Summary: What do I have to do to live a pure life before God? The psalmist asks this question of himself, and of those he is instructing... In these verses the psalmist sets forth a series of actions on the part of the follower, and what those actions will do to h
How can I live a pure life before God? This is the question posed by the Psalmist here in the Beth section of Psalm 119 (v.9-16) We find ourselves asking that same question… “How can I be holy? How can I be pure before God?” and many of us fall into the lie and deception of Satan thinking that it is about living a life of perfection and trying our best to NOT sin…
Now sin is bad and we must seek to avoid it, but trying to live a perfect life is NOT what we are called to do… we are called to live an obedient life, and in that obedience we find purity through God’s promises! We find holiness at the feet of Christ through our obedience to His calling and commands…
When we look at this passage we find that the psalmist poses this question and then uses the rest of this section to answer that question… almost like a self-teaching moment for him, although it was more than likely a teaching moment for those who he was teaching!
When the psalmist presents this question of “How can I be pure before God?” he answers it by a series of action/reason statements or if/then statements…
Let’s go through our passage tonight and glean from each verse what God has for us to learn.
9How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word…
The psalmist is advocating action on his part… human effort is a large part to living the holy and pure life before God. We cannot do it alone or on our own, but God is not going to provide purity or holiness to the person who is UNWILLING to choose to seek purity or holiness… we cannot sit around and wait on God to purify us or bring holiness to us… God has called to live OUT our lives and our choices reflect the holiness and purity that only He brings into our lives when we are obedient.
However, before we get to the 1st verse I want us to see something that the psalmist implies in this passage. The implication from this set of verses is that holiness can only come from the Word of God… from the Precepts of God… and there is NO amount of human effort that will result in holiness or purity before God.
All the ‘actions’ proposed by the psalmist here in this passage are all relying upon God’s word and God’s commands to bring about purity… the psalmist knows (as should we) that we are useless on our own, and that only when we subject ourselves to God can we see the purity and holiness called for in our lives!
Here in v.9 we can read the psalmist says that the way to be holy and pure is to constantly be on guard against evil by knowing and applying the Word of God to your life. His assessment is that it is ONLY God’s word that can bring about purity and protect us from the evil one…
10With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
In this verse we see the psalmists projecting another if/then statement… or as I call it another action/reason event that is meant to keep him holy and pure.
He states that with his WHOLE heart he will seek God… he is stating that he desires to find God and keep God in his sights. He does not wish to wander from His word or commands.
His action of seeking is yet another voluntary and willful submission to God’s Lordship in his life. It reveals a need for something that he does NOT have, as he is seeking God’s instruction to be engraved on his heart!
He is focused on seeking God and God’s Word and he realizes that if he will focus on seeking God’s word that his heart will not wander from it… How often do we find ourselves wandering from God only to realize it is because we have stopped seeking diligently after Him.
11I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
This is a verse that is memorized by many believers and is quoted by many others… I again see an action on the part of the psalmist in his effort to be pure before God. That action is storing up in his heart, God’s instruction!
He is making the voluntary and willful action to not only SEEK after God’s word but to actively remember it and store it in his mind. The term ‘stored up’ that is used here by the psalmist is the Hebrew word tsah-faw’n which literally refers to hiding something away because it is so valuable… saving it up for a day when it will be needed at another time.