9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Would You Pray With Us Today?
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
How to Stay Clean?
How can a person stay clean in this filthy world? A teacher who imparts wisdom to others, the psalmist memorably asks and answers this rhetorical question: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” (v.9)
Lord God, you do not hide your answer from us. “Keep your way clean by obeying my words.” This command from our great Father is is familiar, unchanging, and sincere. But Adam, the first man who was made and loved by you, did not keep your word. As a result, we all died in our sins and transgressions, and have tasted the bitter fruit of sin.
Lord, my God and Father, I thank you that you have prepared salvation for us. The Lord Jesus kept your word, died, and rose again for our sins. Through him we are reconciled to you. Your sovereign grace has come and we are accepted as your children in Christ. I am no longer an orphan – I have a father, I have someone to rely on, I have a dad to guide me.
As he heeds God’s word and seeks prayer (v. 10), the psalmist responds to God wisely. This is further explained in the next sentence (v. 11: “I have stored up your word in my heart”). The psalmist knows that the fruit of one’s life emanates from the heart.
Precious Things Well-Hidden
To really treasure God’s word and make good use of it, precious things need to be hidden in a good place. Jesus hid God’s word in his heart, and used it to overcome temptation in the face of repeated trials from the devil and the scribes. Joseph’s father taught him to hide God’s word in his heart, and when he saw his brothers’ sins of lying and stealing, he refrained from them. Although he was far from his father and from God’s people, when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, he said the same heartfelt words as the psalmist: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
As I write this, my heart is overwhelmed! The Lord chose me at a young age, and when it was time for marriage, I did not follow the world by looking for an unbeliever to wed. I think I must have had God’s word hidden in my heart: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” It is because of the grace and protection of God that I did not sin against him.
O God my Father, so often now I do not thirst for your word. Have mercy on me and make me thirsty!
Our Words The Cries of Our Heart
When preaching God’s word, whatever fills your heart will be what comes out of your mouth; our words are the cries of our heart. God’s word is sweeter than honey dripping from the honeycomb, and more precious than fine gold. Money can bring temporary satisfaction, but it cannot purchase life. But what about the God who gives wealth? His words are spirit and life! Twenty years ago, I nearly died from a severe illness. But I thank the Lord for keeping me alive by reliance on his word. I have deeply tasted the preciousness of God’s word.
Meditate on the word of God: “Blessed is the man…[whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
God’s truth sets people free. The psalmist understands that, in order to bear the fruit of a free, joyful, and abundant life, the heart must be connected to the source of the living water of God’s word. I thank you, Lord, for your unfailing love. My dry life has been rejuvenated by your word, and in Christ, I have tasted the freedom and joy found in your word.
Ma Xiaochen (a pseudonym) lives in a third-tier city on the northeast coast of China. She and her husband, a pastor, have an adult son and a teenage daughter.
I thank you LORD, my loving Father, for letting me hear your great and precious words again through the Psalms. This psalm is for the captive people of God, who were taken captive because they did not listen to the word of God. I thank you, Lord, that you are full of mercy and still speak to people through the psalmist. Thank you, Lord, for speaking to me, one who is a part of the people of God through the new covenant.