Making Our Hearts a Home for God’s Word

HOME.

Home is the place where we feel comfortable and can be ourselves. Our homes reflect our personalities and our priorities—the color on our walls, our decorating style (or lack thereof), the activities taking place within these walls, the people who occupy the space with us. All these go into the making of the place we call home.

The Scriptures tell us that our hearts are to be a home for the Word of God and work of Christ.

painted wall picture

This week we’ve been reading and journaling in Psalm 119:1-16. These first two sections of this psalm contain stanzas using the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph and beth. Earlier this week I shared some thoughts on the aleph section from verses 1-8. Today I’d like to look at verses 9-16.

Each line of this second section of Psalm 119 begins with the Hebrew letter beth, which also means “a house.” Some have suggested that this section tells us how to make our heart a home for the Word of God. We read throughout the Bible of God writing His Word upon the hearts of his people. We are told in 2 Corinthians 3:3 that our lives are a written testimony, a letter penned on the tablets of our human hearts for others to read and see the work of Christ in our lives. “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

How do we begin to make our hearts a home for the Word of God and work of Christ Jesus?

Psalm 119:9
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word.

GUARD {to heed, to keep watch over}

Verse 9 begins by giving us the blueprint for a life of purity and obedience to God. The word for guard means to heed, to keep watch over. The psalmist then outlines in verses 10-16 some specific action steps we can take in guarding our hearts and lives.

Psalm 119:10
With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments!

SEEK {to resort to, frequent (a place), (tread a place); to practice, study, follow, seek with application}

In declaring his dedication to God, the psalmist also recognizes his weakness to maintain that dedication,“let me not wander”. Our natural state, our default, is independence. Independence from God is what the Bible calls sin. We were created to be dependent upon God. Instead of the freedom we feel this independence accomplishes, it brings about a life of bondage.

{Q} Are there areas of your life where you wandering instead of running to God? Are you experiencing the confinement and suffocation of bondage to sin, instead of the peace and joy of relying on God?

“This reflects upon the power of experience to shape our habits. Surrender to any temptation; transfer it from the realm of mental contemplation to life experience, and that temptation instantly becomes much more difficult to resist in the future. Each successive experience of surrender to temptation builds a habit, reinforced not only spiritually, but also by brain chemistry. Such ingrained habits are more and more difficult to break the more they are experienced; and it is almost impossible to break such habits without replacing them with another habit. —David Guzik

Psalm 119:11
I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You!

STORE UP {to hide, store up, to treasure}

To keep from wandering we must store up or hide God’s Word in our hearts, in other words, receive it in the mind. “Memorizing is precisely what is called for, since it is only when the Word of God is readily available in our minds that we are able to recall it in moments of need and profit by it.” —Montgomery Boice

{Q} Do you make Scripture memory a regular practice in your life?

Psalm 119:12
Blessed are You, O LORD, teach me your statutes.

TEACH  ME {to learn, instruct, to be accustomed}

Oh how our hearts are prone to wander! The psalmist is well aware of his constant need for instruction, as are we. In our world of instant access and technology at our fingertips, we are never without resources for instruction in God’s Word. It really then becomes a matter of choice and priority.

{Q} Is daily reading/listening and instruction in God’s Word a priority in your life?

Psalm 119:13-16
With my lips I declare all the rules of Your mouth.
In the way of Your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways.
I will delight in Your statues; I will not forget Your word.

DECLARE {to rehearse, recount, narrate, to tell with praise, celebrate}

Does declaring the Word of God feel natural and like coming home or is it awkward? The more we make this a practice in our lives, the more familiar it becomes.

{Q} Do you make it a practice to rehearse and declare God’s Word on a daily basis? Celebrate the Word of God today by declaring it to someone you encounter! 

MEDITATE {to put forth, meditate, muse, commune, speak aloud, ponder, sing, to talk with oneself}

This word carries the same idea as worry. We can all identify with playing something over and over in our minds; rehearsing all the possible outcomes and solutions—to no avail. I know in my life worry tends to be over those matters which I have no control! Switch gears. Meditate upon a truth from God’s Word today. Remember we are not in control, but our Sovereign God is and we can trust Him! It’s amazing how meditating upon God’s Word and His character will change our mood and thought life.

{Q} What are you meditating upon today?

DELIGHT {to be glad, to leap and spring with joy}

I love the Hebrew words for delight and joy! They are packed with action—dance, twirl, leap, spring. God’s Word is to bring about this response in our hearts and lives.

{Q} What is your greatest delight? How does it compare with your delight for God’s Word?

NOT FORGET {to leave due to forgetfulness; to be unmindful}

Our days and lives are busy and full. It’s easy to push God’s Word to the back. But oh how that leads us to wander, to become independent, to forget and ultimately, to sin. Making a habit of rehearsing God’s Word each day keeps us from becoming forgetful.

{Q} Has God’s Word taken a backseat to other things in your life? 

I will meditate … I will delight … I will not forget Your word.

The greatness of God’s Word has leads the psalmist to a great resolution: His life will be filled with God’s Word—in his mind (meditate), in his heart (delight), and in his habits (not forget).

I ran across this great piece by Theodore Kuebler using the first letter of our English alphabet to restate Psalm 119:9-16. I thought it helped bring home the idea of what the Hebrew writer is doing in this psalm.

Verse 9—By what means shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Verse 10—By day and by night have I sought thee with my whole heart: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

Verse 11—By thy grace I have hid thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Verse 12—Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.

Verse 13—By the words of my lips will I declare all the judgments of thy mouth.

Verse 14—By far more than in all riches I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies.

Verse 15—By thy help I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

Verse 16—By thy grace I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

Theodore Kuebler
I know today’s devotion has been a good bit of instruction, but I’ll leave it with you. Mull it over. Ask the Lord to work His Word into your heart and mind today! Put some of these into practice in your life this next week. I’d love to hear what He is teaching you.
We must carefully treasure up the Word of God, declare it to others, meditate on it, and heartily delight in it; and then by His grace we shall act according to it. —A.R. Fausset
Journaling Assignment: Read and write out Psalm 119:17-24 (Gimel) and Psalm 119:25-32 (Daleth)
Rejoicing in Him!
©2017 Susan Cady