Psalm 119:9-16

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How can a young man keep his way pure? 

By guarding it according to your word. 

10  With my whole heart I seek you; 

let me not wander from your commandments! 

11  I have stored up your word in my heart, 

that I might not sin against you. 

12  Blessed are you, O Lord; 

teach me your statutes! 

13  With my lips I declare 

all the rules of your mouth. 

14  In the way of your testimonies I delight 

as much as in all riches. 

15  I will meditate on your precepts 

and fix my eyes on your ways. 

16  I will delight in your statutes; 

I will not forget your word (ESV).

In language similar to Wisdom Literature, “the ‘young man’ is the disciple, also known as ‘my son’ in Proverbs” (W. VanGemeren, Psalms REBC, 2008, p. 862). This matter of purity “does not only concern a young man, but any concerned disciple” (A. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms (90-159) KEL, 2016, p. 476).

Purity was vital to Israel’s existence. The question of “how can a man keep his way pure?” encompasses all areas and activities of a person’s life. The answer is that he will keep his way pure by “guarding” the Lord’s Word (v 9). Guard here is the same as in Genesis 3:24 where the cherubim and flaming sword “guard the way to the tree of life” (emphasis mine). The psalmist is to guard his way with the same ferocity as the cherubim and flaming sword guard the way to the tree of life.

By asking how to “keep his way pure?” the psalmist acknowledges (as in previous verses) that he is prone to temptation and folly’s invitation (see Proverbs 9:13-18). It is worth mentioning the psalmist does not ask, “why does a young man need to keep his way pure?” The psalmist already knows why, “blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord” (Ps 119:1). The psalmist does not lament the effort that he has to give in actively keeping and guarding his way. Today, Christians often lament, whine and complain about the hardship and drudgery of obeying God and keeping pure (see Old Testament Israel for further thoughts).

It is only fitting that with this perspective the psalmist would seek the Lord with his whole being and store His word in his heart so as to not sin against Him (vv 10-11). “Because the word of God has penetrated to his [“heart”], the core of his life that includes his thinking, his feelings, and his choices (cf. v. 2), it keeps him from missing the mark of God’s holy standard expressed in his word” (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019, p. 405).

The psalmist calls the Lord blessed and then cries out for the Lord to teach him His statutes (v 12). “The point of the verse is the desire to learn more of God’s law, but a teachable spirit begins with a proper regard for God—hence, the praise for the teacher” (Ross, p. 478). In verse 13 the psalmist declares his learning “publicly because he views himself as the channel of God’s instruction to others” (Estes, p. 405). The psalmist delights in the Lord’s Word “as much as in all riches” (v 14). In verses 15-16 the psalmist actively chooses to meditate on His precepts because he loves Him and wants to obey Him. Because the Lord’s ways lead to life, he will fix his eyes on them. By delighting in the Lord’s statutes, he will not forget His Word.

Lord God, help us to be a people who choose to keep their way pure. Help us to be agents and ambassadors of light and not debauchery and darkness. Lord God, help us to guard Your Word as You have guarded us from finding Eden and the Tree of Life. Lord help us to keep our way pure as we share Jesus with the lost. Lord God, help us to be a people who seek You with their whole being. Lord God, may our times of wandering from Your Way become less and may we become quicker at recognizing when we have strayed. Lord God, as society becomes more and more hostile to Your Word, may we learn Your Word, storing it in our hearts. Lord God, thank You that You will teach us Your Word when we are sincere in obeying it. Remind Your people Lord that You never teach us anything to keep it to ourselves. You teach us so that we may strengthen and encourage Your Body! Thank You Lord for this reader and help them to not forget Your Word. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.


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Blue Collar Theologian

My name is Mandy Sweigart-Quinn, I live in Lancaster, PA and I am a “Blue Collar Theologian.” I love Jesus! I am passionate about His Word (The Holy Bible)! I come alive when I can encourage others in their walk with Jesus (whether by writing or speaking). As a “Blue Collar Theologian” it is my aim to live/practice/work out my Christian hope with sincerity, authenticity and genuineness. As a “Blue Collar Theologian,” I strive to meet people right where they are (“Incarnational Theology”). I graduated in May 2019 from Capital Seminary and Graduate School with a Master's in Biblical Studies. I am a passionate, excited and enthusiastic person! I love flowers, sports and sunsets. Since January 2, 2018 I have had the privilege of being married to Nathan.

42 thoughts on “Psalm 119:9-16”

  1. Thank you Mandy, for taking me back to Psalm 119. One of my 1st learned verses from ‘Pioneer Girls’, KJV at the time: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee”.
    Ps 119 is a treasure trove, what a blessing to keep digging!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sticking with me, Lisa Beth! I appreciate you so much! What a great verse to first memorize! It is obvious that you have hidden God’s Word in your heart and I am so thankful for the wisdom you share with me/us from God’s Word!!! Love, hugs and blessings to you and Starry!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey, Lisa Beth! Random question: Have you seen my comments on your blog? I responded to your post on India and your post today. Sometimes my comments go to the WordPress abyss so thought I would ask you before contacting WP for help!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the good thoughts, Mandy. “Purity” is “almost” a bad word in today’s culture. “Puritan” is certainly a bad word. Perhaps Christians contributed to the negativity by framing purity as constantly having to carry a heavy load of killjoy and being critical of those who didn’t. Psalm 119:9-16 presents a totally different perspective of a believer loving God and following His precepts joyfully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Tom! You are right that “purity”’is almost a bad word today. I also agree with Christians being part of the problem in how purity is understood. Purity is more than just abstaining from sex and the “purity culture movement” of the 90s really took this super far. Purity is hard work. My biblical narrative class required a massive biblical theology paper in which we traced a major theme from Gen-Rev. I chose purity and I learned very quickly that I wasn’t writing a purity paper but a holiness paper. The Lord gave me a line which has stayed with me everyday since, “purity is a manifestation of holiness and only a holy people can live with holy God.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I missed this yesterday…sorry Mandy! 😣
        But what a good read it is today though sister, praise the LORD God for this sustenance. It is so true that we cannot guard our own life in our own strength…we would fall. We must guard ourselves by the power of His Word alone – in it we find hope and strength for our journey each day.
        I thank our Father God for you Mandy, and your faithfulness to His Holy Word.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so thankful that God reveals Himself to us in His Word. All other “sacred” texts are just words. It is humbling to think that God who the Word is about is the same God who helps us understand His Word! I am thankful for your heart for Jesus! Love, hugs and blessings!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for edifying us. Only JESUS is perfect! Although we strive to be pure, we sin from time to time. We cannot fool ourselves that we will be pure by our means here on earth but we can constantly ask forgiveness to the Triune GOD, ask His contant guidance for us to live a life of faith in JESUS CHRIST, and hope for a glorified body where in Heaven, we can be pure. Blessings to you, Nathan, and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, brother!!! Jesus is perfect! I appreciate you mentioning that we still sin that is true indeed. Praise God when we confess our sins to Him He is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). We cannot be pure in our own strengthen we need the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance for sure! So thankful that we will be pure in our resurrected, glorified bodies. Nathan and I are thankful for you! Love and blessings to you and your family!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. He did not lament, that is such a good point Mandy. When keeping the Lords word is our desire there ideally should be no reason to complain.
    I also liked that for a teachable spirit, it begins with proper regard for God.
    Amen to the prayer 🙏🏽
    Enjoyed this Mandy.
    Blessings as you continue to dig into His word.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The very question reveals our state at birth. “How can…?”. I’m grateful the passage rolls it out in that way. We should be open & honest about our sin DNA. It launches for us the despair of needing a spiritual redemption. But again, the Psalms are so honest. Love it. Hugs – God’s grip – Alan

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Didn’t get a chance to get by here till today, but the timing is still very pertinent! Such a wonderfully encouraging word and such an important virtue too often forgotten-purity. Thank you for highlighting it! Love, blessings, and prayers, dear friend! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love your point that this paragraph doesn’t ask why be pure but how; that’s a profound point. How true that when we delight in HIs law we then not forget HIs law. Thanks for the prayers too

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Jimmy!!! When we ask how instead of why, it changes our mindset/perspective on how we view God and our situations/circumstances. This is one of my first posts if you’re interested When I was meditating on this I thought of our youth and that maybe this would be of benefit to them?! Thank you for praying along and for your encouragement in this series.

      Liked by 1 person

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