By bro Alvin Lin
The book of Psalms is a beautiful book of poetry where the “sweet psalmist of Israel”, David, often expressed His love for the Word of God (2Sa 23:1). At the very beginning of the book, he extoled the blessedness of the man who meditates on God’s law “day and night” (Psa 1:2), and he lived up to his exhortation by meditating on it “all the day” (Psa 119:97). Such meditation on the Scriptures is necessary so that one can keep God’s Word in the heart. In this article, we shall consider 3 reasons why David determined to have God’s Word in his heart.
I will not sin against God
Psa 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. Unless we have the Word of God in our hearts, we will not be “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Ti 2:15), or to have our “senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:12). Such is like a student going into an exam without studying and hoping to get the answers correct. The student may get a few of the basic questions right, but he will not pass the exam. Likewise, a Christian can go through life making some clearly right decisions along the way, but he will not be able to meet God’s standard to enter heaven without truly knowing His Word. And so, having God’s Word is our hearts is of utmost importance so that we “sin not” (1Jo 2:1), and to do so would mean not just a cursory or random reading once in a while, but a conscientious study and reflection upon it.
I delight to do the Will of God
Psa 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Most of us enjoy doing things that are familiar to us and it is no different when it comes to God’s Word. When we are familiar with the Word of God, we will see its true value as the “good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12:2), bearing the “words of eternal life” from our Lord (Joh 6:68). Recall the time when you were a student in school: was it not the case that you excelled in and enjoyed the subjects that you understood well? And the more you enjoyed these subjects, the greater the effort you put into studying these subjects. Conversely, for the subjects that you did not seem to understand, you had no motivation to study for them, resulting in a self-perpetuating downward spiral. In the same way, a Christian who knows God’s Word well will enjoy the study and application of it, but to one who is foreign to the Bible, he will dread the process of Bible study. Consequently, he will have no motivation to learn and to put the teachings into practice. The first step is always the hardest but if we are determined to put in consistent effort into studying God’s Word daily and make it a habit, we will gradually find it easier to understand and do God’s Will when we build our learning “precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isa 28:10).
I shall not fall away
Psa 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
When I was growing up, I often wondered why is it the case that there are Christians decades old in the faith who can suddenly fall away and leave the church. Shouldn’t it be the case that the longer one is in the faith, the stronger his/her faith should be? Logically, that should be so, but I think the root cause is due to a lack of study and practice of God’s Word, which causes the faith to “be taken away even that which he hath” (Mat 25:29). Just as Jesus taught in the parable of the wise and foolish builder, those “that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand” and when the storms of life come, “great was the fall of it” (Mat 7:26-27). Going back again to the time when you were a student, do you still remember the things you had learnt? For me, I have returned most of my learning to my teacher, except for the things that I still regularly use such as language and writing skills. Similarly, a Christian may have been a diligent student of God’s Word when he was young, but he must not give up learning and relearning from the Bible to keep his memory fresh and for God’s Word to stay in his heart. That is why Peter wrote his epistle to his readers to “put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth” (2Pe 1:12). Repetition is key to learning and remembering; even though we may have read the book before, heard the lesson before, or taught the topic before, we still need to read our Bibles daily and to attend the worship services and Bible classes of the church.
Brethren, the Word of God is our strongest defence against our adversary, the devil, so he will do whatever he can to take away, to wither, or to choke the seed of God’s Word (Luk 8:5-15). But so long as we keep God’s Word in our hearts, we will not sin against God, we will delight to do His Will, and we shall not fall away. Let us strive to be master swordsmen wielding the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph 6:17), so that we “may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph 6:13). Onward Christian soldiers!