Psalm 119 - Beth (The Secret For Staying Pure)
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
The Psalmist asked the question, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity?” This question has stayed relevant through the ages, and indeed very pertinent in the progressively liberal society we live in today. The Psalmist provided the answer too, “By living according to your (God’s) word.”
The Psalmist must have reflected upon the mistakes of his youth when he added, “do not let me stray from your commands.” The Psalmist then revealed his way of staying away from sin, “I have hidden your (God’s) word in my heart”. This is a great strategy. If we hide gold and silver, why don’t we hide God’s word, which is much better than gold and silver? Do you keep God’s word preciously in your heart? Ancient writers attributed this psalm to David and he had lost a son because of his adultery with Bathsheba. A lack of purity can be very destructive. This psalm shows the seriousness the Psalmist had towards purity.
The Psalmist praised God and asked of God, “teach me your decrees.” Do you ask God to teach you His way to righteousness? Or is that the least thing you want to learn from God? How am I learning the word of God as a student? Have I stopped learning?
The Psalmist had committed God’s laws to memory and he could “recount all the laws that come from your (God’s) mouth.” Do you commit scriptures to memory? This is an effective way in helping us stay righteous. It was how Jesus resisted temptations too.
The Psalmist compared his joy in following God’s word as “as one rejoices in great riches.” From his comparison, we can tell how much following God’s statutes mean to him. Do you regard obedience to God as a chore or a joy?
The Psalmist would “mediate... and consider” God’s ways. He would think about what God’s word was saying to him and which way the Spirit wanted him to go. And as he found out the marvel of God’s words, it became a “delight” to him. He read God’s word and went away thinking, “This is awesome! How I wish I could know this earlier!” But as awesome and delightful the word of God is; it has no effect on us if we neglect them.
Do we delight in the word of God? Many say it is hard to follow. It is indeed difficult because we fall so easily into the temptations of Satan. But the first question we ought to ask ourselves is whether we find goodness in God’s words and delight in them. If our answer is yes, we are not too far from God. When we stop neglecting His words, we become stronger and will not stray as easily from God’s command.
But what if our answer is no? Then we have a problem. The problem isn’t with God’s words. The problem is we have yet to find the goodness of God. We need to be devoted to studying and meditating on His word. John 4:24 teaches that we worship God in truth and in spirit. We need to have the head knowledge of God’s words to begin with.
Going back to the Psalmist’s opening question, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity?” The answer is provided - Live according to God’s words. There are many instructions from God for us to follow, but they can all be summed up into two commands, which are to love God and to love our neighbours. Following a checklist of ‘Dos and don’ts’ won’t really help us to be spiritual. Instead, we should live a life of freedom in Christ that overflows from a heart that loves God and our neighbours.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.