Sermon Illustrations

IMPACT OF SCRIPTURE MEMORIZATION: PSALM 119

Scripture memorization is a great challenge to a modern day saints. But in the old days, many of the saints of God would memorize large portions of Scripture because they were devoted to God.

One such man was John Ruskin. He lived in the nineteenth century in Great Britain and was raised by a mother who was unsparing of herself and others. One of the things she made him do was memorize Scripture. He memorized Psalms 23, 32, 90, 91, 103, 112, 119, and 139.

Later in his life when he was writing some about some of his life experiences, he wrote, "It is strange that of all the pieces of the Bible which my mother taught me, that which cost me most to learn, and which was, to my childish mind, chiefly repulsive--the 119th Psalm--has now become of all the most precious to me in its overflowing and glorious passion of love for the Law of God."

Another man was William Wilberforce who fought slavery in London and was largely responsible for its downfall wrote in his diary in the year of 1819: "Walked today from Hyde Park Corner, repeating the 119th Psalm in great comfort."

Henry Martyn, a missionary to India, memorized Psalm 119 as an adult in 1804. He had an extremely laborious life but he wrote that it was the Bible alone that gave him the strength to keep on going. He died of exhaustion in 1812.

David Livingstone, the pioneer missionary to Africa, won a Bible from his Sunday school teacher by repeating Psalm 119 by heart when he was nine years old.

One Irish pastor out of the Keswick convention said that God did not call him to ministry but his mother did. I don't recommend this kind of calling but he said that his mother told him on her death-bed, "Derrick, my boy, you have the gift of gab. But you don't know the Word. If you'd learn the Word, the Lord might be able to use you." He took what she had to say to heart, determined to study the Bible, and within three weeks of his mother's death was preaching!

(From a sermon by Philip Harrelson, A Clean Life With a Hidden Deposit, 5/14/2012)

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