Home > Bible Study, Devotional, Psalm 119 Devotional > How Can a Young Man Cleanse His Way?

How Can a Young Man Cleanse His Way?

Psalms 119:9-16 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. {10} With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! {11} Your word I have hidden 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 have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. {14} I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. {15} I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. {16} I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.

This section begins with the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, bet. Each of its verses also begin with bet, which is the structure of the entire psalm.

In many ways, this section is the response to the longing of section one: “Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes!” Then comes the question that starts section two, “How can a young man cleanse His way?” In other words, how can my ways be directed toward God’s commandments? How can my way be clean? Can there be any more important question than this one, for any believer? It’s a desperate situation, one requiring immediate care.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17), The psalmist answers his own query. It’s the word! The word of God—taking heed to it—cleanses a young man’s way. The word of God, when believed and practiced, cleanses the heart, cleanses the mind, cleanses one’s entire life. There is great power in God’s word to perform the kind of cleansing that is impossible for us, but possible for God.

Job 15:14 “What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous?”

Mark 10:27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

Another power contained in God’s word is the power to keep us from sin.

“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!”

You may have heard this phrase used with regard to the Bible: sin will keep you from this book, and this book will keep you from sin. It’s a true saying. When we walk in the dark, we don’t want the light, so we avoid the Bible. But when we open its pages and let God speak, the light drives out the darkness and we become free once more. Thus, God’s word vaccinates us against sin, similar to the way a tetanus shot protects against infection, or a malaria pill prevents that disease. It’s the word hidden in the heart that does this for us; therefore the memorization of scripture is an important exercise.

Breaking down this second section of Psalm 119 further, we can see that there are four categories of statements written here:

What the word of God does.

What the psalmist had been doing.

What the psalmist asks God to do.

What the psalmist commits to do in the future.

What the word of God does. As we have seen, it cleanses the heart, cleanses the mind, and cleanses one’s entire life. It also keeps us from sin. The DNA to perform these actions is found in scripture. It has innate power to accomplish these things.

What the psalmist had been doing. He’d been seeking God with his whole heart (v. 10, he’d hidden God’s word in his heart (v. 11), he had declared with his lips God’s judgments (v. 13), and he’d rejoiced in the way of the Lord’s testimonies (v. 14). The picture is painted of a wholly devoted and sincere young man of God. May the Lord grant me this same focus!

What the psalmist asks God to do. He prays several prayers: “Let me not wander from Your commandments” (v. 10), and “Teach me Your statutes” (v. 12). The first is a prayer of dependence, the second a prayer for instruction, borne out of his own humility and child-like faith.

What the psalmist commits to do in the future. He will meditate on all of God’s precepts (v. 15), contemplate His ways (v. 15), delight himself in God’s statutes (v. 16), and not forget God’s word (v. 16). For the psalmist, the greatest delights of life came from His relationship with God. Entertainment or fleshly pursuits could not give him any lasting joy or blessing, but God’s truth, ways, and word could give him the best of the very best.

Oh, may we put aside the trivialities of life and focus on what is real and eternal!

“Lord, make our way clean!”

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  1. Charles Gillaspie
    June 7, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Thanks Pastor Bill for sharing the Word, I was blessed when I read this today!
    May God bless, protect and continue to use you for his glory.

    -Charles

  2. June 11, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Thank you, Charles! I’m glad you’re reading it. It’s a blessing to know that people like you are being blessed by the Word!

    Stay blessed!

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