9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word. 10 I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. 11 I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. 12 Lord, may You be praised; teach me Your statutes. 13 With my lips I proclaim all the judgments from Your mouth. 14 I rejoice in the way revealed by Your decrees as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways. 16 I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Psalm 119 is one that has amazed believers for its beauty on the emphasis of God’s teaching and guidance from His Word. This psalm is composed as an acrostic, a type of poetic device that’s used for memory or recitation.
Psalm 119 demonstrates this type of poetry as each line begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Such beauty is appreciated as you think or meditates carefully on each section of it.
The first section, verses 1-8, begins with the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, aleph or א. It’s a declaration over the blessings of God’s instruction revealed to us in His Word.
Then, verses 9-16 begin with the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Bet or בּ. This section continues the theme of God’s instruction that should be treasured in order to ensure blameless living before Yahweh.
God desires us to be like Him—to be holy. It’s important to adopt the conviction that spending time in God’s Word is necessary for our growth in discernment and holy living.
By carefully meditating on God’s Word, it prepares our minds, hearts, and hands for responding favorably to obedient living. This is important to fulfill what the Psalmists describe as God’s commands. They’re to be viewed as a “delight” (verse 16) as we resolve to keep God’s Word close in sight (verse 11).
I’ve found a few spiritual practices to be very helpful when keeping God’s Word “hidden in my heart.” One way is to memorize it. Sometimes I pick a verse from my daily Bible reading or study. I usually write the verse down on a 3x5 note card.
Another way has been through journaling about my daily Bible reading. I’ve found it very enriching to write about what has significantly impacted me from it.
Here is a helpful tool I’ve used: SPECK:
- S – Sin to confess
- P – Promise to hold – Where in Scripture do I find a promise that God has for me (like being His child found in John 1:12)?
- E – Example to follow or avoid – Is there a person in the passage whom I should be like or steer away from?
- C – Command to obey – This is similar to our passage today, which speaks about keeping our way pure by hiding or guarding God’s Word in our hearts.
- K – Knowledge to obtain – There might be something I’m reading that seems new to me, something I might not have paid close attention to in the past.
Memorizing and journaling are two practices that help me in guarding God’s treasures of His Word in my heart. Maybe you can start with memorizing Psalm 119:9 and 11 today.
Using Psalm 119:9-16, practice hiding God’s Word in your heart with a few suggestions:
- Read the passage a few times. Each time you read, ask God if there’s one verse for you to hide in your heart or commit to memorizing.
- Choose the verse you’ll commit to memorize and write on a 3x5 index card or in your journal.