This teaching by Pastor Barry was recorded at our family service on Sunday 28th August 2016. This is the 3rd session in our verse-by-verse study of Psalm 119.
The first four verses of this Psalm outline God’s perfect standard for any who would truly follow Him, with a whole heart. The next four verses recall the hope we have that one day we will be conformed, transformed and renewed outwardly as well as inwardly. We will awake in the likeness of Christ (Psalm 17:15), and all the troubles, trials and temptations of this life will be past (1 Cor 15:53).
But until that time we are to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). We are to “walk in the Spirit, and not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Gal 5:16). We are to “walk worthy of the calling wherein we are called” (Eph 4:1). But how? How are we to do this when we are continually wrestling against the world, the flesh and the devil?
The remainder of this Psalm is your guidebook to walking a life of victory! That may sound quite a claim, but this Psalm is the voice of experience. It has been there before and has been given to us by the Holy Spirit to be a companion on our journey, an instructor with Godly counsel.
In this study of verses 9-16 (all of which begin with the Hebrew letter ‘Beth’ – equivalent to a letter ‘B’), the Psalmist asks the question, “How can a young man cleanse his way?”
Whilst having a specific application to young men, this is a question for all of us, male, female, young and old. But note the question, how can the way be cleansed? Or, if you will, how can we clear our path of the obstacles to our faith that would hinder of trip us up? How can we clear the way ahead of us at the start of each day so that our walk of faith will not be compromised?
The truth is that we all struggle with temptation; be it an attitude of heart or mind that can be stirred by another person or circumstances; or maybe lust, covetousness, unbelief, fear or some other compromise. So the best thing is to avoid temptation altogether! As Paul said to the Roman believers “make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lust thereof”! (Rom 13:14), because if you do (and you already know this from personal experience!), the flesh will take every opportunity! Paul also told the Thessalonians to “Abstain from all appearance of evil”! i.e. don’t even do things that you might think are ok, but that others might perceive to be wrong. Don’t get into the deep end thinking you will be ok, because none of us can swim against the tide of sin.
So what is the answer?
It is something so simple yet so profound it will take a lifetime understand and apply. The answer is the we MUST take heed to the Word of God!
To take head means we must know what it says, we must read it and meditate upon it. Then we must live it out!
The Word of God speaks not only of the written Word, but the Word made flesh – Jesus. Christ is in us as believers, but we must be in Christ too. Immersed in Him and His ways.
As a practical step, just take one verse of this Psalm a day (start today!), and meditate on it throughout the day. Start at breakfast, then remind yourself mid morning of the verse. Then again at lunchtime, then in the afternoon, then as you sit to eat your evening meal, then in the evening, and finally when you go to bed (see Psalm 119:164). It might be helpful to get a notebook and jot down the things the LORD reveals to you. You will be amazed at the things the Holy Spirit will reveal, about your life, your walk, His goodness and patience, and the reality that He is able to make us stand! (Romans 14:4).