PSALM 119 MEDITATION: WEEK TWO How can a young man keep his way pure?


WEEK TWO: verses 9-16

June 22 Verses 15-16 ("I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.") show volitional, emotional, and intellectual engagement with Scripture. First, the psalmist says he intentionally meditates and fixes his eyes on the Word. That's volitional--an act of the will. Second, he delights in the statutes. That's emotional--a soul response. Third, he declares he will not forget the Word. That's intellectual--a mind response. All of our interactions with Scripture--and indeed with God and our fellows--takes place in these three modes. How does this impact ministry? Here's my thinking: the nature of ministry is determined by the relative strengths and weaknesses of those receiving the ministry. For example, if an individual is very strong in intellectual and emotional engagement, ministry should focus on volitional engagement. Yes, strengths should be strengthened, but balance is important as well.

June 21 (ponderings from the weekend past) PONDERING #1 Verse 9 asks and answers a common question: "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word." I was taught as a child that memorized passages of Scripture guard your heart--this verse says so. But reading it fresh, the verse does not say this. It says we keep our way pure by guarding our hearts ACCORDING TO God's word. The American Heritage Dictionary says this phrase means "1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians. 2. In keeping with: according to instructions. 3. As determined by: a list arranged according to the alphabet." It is not the Word itself, but the Word-approved type of guarding that keeps us pure. So, what's that? Any Ideas? PONDERING #2 We can do only what we can do, and then only by grace. PONDERING #3 In the Message, verse 12 reads, "Be blessed, GOD; train me in your ways of wise living." My thought, God blesses himself in us. Cool. PONDERING #4 The parallels give an interesting view of guarding: seeking and not wandering (v.10), meditating and fixing one's eyes (.v15), and delighting and not forgetting (v.16).

June 16 There are 10 verbs given in answer to the question, How can a young man keep his way pure?" 1) guarding, 2) seek, 3) not wander, 4) stored up, 5) declare, 6) delight, 7) meditate, 8) fix my eyes, 9) delight, and 10) not forget. Interesting how "delight" shows up twice. This term along with "seek," "meditate," and "fix my eyes," points to the likely possibility that purity is a result of the continuing inclination of our hearts. It's not in working up a frenzied passion. It's not in constantly increasing our intellectual knowledge. It's not in dutifully and paranoicly [is that a word?] obeying every jot and tittle. It's about our heart. Passion, knowledge, and duty follow from the inclination of the heart; they are not the cause of the inclination of the heart. So, the question remains, what is the cause of the inclination of the heart?

All verses are quoted from the ESV.

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