Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to your word.
We have here -
I. A DIFFICULT QUESTION. "Wherewithal shall a young man," etc.? (ver. 9).
1. The very word "wherewithal implies this. It seems to suggest that all manner of means had been tried, but found inadequate.
2. It is also implied that the way is already defiled. And this most true, as most sad. The young man starts with an evil bias, and he has made this stronger than before by frequent compliance with it. So that it is not a clean way that has to be kept clean - that is difficult enough, but a defiled way that has to be made clean.
3. And youth is so open to temptation. The passions and appetites of the body clamoring like a set of foul harpies for indulgence. The mind, impatient of control, giving heed to all manner of unbelief and doubt and denial of the truth; the heart inexperienced and untaught, ready to be ensnared with the varied deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Here is the fuel ready and the fire, and they come together in youth. What can prevent the conflagration?
II. BUT IT IS NOT A QUESTION THAT CANNOT BE ANSWERED. It has been again and again. See the history of Joseph; of Daniel and the noble Hebrew youths in exile with him; see the young men to whom St. John writes (1 John 2:13, 14). And there are many such today, glory be to God!
III. HERE WE ARE TOLD HOW THE QUESTION IS ANSWERED. By taking heed. thereto," etc. (ver. 9).
1. There must be taking heed to the way: thought and care given to it. It will not come right by chance, or when we are asleep, but it will need strenuous endeavors.
2. And this must be according to God's Word. For that Word supplies the pattern and model of such cleansed way; especially in Christ, "who did no sin," who was "holy, harmless, and undefiled." And it supplies the all-constraining motives - the love of God, the cross of Christ, the beauty of holiness, the eternal reward. And it gives the wisest counsel as to all holy living; there the right road is marked out for us. God's Word is a sure guide (ver. 105). And it points to the one source of help - the Holy Spirit of God, by whom God causes us to will and to do according to his good pleasure.
3. And all this he had done. See the following verses in this section. He tells how he had sought God with the whole heart, had hidden God's Word in his heart, etc., so that he had come to rejoice therein; and this, doubtless, because of their help. - S.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.