Saturday, July 5. 2008 – Tom Quinlan
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount all the laws
that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
Who has kept Himself pure and undefiled but the Lord Himself? I can almost see Jesus as a young man, or perhaps even a boy, sifting through the Scriptures, meditating on them so that He might discover His identity there and find God’s purpose for His life. According to our view, the Scriptures are written about Jesus and by Him, through Moses and the Prophets. The Gospels clarify that Jesus IS, in fact, the Word made flesh. Would it be a stretch to add that the Scriptures were also in place FOR Him, so that He might have a witness in the earth to the Spirit of the Father in Him?
From the Gospels we can sense the regard that Jesus has for the Scriptures. When He was tempted by Satan, He responded, “It is written… It is written… It is written…” The things stored up there are more real to Him than what His senses tell Him. We can tell that He “knows” Abraham and Moses, David and Solomon. Through the eternal Spirit, He has had fellowship with them.
Only HE has kept Himself pure, but now God has given us His own Spirit through Jesus when He raised Him from the dead. So now we can look for our identity in Him as WE search through the Bible. “How can a young man keep his way pure?” By living according to His Word of course. But then the Psalmist qualifies this effort a cry to God for help. Even though he seeks with ALL his heart, he does not but his trust in the seeking, as he cries out “don’t let me stray from Your commands,” and “teach me Your decrees.”
Without the Spirit of God, even our efforts to seek God are tainted with sin and subject to feeding pride. Thankfully, as Romans 5 declares, while we were still sinners and powerless to please Him, Christ died for us (the ungodly). And if He did this for us when we were still His enemies, now that we belong to Him will He not freely give us everything we need to fulfill His desire in us?
Only He is pure and yet, if WE have been born from above then GOD’s Holy Spirit is living in us, and we will have this reverence and hunger for the Scriptures in OUR own heart. “Be YE holy as I am holy.” This section of Psalm 119 indicates that there should even be a “delight” in His decrees. Jesus says, “I delight to do Thy will” even though the Father’s will is to send Him to a horrible death for the sins of the world. What is it that delights you? What is your top priority in life right now? If it isn’t in fulfilling God’s Word, then may I recommend the parable of the sower to you.
A number of years ago I was considering the statement that some would bear 30 times, some 60 and some 100 times what had been sown in their lives and I was wondering where I fell in these groups. It had not occurred to me that I might not even BE among those bearing fruit, as there ARE other options in the parable. And the Lord spoke to me, as clearly as I have heard anything from Him, that His Word in me was being choked out by the CARES of this world. After the initial sting, those words sparked something in me to seek Him with a renewed intensity, and by His grace I have been ever since that time.
I am not saying this to condemn (as “there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus), but perhaps to be a catalyst to cause you to re-evaluate whether you are walking in His Spirit. His grace is not a license to sin, but is rather a liberating force to strengthen us to walk in the wonderful freedom of who God is.
May we give the Spirit of God something to feed on besides the half-truths and full-fledged lies that bombard us from the world system around us. May His Spirit in us give us the determination NOT to neglect His Word.
The following comments were written to accompany a video posting of my music to Beth on the website JewTube. To date my videos have been removed from there by the administrators of the site three times.
This section of Psalm 119 begins with a question and then gives a qualified answer. How can a young man keep his way pure? Of course it is by living according to God’s Word. It is the interpretation of that Word that gets us into trouble. But verse 10 is right there to address that objection:
I DO seek you with ALL my heart, don’t let me stray from your commands.
Doesn’t this imply that wholehearted seeking does not guarantee a perfect walk with God. As the prophet Jeremiah said,
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Or when Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up in chapter 6 of his own book, he cried out
Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips amidst a PEOPLE of unclean lips.
It took a coal off the true altar in heaven, (which was what Moses patterned the earthy tabernacle after) to cleanse Isaiah’s lips. Some kind of sacrifice had taken place in the heavenlies that was sufficient to cleanse the lips of Isaiah. We need that kind of purifying cleansing in our own lives if we are to see Him and live! I think of Zechariah’s words
On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
Can you guess what I am thinking about THAT? Read Zech ch. 12 and 13 and see what comes to your mind. One more verse from Isaiah chapter one:
Come let us reason together, though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.
If God can make THAT happen, then it is surely reason for delighting in His decrees and rejoicing in His precepts.