Today's blog is actually a combination of two different Bible Studies that are included in my book "STRENGTH FOR TODAY" that will be available shortly from Xulon Press. Once again, my desire is to give all of you a preview of this daily devotional book, so you get a "flavor" of its contents. Until then, may today's blog posting encourage your heart.
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psa. 119:9,11)
Psalm 119 is a virtual gold mine of truth as it relates to the practical value of Scripture memory and meditation. Our verse for today is a prime example.
First, consider the Cleansing Power of the Word of God. “How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” In what sense does the Bible cleanse us, that is, keep us spiritually clean? Simply in this: when we “hide” God’s Word in our hearts, it serves as a preventative against sin. It provides for us the power to resist temptation. It keeps us clean from the defilement of this world. Notice the wording here. It is in the future tense: “that I might not sin.” (vs.11) Only the blood of Jesus can wash away sin (once committed), and only the Word of God can prevent sin before it occurs. Jesus told His disciples about this in the upper room. “Now you are clean through the Word that I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3) What is it that keeps the bride’s garments clean and white? Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul: “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the Word—that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing.” (Eph. 5:26-27) Spending time in the Book each day will keep our hearts clean because it will keep us from falling into the filth of sin.
Second, consider the Comforting Power of the Word of God. The word comfort is used by David several times in Psalm 119. “Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.” (vs. 49-50) Oh how many times has God’s precious Word brought comfort to our souls in times of affliction! Christians have testified throughout the ages that, were it not for the comfort of the Scriptures, they never would have made it through their trial. David goes on to say: “I remembered Your judgments of old, O Lord, and have comforted myself.” (vs. 52) This is one of the reasons God gave us His Word. “For whatever things were written before were written for your learning, that we, through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4) Memorizing Scripture is crucial to our victory over temptation and sin. It has been said that “Sin will keep you from this Book, or this Book will keep you from sin.” Just as our daily shower keeps us physically clean, time in God’s Word each day keeps us spiritually clean!
Third, the Illuminating Power of the Word of God. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105) Without direction from God, we are lost. We certainly were lost before we were saved, and it was the Bible that showed us the path to eternal life through Jesus Christ. Now that we are born again Christians, we still need God’s direction and guidance on a daily basis, or we will end up going down a wrong path into sin. Because the old sin nature is still with us, we have a tendency to “go astray.” (Isa. 53:6) We are prone to wander. There is little use asking God to lead us, in some important decision, if we totally ignore all the relevant Scriptures that bear on that decision. God only leads His people according to His Word, and He never leads them down a wrong path. If we honestly and sincerely seek God’s will through His Word, He will shine a light on the way we should go. Like the wise men who traveled from the East to Jerusalem, guided by a star, we need to follow the guiding light, the guiding principles found in the Bible. Yes, God’s Word is truly “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” If the Bible is a closed book, we quickly divert from God’s will, stray far off the right road, and ruin our lives. Every morning we need to open up the Bible and say: “God, show me the way I should go today.” The Psalmist said: “The entrance of Thy words gives light.” All that is left for us is to walk in that light.
Fourth, the Liberating Power of the Word of God. “I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts.” (Psa. 119:45) The truth of the Bible sets us free. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) The Gospel of Jesus Christ sets men free from the chains of sin. It is interesting that James calls the Word of God the “perfect law of liberty.” (James 1:25; 2:12) The message of Jesus (forgiveness of sins) was liberating to those who were trying to live up to the laws (some that were man-made) imposed upon them by the Pharisees. His message was in keeping with His mission: “to proclaim liberty to the captives.” (Isa. 61:1, Luke 4:18) And apart from God’s saving grace, the whole world is held captive to sin and Satan. Praise God, through Christ, we are FREE.