Washed by the Word of God

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” (Psalm 119:9)

Psalm 119 is a Psalm of the Word of God. There are 22 paragraphs in this Psalm and each contain 8 verses. Each verse represents a letter from the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the 22 paragraphs provide a practical use for the believer in the use of the Word of God. Today we are looking at the second paragraph which represents the Hebrew letter Beth. In this second paragraph we find the bases for the believer to cleanse themselves by the Word of God. This is the power of Jesus living in and through us. “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” (Ephesians 5:25-26)

Verse 9 offers us the question of how we can keep ourselves pure and then answers by keeping ourselves according to the Word of God. We should realize that this is more than when we were first cleansed and forgiven of our past sins but it is how we keep ourselves from future sins. We live in an evil word where the god of this world, Satan, travels to and fro seeking who he can devour. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Carrying the Word of God with us each day as a shield will not keep us clean. We must know the Word of God in our hearts that we may use them against the evil forces that will come against us that Satan will flee. “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) This was the very power that Jesus used in the wilderness when Satan came to tempt Him, the Word of God. (Luke 4:1-13) Even Satan must obey the Word of God, as he is as us a creature of God’s creation. It is not the Word of God that cleanses us but the atoning blood of Jesus that cleanses us of our sin. “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

The Word of God is the source of power for us to use against the tempter. To keep our garments unsoiled by sin we must be devoted to God and His Word. Many are dedicated to God and desire His purposes to be done. Each day they pray “thy will be done here on earth as it is in heaven” but they miss allowing His will to be done in their lives. To work His will in their lives they must be completely dedicated to God and His Word. In the next verse we read, “With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.” (Psalm 119:10) This is the very thing that God desires from us are whole heart. As Jesus Said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)

Seeking God should be the priority of our life. God should be foremost upon our mind as we go through our daily life. As Solomon writes, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) If we would trust God in all the matters of our life and put aside the “we got this” attitude then God would direct our paths to victory in everyday life. Seeking God is not for when we find ourselves in trouble but seeking Him in all things that we can avoid trouble in the first place. Jesus us the lover of our soul and none other. Seek Him in all things and He will lead us in the right path. “Look to the right and see; For there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me; No one cares for my soul. I cried out to You, O LORD; I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.” (Psalm 142:4-5)

Our dedication to God is part of the way, as we must also be dedicated to His Word. As we read in the next verse. “Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11) To treasure His Word is to store it up in our heart as the most valuable thing that we have. The Word of God should be the most precious thing to us as we can need it at any given time of our life.

God is always there as He has promised that He will never forsake us. “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) So I must ask have we forsaken God? Have we as Peter denied Jesus? Do we only study His Word when we have the time? Is God’s Word a source of our life that we treasure in our hearts to abound in our lives? “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7)

Let us look to verse 13. “With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Your mouth.” (Psalm 119:13) “With my lips I have told.” Not the Preacher’s lips but my lips will be speaking of God’s Word as it applies to my life and the person to whom we are speaking. If we are to be preachers to the people we will not get very far as people got to the Church to be preached to. It is with our lips that we are to share the scripture as it has applied to our life and the folks will receive it because they want to know how the Word of God can work for them. It is also a blessing for people to hear the Word of God recited to them as they may not have heard it before. The power of God’s Word is that it speaks to them spiritually.

Looking to verse 14 as another indication of the attitude of our own dedication to the Word of God. “I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches.” (Psalm 119:14) The priority for the Psalmist here is that he is rejoicing in the testimonies more than in all the riches. The question is can all riches acquire you more than the Word of God. God’s creation came by His word, thus the riches come from His Word. Therefore we must appreciate His Word more.  Job esteemed the Word of God more than the necessary food of for his mouth. “I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:12) The point is then by examining our hearts we could see the measure of our dedication to the Word of God.

If we look back at verse 10 we can see the danger of sinning through ignorance. “Do not let me wander from Your commandments.” (Psalm 119:10) There is a danger for us if we wander from the commandments of the Word of God. There are many times that we may not do as we should because we simply do not know the commandments of His Word. Ignorance of the truth can lead us to sinful behavior. We are not speaking of those who willfully disobey the commands but those who just do not know the commands because they have wandered from the Word.

Then again it could be a lack of understanding of the Word. There are things in the Word of God that are plainly stated and leave no room for a mistake. If a person who is diligently devoted to the Word of God comes to Scripture he does not fully understand, then he should cry unto the Lord through the Holly Spirit to reveal the truth to him. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13)

It is not only the Pastor and teachers in the Church who are responsible for the ignorance of the Word but it is also that of the Church members also. If you are not receiving the Word from the Pulpit or classroom of the Church, then you need to find a Church where you will. Everyone has a Bible, it’s the world’s best seller. It is also the world’s least read book. The Bible is not for carrying to Church and back each Sunday and Wednesday, it is for reading, studying, meditating, and praying over. Let us look again at verse 12. “Blessed are You, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:12)

“I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways.” (Psalm 119:15) Is your Bible earmarked with turned down corners on some pages? Are some verses underlined or shaded with highlighter? Are these the verses than have guided your lives abundantly, or promises that are precious to you, and verses that you have memorized in your heart? A worn out Bible is a blessing to the beholder. My Grandmother in her advanced years sat in her room with her Bible on her lap each day writing the inspirations that she gleaned from the Scripture.

Meditation today has a lot of different meanings to different people. Myself I have two ways of meditation. One is to repeat over and over again the verse I am reading. This is useful in memorization. The other is through praying the Word back to God. Not so much to be caught up with what I am saying but to listen to the inspiration that God is sending back to my spiritual ears. We cannot think like God and cannot fully comprehend all that He is. His Word is a living Word through the Holy Spirit and He will speak to you through it in a personal way. I see prayer as a conversation with God. One must speak and one must listen. I learn more truth by listening. His wisdom is infinite. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

There is one last thing and we see it in verse 16. “I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.” (Psalm 119:16) To have delight in the Word of God is to have peace. Sometimes we find His Word causing wounds, it may grind against what we think, His Word may hurt us, as well as the Word that brings hope and comfort. But God’s Word is always true and just and if we place our faith and trust in Him we will always find peace. “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7-9)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant February 8, 2017

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