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.
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.
I have to admit to you here that I am really not very good at memorizing scripture. I want to be, but even when I will decide I am going to memorize a verse or a passage of scripture, I fail at it miserably. I just have a hard time remembering the scripture in relation to its address if you will. I do know verses that I have studied in my heart enough for the Holy Spirit to bring them to my mind. But for the life of me, I rarely can call to mind immediately where it is in scripture. I am getting a little better in that I can narrow it down. But most of the time I still have to go to my search in my Bible app to find exactly where it is. That is, except for the verses I memorized in my younger years. Those, I can usually recite the verse and the reference.
The Psalmist starts this passage out with a question. “How can a young man keep his way pure? It is not known for certain that David was the author of this Psalm, but many scholars believe he was. I read also, that this Psalm may not have been written in one sitting but may have been pieced together with several different writings. Let’s just say if it was David, his question most likely was about himself. He was asking “how can I keep myself pure?” And he answered himself too ~ “By guarding it according to your Word.” David knew the importance of knowing the scriptures. This is no different for us. The best way for anyone to know the path that God will have for us is to study the scriptures and yes, to memorize them.
For years I loved reading devotionals and books about the Bible more than I loved reading the Bible. I hate to say that but it’s true. I had a hard time understanding the words I was reading. But the more I study scripture the more I fall in love with scripture. I came to realize over time the importance of reading scripture and praying for understanding. After all;
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;” Psalm 19:7
This is also why I love to study with different translations that are simpler for my feeble brain to understand, like The Passion Translation, The Message and the New Living Translation. These translations are written in a simpler language for understanding. Now I always use an ESV, NIV or NKJV to go along side of it too, as I believe those translations to be more in line with the original Hebrew, (and there are many more, these are just my favorites). But I believe using those written in simpler languages are good tools to gain understanding of the passage. I also simply enjoy the poetic language that they come up with.
David, (or the author of this Psalm) had come to an understanding that the way to seek God and to stay on track was to study scripture. People will often be surprised at me getting up as early as I do to study and to write. But the truth is I do it for my own self preservation. I have learned that I am a better person to deal with as the day goes on if I start my day with the Lord and study His word before other humans have to come into contact with me. I also find that when I stay in the word and as I study, more scripture will come to my mind as I encounter various things throughout my day. I may not be good at remembering the address of all my favorite passages but the more I study the more I can recount the words and that is what matters most. That’s the hiding it in my heart, and as I hide it in my heart, maybe I will handle the hard things of my day more in line with the way Jesus would have me to.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Knowing scripture is as relevant to us as it was to David all those thousand years ago. Just as this passage says it is living and active, it pierces my soul when I am wrong and helps me to discern my thoughts and intentions. And the more I study scripture the more I love scripture. I love how David points out that he delights in the testimonies and statutes of God’s word. If you, like me have a hard time understanding God’s word, pray for understanding. Pull other translations or a commentary to gain understanding. I promise you the more you study, the more you will delight and the more you delight in God’s word the more you will be guarding your heart according to His word.