I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.
Psalm 37:31). The point of the text lies in the assertion that the Word of God is in the man's heart because he had put it in, and put it in carefully.
I. STORING THE MIND WITH SCRIPTURE AS THE DUTY OF TEACHERS. It is a primary duty of all who have to do with children. Storing the memory with the material of after-thought comes before the cultivation of the mind for using its material. And if we would have the after-thought of life inclusive of the highest things, we must take care that the mind is early stored with Scripture truth and fact and counsel. It is not suggested that the child-mind should be crammed even with that which is good, nor should Scripture ever be made a task. But that child is in an especially effective manner equipped for life who has God's Word stored as a treasure in his memory. In modern times this hiding of Scripture in the heart is sadly under-estimated.
II. STORING THE MIND WITH SCRIPTURE AS A MAN'S OWN DUTY. It will not, in his case, be a merely formal memorizing, as it must largely be in the case of the child. A man will store what the Scripture says to him, and not merely what the Scripture says. This involves:
1. A personal interest in the revealed Word of God.
2. Well-formed habits in relation to its study.
3. Careful attention to the relations of the Word to personal life and needs.
4. Such persistent habits of meditation as press the Word in, and lay it up on the secret places of the soul. It is not necessary to say any strong things concerning the "criticism" of the Bible, because of that the psalmist knew nothing. To him the Word of God was a book of practical directions for godly living. And we need to have its actual relation to life and conduct so deeply impressed on us, that we should feel impelled to store its truths and counsels.
III. THE AVAILABLENESS OF SCRIPTURE-STORES FOR THE EMERGENCIES OF LIFE. From those stores our Lord readily fetched effective weapons in the time of his temptations. We have often fetched our best comfortings in time of trouble; our best warnings in times of danger; our best answers when the enemies of faith and righteousness assailed. "He who hides can find;" and if the laying up has been carefully done, the recovery for use is sure to be prompt and easy. - R.T.
I. "THY" — Implying Jehovah's presence. Omniscience. This eye ever looks you through! In His dread presence you this moment are.
I. THE GREAT DESIRE AND AIM OF A GOOD MAN. Not to sin against God.
Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.
I. A VIEW OF THE INTERNAL PRINCIPLE WHICH ACTUATES A GOOD MAN. It is a heart inspired with love to God.
II. ONE OF THE EFFORTS OF THAT PRINCIPLE — he hides God's Word in his heart. Not merely in his memory, not in the intellectual powers of the mind, but in the city and citadel, where the affections dwell, where reason governs, the home of motive, of principle, and feeling. The memory should be the storehouse of the Divine truth; it is often the very quiver of God, from which He draws His arrows of conviction, and the storehouse where He draws comfort and peace for His people. I believe the human mind never forgets; what it seizes, it never lets go. The mind acquires, retains, hides up, and in a moment brings back past thoughts. This is a power of vast importance in a moral point of view. How well, then, that our minds should be stored with Divine truth. The Holy Ghost brings thence those things concerning God and so teaches us. Children should learn the very words of Scripture, even when they cannot fully understand them. But they will have their use some future day. But not in the memory alone did David hide God's Word, but in his heart. Love needed to understand God's Word. Suitable dispositions are like proper lights to a painting — it cannot else be rightly seen. Now with the Word of God hid in our hearts, lovingly treasured up, we shall find a preservative against temptation, as did our Lord. What raises such a barrier against sin of all kinds as the Word of God lovingly remembered? You know how a pebble from a poor shepherd boy slew, in days of old, a most powerful and defiant giant; but then the pebble was taken from the brook in the spirit of confidence in God. And so we must take forth the teachings of God's Word in a spirit of confidence that God will give us His promised strength. Then hide up God's Word in your heart, and pray the Holy Spirit to visit you as the remembrancer in your moments of need.
(C. J. Phipps Eyre, M. A.)
1. His views of God give this desire and aim.
2. His love of God.
3. His views of sin in its nature and its consequences.
II. THE MEANS WHICH, A GOOD MAN ADOPTS TO REALIZE THIS DESIRE. The Word must be in the heart as power and life; controlling the thoughts — the motives — the principles. In the heart. Hid in the heart. Laid up there; made secure there against the robbery of sin, Satan, scepticism, etc. The Word of God, in its doctrines, precepts, promises, threatenings, examples, is a power in man which no other word can be. It teaches; it restrains; it warns; it guides; it saves. Things which we value; which are essential for certain ends, we preserve in the most secure places; as deeds, jewels, wills, etc. So a good man hides the Word of God in his heart; so that in times of danger it is safe. A Roman priest once took a Bible from a boy, and burnt it. The boy said to him, "You cannot burn the Word which I have in my heart." It was the Word of God hid in the heart that made the apostles so courageous in work and sufferings; that made martyrs so true and faithful; that now makes Christians so unyielding to the world's jeers, persecution, and atheism. Heaven and earth shall pass away; but God's Word, hid in the heart, endureth for ever.
II. "Thy WORD." "Better than thousands of," etc. "Sweeter than honey," etc. A light, guide, chart. "The power of God unto salvation." Christ is its fulness and glory.
III. "Thy Word HAVE." Not will, intend, purpose. An act already done. Let us change our intentions into deeds, our purposes into facts.
IV. "Thy Word have I." The individual stands out. We are individuals, not congregations, before God.
V. "Thy Word have I HID." Not as the miser. As leaven. As seed. For personal use. For wide and extended use.
VI. "Thy Word have I hid IN." If all of God's Word that is not in us was taken from us, how much should we have left? The Pharisees wore it outside. It must be in us a living power. In us a spring of action.
VII. "Thy Word have I hid in MY." Parents, you wish to hide it in your children. How about yourselves? Sunday-school teachers, etc.? All of you wish it to be hid in those who sit next to you, etc.
VIII. "Thy Word have I hid in my HEART" Must be in the heart. With the heart we feel, believe, love.
Homiletic Monthly.I. The Word of God is in its very nature expulsive of sin and cleansing therefrom (John 15:3.)
II. Hid like a sword in its sheath to be drawn out at a moment's notice. Christ's answer to Satan: "It is written." Hid like a guard in a house, a sentinel in a fort, to watch diligently against the approach of temptation.
Homilist.I. A great REVELATION. "Thy Word." A word is a revelation of intelligent moral mind. The value of a word depends up the intellectual and moral worth of the mind it expresses. The words of thoughtless men are wind and nothing more. The words of corrupt men are the channels of impurity. The words of the holy and the strong are amongst the most elevating forces in society. But what is a human word compared with the Word of God? The revelation of a mind infinitely wise, immaculately holy, boundlessly loving and almighty in strength. This Word we have here, and it is given us in order to work our spiritual renovation, and to restore us to the moral image of its Author.
II. A great ACT. "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart."
1. There are many wrong uses of this Word.(1) The infidel uses it in order to throw doubt upon its contents, invalidate its authority and caricature its discoveries.(2) The sectarian uses it in order to sustain his own crotchets and justify his own exclusiveness.(3) The worldly-minded uses it in order by writing or preaching, or profession, to promote his secular gains and advance his social influence.
2. What is the right use of it.? To hide it in the heart. Hide it as golden grain in the soil that it may germinate and grow, and produce abundant fruit. It is a wonderful thought that God has given man the capacity to take into his nature the Word, and profoundly solemn is the thought that it is only as he takes in this Word into the depths of his nature and hides it there that he can reach a happy destiny.
III. A great PURPOSE. "That I might not sin against Thee."
1. Sin is a terrible evil. It is worse than hell, for it is the cause and spirit of it.
2. There is a propensity in man to fall into this evil. This, alas, is true to all history universal. Experience and our own consciousness.
3. God's Word in the heart is the efficient counteractive.
(Homilist.)I. THE WORD OF GOD IS THE REST THING.
1. Because it is Divine.
2. It is good throughout.
3. It is the root of all good.
4. It is most prized at last.
II. PUT IT IN THE BEST PLACE. It is of no good to any of us until it is there, — that is, in the heart.
III. Here is THE BEST PURPOSE, "That I might not sin against Thee." Does some one fancy that there could be a higher reason, a nobler purpose, than that? If you will think it over you will come to the conclusion that the Christian has no nobler ambition than to live without sin. "That I might not sin against Thee!" — there is no higher ambition than to live on earth the life of heaven. But, how does hiding God's Word in the heart promote holiness, how does it prevent sin?
1. It discovers sin. If you know God's Word well, you are on the high road to the easy discovery of God's will, for it is the revelation of the Divine will. By these testimonies you will know what God approves and delights in. It will be equally plain what He abhors and detests. These are the balances of the sanctuary.
2. It announces sin. It tells you where the evil is, and when you may expect it. It is a sort of tocsin that warns you of impending danger; an alarum timed to startle you just when the danger is close, and there is yet time to escape.
3. It points out the way of escape, it reveals the secret door in the wall, when your only safety is in flight. It is the chart on which is marked every shoal, and every quicksand, and every rock; and the safe channels, too.
4. It arms us against the danger. If kept in the heart, it keeps the heart.
5. It strengthens and nerves the spirit.
6. It reveals to us the path of duty.
(T. Spurgeon.)I. WHAT the psalmist hid. "Thy Word" — the Word of God, the message He has sent to us for our instruction and guidance, for our encouragement and consolation and delight. It is a Word which has reached us through the ministry of men who were themselves enlightened and inspired by God, that they might teach us all that we most need to know. Do not, on any account, neglect the Bible. It contains all that is essential, and the man who knows it has the essence of all wisdom. It is, indeed, light to guide, a beacon to warn, a mine of gold, a well of ever-living water, and the bread of eternal life. For all our deepest needs there is, as Sir Walter Scott said on his death-bed, but One book, and that book is the Word of God.
II. WHERE he hid its — "in my heart" — in the very lowest depths, the most secure and secret places of his nature. No external possession or hiding of the Bible is of the slightest use here. It is not having, but using that tells. The Bible is ours only so far as we know and understand and love it. Pray that the Holy Spirit may open your heart that you may attend to the things written and spoken!
III. WHY he hid it — "that I might not sin against Thee." That was, indeed, a good purpose. To sin is to do wrong, to go astray, to miss the true mark of our life — the mark at which we ought to aim. It weakens and degrades us, mars our nature, and destroys our happiness both for this world arid the next. We are all in danger of falling into it. If left to ourselves, to our own ideas and inclinations and desires, we shall fall into it. We need to be ever on our guard, and to pray, "Hold Thou me up." If we remember and rightly love the Bible we shall not sin against God. It will make us wise unto salvation.
Homilist.I. THE BANE of souls. What is the bane? "Sin. A little word, but a terrible thing. The Bible represents it as a slavery, a diseases a pollution, a poison, etc. It is loathsome to the Creator, it is the curse of the creature. This is the bane.
II. The ANTIDOTE of souls. God's Word" contains the power, and the only power, to destroy sin.
(Homilist.)Psalm 40:10): — Those two texts seem to contradict, but really complete, each other. There is a "hiding," without which a Christian life is scarcely possible, and cannot be vigorous. There is a "not hiding," which is equally indispensable. The latter is the consequence of the former. Unless a man can say, "Thy Word have I hid in my heart," depend upon it, he will never say, "I have not hid Thy righteousness from the great congregation"; and, conversely, unless a man can declare that he has hid his deepest convictions, his deepest convictions will be very shallow.
1. THE DEEP, INWARD SECRET OF ALL NOBLE, AND ESPECIALLY OF ALL DEEP, REAL, CHRISTIAN LIFE. "Thy Word have I hid in my heart." This means, first, familiarity with your Bible. Do not let any notion that God speaks "at sundry times and in divers manners," not only in Scripture, but otherwise, in providences, and in the world, and in our own hearts, cause us to neglect, as this generation does neglect, the systematic, diligent, daily perusal of Holy Scripture. You cannot hide the Word of God in your heart if you neglect, as so many of us do, the most articulate utterance of that Word in that Book, which, whatever may be the theories about the way it came into being, is the Word of the living God. Then there is another way by which we hide the Word in our hearts. It is, to cultivate the habit of referring everything to God's will. There must also be loving submission to what we know to be God's will. Put the will of God into your heart, and it will be like a bit of camphor wrapped up in some fur garment; it will keep all the moths off.
II. A NOT HIDING, WHICH INCREASES POSSESSION. "I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart," etc. That life of which I have been speaking, the deep, secret life of communion with the will of God, will he hidden, but it will not be hidden. No man can smother up and bury his deepest convictions. If there be a bulb in the ground, and there be life in the bulb, the flower will force its way up through the earth when the spring days come. And every one of us, although unconsciously, declares the secret of our hidden lives by our conduct in the world. But there is more than that. No Christian man that has in his heart the Word and will of God but will know the impulse to impart it, and that in proportion as his own possession of Jesus Christ, who, as the embodiment of the will, is the Word of God — is deep and vital.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
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