is a funny way of putting it. When the Bible speaks about our heart it doesn't mean that muscle-pump that pushes blood around our body, it is a way of saying, that inner part of us that drives and energises us, where thoughts, feelings, conscience and will combine to direct us, our personality if you like, our inner being. Whatever it is, Paul says that he wants this inner person that we really are to be able to ‘see' so that we are ‘enlightened' or illumined, which speaks about light being shed in our understanding – that's why we need revelation.
Now again he wants this so that it will have a practical outworking, in order that you may know. As a man thinks, so he is, says one version of a part of the Old Testament. Just because we walk and live by faith doesn't mean to say that we don't know anything. We might think that because to ‘know' sounds very definite. Well, Paul wants us to be definite; he wants us to have specific knowledge and the understanding that goes with it. There are three things he wants us to know, and we see them as three separate things or all expressions of the same thing.
The first thing he wants us to know is “the hope to which he has called you.” Hope is all about the future. We only hope for what we do not yet have. But that hope means everything that He has for us from this day on, which includes every day we have on this earth and well as all of eternity in heaven. Solomon said, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” (Prov 4:18) Paul said similarly, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor 3:18) Both Old and New Testament declare the same thing, our relationship with the Lord is to be ongoing and growing. That is the hope we have this side of heaven – increased blessing.
The second thing he wants us to know is, “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,” i.e. the outworking of all that he has done for us through the Cross, realised in our lives here on earth. The hope we just referred to, of future blessing this side of heaven, is what Paul now calls our ‘ glorious inheritance'.
Finally an aspect of that: “and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” All of these ‘riches' are in fact the things He does in us by the power of the Holy Spirit that He has put in us. This power delivers us from the power of sin that had previously reigned over us, and it transforms us into the likeness of Jesus. What we are incapable of doing, He does. But it's not only His power in us but when he says it is ‘for' us, He means that God uses His power not only to change us inwardly, but also to change our circumstances. So never look at your life circumstances and think you will always be locked in to what you know and experience now. God's power is there working for us, to make us what He wants us to be and to change our circumstances to make us a blessing to the world.
So, it is power for living, power to receive all of God's goodness, here on earth in our daily lives this side of heaven so that our lives shine brighter and brighter. That is the wonder of the Christian life.