Delighting the Dirt out of Youth: A Meditation on Psalm 119:9-16

“By what means shall a young man clean up his way?  By keeping it according to Your word” (Psalm 119:9).

Are you young?  Or, are you concerned about the young?  How will a young man clean up his life? By the Word.  The Word of God.  He needs the Word.  By nature, we all start out dirty, and only by the word do we become clean.

But how many young men today know the word? Not church attendance.  Not regular Bible reading.  Not Christian schooling.  How many know the word? If you are young, I want you to consider this question: Do you know the message God has given you in the Scriptures?  Can you parrot back to Him what He has given to you?  In other words, do your lips repeat what came from His mouth (v. 13)?  If not, why not?  Why have you not retained what you have heard or read, after so many hours of training?  Or, if you have never been trained, why have you so often passed by the opportunity, as if the Bible were not at least worth a hearing?  Consider some missing factors.

First, put your heart into it. Both verses ten and eleven begin with the heart, even once to “all my heart”:

“With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (vv. 10-11).

In other words, be sincere; or as Jim Elliot once said, “Wherever you are, be all there.”  Whether in the pew or in the desk, watch where your heart is.  So amazing is our design by God that in our heart, we can be all over the universe while not moving a muscle–and only God knows!  Oh, let your heart go out to God and let His word come into your heart.

Second, direct your pursuits to God. Seek Him.  Make Him your pursuit in life–and not to find Him merely, but to know Him, as the Hebrew word indicates.  In other words, it is not enough to be good or even to obey, but rather to know Him and to not sin against Him.  When you are able to exclaim, “Blessed are YOU, O LORD!” then you will sincerely be able to say, “Teach me Your rules!” (v. 12).

Third, pitch all your delights towards His word. In the final analysis, your delights will make or break you.  So many learn and learn and learn (or so it seems), and never retain the word in their memory because deep down they take no delight in it.  If they did delight in His rules, then they would not forget His word; then their meditation and investigation would bring accumulation, and their accumulation would fuel even more delight, as a man rejoices in great riches (vv. 14-16).  As it is, other delights have caught the imagination and they remain in their sin.

This business of delight shows how utterly essential it is to watch over your entertainment choices.  Far from the taboo-ridden rules of what is permitted or forbidden, the question here is more simple: What do you delight in? It could be G-rated and saccharine-sweet, a favorite game or a quiet past-time, but if it takes the center of your affections, you could sit for hours under the word of God and receive very little benefit.  You have got to love the word for the word to cling to you!  But oh, if you do!

So how about you?  Will you be among the fools, who “despise wisdom and instruction,” treating most other things as more important than spiritual learning (Proverbs 1:7)?  Or, will you be among the few, who take pleasure in the word and thus treasure the word, retaining it in their heart and retraining their lives according to its truth?  Only they are clean, and give evidence that their souls have been born of God by the Spirit through the word (1 Peter 1:22-25).

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