By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville
Stephen Covey is famous for encouraging his readers to “begin with the end in mind.” If you are going to reach your objective, you must first identify it and then work backwards to determine the steps necessary to get from where you are to where you are going. Psalm 119 begins with a question that is worth our consideration whether we are young or old, black or white, rich or poor, male or female. How can a person keep his way pure and live a life that is pleasing to God?
The psalmist answers his own question in three parts. First, he says one must know where to go. The Word of the Lord serves to show us the way and therefore we must take careful heed to it. Second, he uses the heart to convey the idea that to him God’s Word is the grid through which he sees life. The Psalmist has identified knowing God and being found worthy to be a citizen in His kingdom as his main objective. Therefore, having found the way, he is determined to keep on it until it leads him home. Lastly, he understands his propensity to sin, so he commits himself to filling his mind with the knowledge of God’s Word so that sin will find no room from whence to grow.
The news of finding the way to his goal is too much for this psalmist to keep to himself. It leads him to worship the Lord and declare His judgments aloud. The word “judgment,” also rendered “rules” or “ordinances,” refer to God’s righteous decisions flowing from His righteous character forming a firm foundation for any man whose objective is to be pure and please his God. It reminds me of the childhood tune that says, “Hide it under a bushel — NO! I’m going to let it shine.” What God has revealed to us through His glorious gospel is too good to keep to ourselves. It is good news that must be shared with others.
Like finding a precious treasure, the psalmist recognizes God’s Word as supremely valuable to him. He knew that if he filled his heart with God’s Word, and lived his life in obedience to it, he would find his purpose, his joy, and his crown. Therefore, he begged God for help. He understood deception and distraction were very real possibilities in the world he lived in. He understood that he might sometimes lose sight of his way. So, he prayed that God would remain ever close and committed himself to keep his guidebook handy. It is a shame to lose one’s path, but a greater shame to forget one’s map.
May we never forget that the directions for our life are as close to us as an open Bible, a clear heart, and an accessible line of communication with our God.