A Psalm for the Young Man
By Kent Heaton
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word” (Psalm 119:9-16).
The second letter of the Hebrew alphabet is called “Bet” (rhymes with “mate”) and has the sound of ‘b’ as in ‘boy.’ Psalm 119 is a compilation of twenty-two poems from the Hebrew alphabet declaring the incredible power of the word of God. Each section of the psalm is unique in its structure and message. The second section declares the personal nature of God’s word upon the heart. Specifically it seeks to guide the young man to know how important the knowledge of the Creator is needed in his life. There is much turbulence in the spirit of youth and without direction and guidance many dangers lurk about that will destroy the reputation, character and heart. The Psalmist exhorts all young people to take careful examination of the word of God embedding its divine message into their minds so they will be safe from harm.
Youth is filled with frivolity. The Lord does not dismiss the spirit of young people encouraging them to live a joyful life with the recognition of the consequences that will be reaped in the future. How can young people enjoy their lives and keep themselves unspotted from the influence of the world about them? The Bible. The word of God is the answer for young people. Taking heed to the word of God is the means of building character. It takes the whole heart devoted to know the will of the Lord guiding the feet on the treacherous paths of life. Many youth wander into dangerous waters finding only peril and destruction. The commandments of God are not given as cruel boundaries but safety measures to protect the soul from harm. This requires diligence on the part of the young man to hide the word of God in his heart so he will not sin against the Lord. Young people need to know the law of God because that is the measure of right and wrong. Parents must instill in their children the love of God and interest in His word to instruct them into righteousness. Sin will always be a plague on the hearts of men but the word of God is the only answer to how to battle unrighteousness.
Young people should know the word of God so they can bless the Lord that protects them. There is value in knowing mathematics, science, vocabulary and all of the foundations of knowledge but the most important information contained within the pages of one book is the statues and judgments of the Lord. Young men and women must be taught to love the word of God as the basis of life and from which comes truth. Their language should be sprinkled with the words of God rejoicing in the way His word fills their hearts. The result will be young people who are happy to know the eternal truths of the mind of God. Their lives will not be focused on seeking out the riches of the world but the treasures of heaven. The trinkets of this world will perish but the word of the Lord abides forever.
The challenge for young people (and old) is the word of God requires a diligent heart. There are four things required to make the word of the Lord a joyful part of life: mediation, contemplation, delighting and remembering. The psalmist admonishes the young man to meditate on the precepts of God. This is ruminating on the principles, laws, teachings and stories of holy writ. Thinking often about the word of the Lord builds trust in the promises of God. It is important to spend some time thinking about the word of God. Contemplating on the word of God means to have respect for the value of its instructions and ways. Fixing the eye on the message of God’s love will change the heart of the young man. He will see from God’s point of view how he should live. That comes from contemplation. There can be little growth if the heart does not delight in spending time in the word of God. One of the dangers for young and old alike is viewing the Bible as a drudgery or burden. In order for God to be alive in the heart it requires a love and delight in wanting to know more and more about the statutes of righteousness. Delighting in the statutes of God will change the outlook and ‘uplook’ of life. Happy people are those who find joy in reading the word of God. Finally it is necessary to remember the promises of God and not forget His word. Constant study will fortify the mind against the wiles of the devil. Remembering the word of God will be a light to the path in a world of darkness. Young men and women must learn to remember the word of God and trust its message as a guide in life. How can a young man cleanse his way? THE WORD OF GOD.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” (Eph. 6:1-4). Ancient history records that a certain city was besieged, and at length obliged to surrender. In the city there were two brothers who had, in some way, obligated the conquering general and, consequently, received permission to leave the city before it was set on fire. They were instructed that they could take with them as much of their property as each could carry. Accordingly, the two young men appeared at the gates of the city, one of them carrying their father, and the other their mother.
“They’re Not Friendly”
They seemed very unfriendly to me. In fact, it would not be a stretch to call them downright rude. There was no greeting when I came through the door. No one offered me help or assistance. They acted as if they did not care if I was there or not. It was clear that they did not value my presence.
It crossed my mind that I might never go to that place again. After all, why should I be treated in this fashion? “I’ll show them,” I thought to myself. But then it occurred to me that these folks have what I really need. It would be hard, if not impossible, to find it any other place. I would really only be hurting myself if I decided to never return. Oh, yes, there are some other places that offer some of the same things. But this place has it ALL! One can come here and find every essential thing.
In the end I finally decided that I would continue to frequent this place because of what they have to offer. And, even though there are some things that I would like to see changed, it is still the best place to find what I really need. Maybe, just maybe, I can help them do better in the areas of friendliness and courtesy. Perhaps by saying and doing the right things myself I will be able to improve the overall situation. But the bottom line is this: what I get here is much more valuable to me than the minor annoyances that I must endure. I’ll keep coming back again and again.
Where is this place? Oh, I forgot to tell you, didn’t I? I was talking about the big discount store here in town. You know, that new ‘super center’ of a thing. What? You thought I was talking about the local church? (Greg Gwin)