…Lingering on the Sunday Message… 11/1/09

November 1, 2009


Notes taken from the Sunday message at Mountain Bridge Bible Fellowship as delivered by Pastor Kevin Boling.

 Continuing on Psalm 119, we begin the second stanza.

9 BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

Verse nine starts out as the “thesis statement” for the stanza.  The young man (or anyone for that matter) is someone susceptible to the enticements of the world; of sin.  We all have our moments of self-strength; of thinking that we have entirely everything in hand.  The Lord knows, though, (and so should we) that we are all hopeless, helpless and lost in our sin without His intervention.  An all important question is posed, followed by the answer: How can I cleanse my way?  By taking heed thereto according to thy Word.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

God’s Word is capable of arresting us in the moment and keeping us from sin.  It rebukes us of the sins we do commit and it leads us to the Gospel and the only way our sins are removed.

John 17:8  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 

14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.


 With the world telling a young man “go forth and seek popularity, pleasure, prosperity – without fear experiment and dabble in sin”, does not this question in verse nine seem antiquated and prudish?  To the world, perhaps.  To the saved, it is the way of peace.  God’s expectations are for us to be holy; “Be ye holy as I am Holy”.

Romans 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

In the answer we are called to take “Heed.”  Refer back to the first stanza and observe again the call to “Keep” oneself.

For application:

  1. Total Devotion; verse 10;   Everything flows from loving God; the key to obeying God.  Legalism is an attempt to keep the “rules” of the law without the love of God.
  2. Treasure; verse 11;  God’s Word is our treasure we hide in our heart to keep us from sinning against Him.
  3. Taught; verse 12;  We look to God to show us all that is necessary for life and godliness.
  4. Talk; verse 13;  Psalm 45:1  “My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”  Those being purified speak of the things of God.
  5. Thrilled; verse 14;  What profit is it to gain the whole world but lose your soul?
  6. Think; verse 15;  Real change towards sanctification and real closeness with God comes through quiet, fervent meditation of God’s Word.
  7. Take Pleasure; verse 16; The Word of God makes us blind to the things of the world that use to give us pleasure. 

Lastly, a personal thought about the reading of this psalm.

I love the art of stage theatre.  When I was in college and studying the technique of writing screenplays, we would often compare the styles of stage and cinema.  Used as learning illustrations, these exercises created an appreciation for how a playwright would express his passion.  As opposed to films, which are very ‘noisy’ in comparison, plays use soliloquies; one actor, standing alone, delivering with high passion the turmoil or joy of their affections.  For me, many of the psalms, and this one in particular, read as powerful soliloquies.  As we’ve seen from the beginning of this study, this psalm is indeed a very structured Hebrew poem; and if David is indeed the psalmist we know the passion and beauty with which he beheld our Lord.  Imagine, if you will, David standing alone, perhaps in his royal court, or perhaps in a pasture.  Ply your affections to these verses and let the Psalmist’s passion grip your spirit with the power of God’s instruction.  You don’t have to make yourself sound like Richard Burton, but simply read these lines out loud, calmly and evenly with feeling.  We aren’t to let our affections cloud our judgement of Holy Scripture, but God’s Word is much more than black letters on a white page.  There is humanity and divine guidance here; and much more substance than we could ever hope to attain unto.  I believe you’ll see that reading God’s Word out loud is a meditation aid that can lead to further understanding.



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