There is no book like God’s Book. Whether you are a spiritual baby or a mature saint, God’s Word applies to you! The Word of God has sanctifying power in the life of the believer. In Psalm 119:9-16, we see that God’s Word has the authority to sanctify the soul and enable one to walk in purity. In this biblical text, I want to draw your attention to the Psalmists important question in verse 9, and then his corresponding answer. Finally, we will look at the Psalmists practical steps for walking in purity.
A Pressing and Personal Question about Purity
The Psalmist begins in verse 9 with a necessary question, which sets the tone for the entire passage, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” The world will tell you, if you are young, “Enjoy life now, eat, drink, marry, while you’re young!” They are not asking the question, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” or “How do I keep my way pure?” The real Christian who asks this necessary question is the one who desires to please God since the Lord has taken their heart of stone and replaced it with a new heart with new desires and new affections for Himself. As you read this right now, I urge you to ask the question right now,“How can I keep my way pure? and “How can I live to please God?” Knowing the personal and pressing nature of these questions, along with their implications for all of life the Psalmist begins with them.
Walking in Communion with the Lord through His Word
As we continue in Psalm 119:9-16, we come to verse 9 that answers our previous questions, namely that we keep our way pure by “guarding it according to your word.” A Christian keeps their ways pure by guarding it according to the Word of God! The one who keeps their way pure is the one who charts the course of their entire life out according to God’s Word. They are not looking to the standards of the world. Instead, they are looking to what is laid out in the Scripture, and submitting to what it says about all of life lived under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. While it is true that personal holiness and purity are primarily realized by guarding, keeping, and living your life according to God’s Word, we must ask ourselves the question, “How do I keep my way pure? “We do so by keeping in step with Word of God. There is sanctifying power in the Word of God that produces holiness in your life. Thus, the Psalmist shows us that there is only one way to keep your way pure and that it is to guard your life according to God’s Word.
Following Christ in Purity
Psalm 119:10-16 outlines the practical steps of purity for our lives. First, we are to have a devotion to God (v10). The Psalmist says, “with my whole heart I seek you.” We are to seek God with our entire heart! If we are to guard our life by God’s Word, we must seek God Himself. Obedience to God’s Word is a result of our love for God (John 14:15).
Next, we are to Store up God’s Word (v11). Scripture alone has sanctifying power to keep a person from straying into sin. Through the power of God’s Word, the Psalmist is assured that he might not sin against God. We are to store and guard the Word in our hearts, that it may not be forgotten. It is this type of internalization of the Word that keeps the young man pure.
Additionally, we must be taught God’s Word (v12). The Psalmist humbles himself to be taught the Word. We must ask God to teach us his statutes if we are to understand His Word. We must humbly come before God and say, “Teach me your Word!” The Psalmist recognizes that God must be the primary instructor. This is necessary if we are to understand God’s Word, both in its meaning and practical application. The Psalmist then goes on to show us the practice of declaring God’s Word (v13). We see that both learning and living the Scripture comes when the Psalmist declares and recounts God’s Word over and over. The more we speak about Scripture, the more it will become ingrained in our minds. Then, we will begin to talk about the Scriptures without even realizing!
Meditating on and Retaining the Word of God
Psalm 119:14 talks about rejoicing in God’s Word (v14). Psalm 119:15 speaks to meditating on God’s Word (v15), and Psalm 119:16 about retaining God’s Word (v16). In verse 14, the Psalmist rejoices/ in God’s Word, as one who has found great riches, a precious treasure!
The Psalmist shows us that as we rejoice in God’s Word, we will have an increasing desire to keep it. When we ponder the pure grace and mercy of God, that He would give us this sufficient Book, this should make us want to keep it. To not only rejoice in it, but to meditate on the Scripture, recalling it in your mind, and then delighting in it brings great pleasure. We are to engrave the written Word of God onto our minds by meditation. By meditation, we draw our strength and nourishment to keep the Word. Finally, the Psalmist shows us the importance of Scripture memorization, as he retains the Word into his mind. He says, “I will not forget your word!” We must be resolved not to forget God’s Word, but recall it day after day, moment by moment.
A true Christian keeps his way pure by guarding, keeping, and measuring their lives according to the Word of God. To grow in purity before the Lord, we must devote ourselves to storing up His Word in our hearts and submit wholly to the authority of the Word. Only then will we delight to sit at the feet of the Word and be instructed by the Lord of the Word Jesus Christ.