Beth – Psalm 119v9-16
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.
Welcome back to Scriptural Delights, our series going through the wonder that is Psalm 119! Here is our fourth podcast. Today we look briefly at the second of its twenty-two letters – Beth
From verse 9, it would seem that the young man is the writer himself. He is seeking wholeheartedly a way to keep himself pure and upright before God. He is pleading most earnestly not to stray from obeying God and God’s commands! The commands are so embedded with him that they form his very being, such is this young man’s desire not to sin against the Lord.
He then goes on to complete this section, celebrating with great joy the virtues of Gods Word, commands and laws! He is full of praise because God teaches him! He rejoices at the depth of following God and being obedient to Him! He meditates, reflects, contemplates God’s ways and promises not neglect God and God’s promises. Where in verse 11, he says “word” that is better translated as “promise”, number 8 in our list of meanings in the second of this series. He will keep God’s promises within himself as a reminder of God’s goodness and holiness.
It is a reminder to us all that when we are struggling with some aspect of faith, to remember God’s promise to us. When the evil one comes knocking and says that God has abandoned you, remember that God has not abandoned you, will not abandon you and has a grip on you!
The Psalmist describes the benefits of reading and meditating upon the Bible. God’s words become a delight as he follows God’s decrees. A sense of wonder is instilled as God’s word is meditated upon. Strength overcomes tiredness as he listens to God speaking through the Bible. These are also true for the Christian disciple!
The promises of God are valid and they are trustworthy! God is both capable of both trusting and being capable of being trusted. The young man writing this would be familiar with the Covenant God had made with Moses. He would have known that the commandments were given so they would know how to relate socially to God. He would know that the judgments were given in order that people could relate socially to each other. Finally, he would remember that the decrees dictated their religious life so that God could be approached by humanity on His terms. And for all that, the Psalmist knew that salvation was from God’s grace and not through blind obedience to a list of rules.
In Jesus Christ, you have His promises written on your heart if you are a follower of Him. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you have God the Holy Spirit within you! When you are struggling, ask Him for help! Read your Bible faithfully and consistently, all of it – not just the favourite parts! God the Holy Spirit will remind you of things contained within it, just when you need it or need to give it to another person! Remember key Bible verses and use them to be obedient to Him and to lovingly direct others to be obedient to Him! We are to feed our minds with that which is pure, and then it will be easier to control your thought life.. There is an old saying, that if you put garbage in, you will get garbage out. Thoughts come from the outside, its what you do with the thought that matters! Sinful desires often start out as thoughts and are easily inflamed, played upon or enlarged quickly.
Do you have an area of your life where you are particularly vulnerable to disobey God? Then learn what God has to say in the Bible about that area of life, and memorise some verses about it! Jesus Christ, the only person ever to live a fully obedient life to God, used the Scriptures constantly! We can do likewise, because if we are followers of Jesus Christ, we have God the Holy Spirit inside us to help us recall what we have read and endeavoured to memorise!