Tuesday, March 31

Psalm 119: Strategies for Growth

What do you have hidden in your heart? What lurks there that no one knows about? Most of us have some secrets.

I remember a story of a lady that withheld money from a tax return over 30 years ago. She was so afraid of the consequences that she kept it secret all that time. The only reason we know anything about her is she sent in the amount (with interest) anonymously!!! She sought to clear her poor, wracked conscience but still held her secret!

Hidden. Does that describe some parts of your life?

Not all things that are hidden are bad. We hide Easter eggs for the kids. We hide presents in the closet before a birthday to keep a secret. Those are good things.

David acknowledged that there was risk in walking away from God and so David hid things in his heart. For him it was a strategy for guarding his life.

Read: Psalm 119:9-16
9How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
10With my whole heart, I have sought you.
Don’t let me wander from your commandments.
11I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12Blessed are you, Yahweh.
Teach me your statutes.
13With my lips,
I have declared all the ordinances of your mouth.
14I have rejoiced in the way of your testimonies,
as much as in all riches.
15I will meditate on your precepts,
and consider your ways.
16I will delight myself in your statutes.
I will not forget your word.

Sin. Sin is a word that people do not like. When you use the word “sin” verses a word like “mistake” you are making a notable difference. “Sin” cannot be used without reference to a moral code and a God that is holy. That is why it is a word people do not like. “Sin” reminds us that we have violated our relationship with Someone.

Sin means “to miss the mark”. It is an archery term used to measure the distance between the bull’s eye and where the arrow actually sticks the target. Draw a line from the arrow and the bull’s eye and you have SIN. If you do not hit the bull’s eye you have missed the mark. So, when we read about sin in the Bible often we can understand that we have missed the mark of God's bull's eye. Pay attention to the creative word use in this verse:

"For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

Romans 3:23

David gives several strategies for not missing the mark with God … several strategies for growth:

1. Be Booked. (v.9). Live according to God’s word. There are many competing ways you can try to live but growth in God cannot be separated from His word, the Scriptures.

2. Be Passionate (v.10, 14, 16). David was not passive toward his walk with God. He was full of passion. Look at the words in these verses!
a. With my WHOLE heart (v.10)
b. I have SOUGHT you (v.10)
c. I have REJOICED in your way …. as in all riches (v.14)
d. I DELIGHT myself in your statutes (v.16)

3. Be Deep (v. 11, 15). David was not content to go to “church” just to get refueled. He took God’s word and the things he learned and he hid them deep inside him. He pushed God’s word down inside him through meditation and reflection. He was not content to water ski when he could scuba dive! He wanted God’s word deep inside so he might not sin against Him. The picture of a hidden stream comes to mind. When David would be tempted and feeling thirsty for something he could draw on this deep, hidden spring of wisdom from God’s word.

One of my mentors from the 1600s said, “What ye love more than Christ your husband is an adulterous lover.” What are you passionate about? Sports? Cars? Friends? Family? Would your friends say you were passionate for Jesus Christ? Has he captured your heart?

Are you pushing God’s word down into deep places? Have you ever experienced the deep, hidden springs of God’s word nourishing you? Have you ever experienced this river flow when you felt down or dry? Just like we used to hear in high school, you cannot make something come into your head for a test if you did not study it! In other words, if it is not already inside you you cannot make it flow up. Doesn’t work that way in school, doesn’t work that way with God.

Choose to meditate on one portion of this Psalm today. Write a verse or phrase on a piece of paper and put it in your pocket. Every time you touch it think about it and hide it away. You never know when it might bubble back up.

DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.