I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11 ESV
We come now to one of the verses for which Psalm 119 is best known. As we mentioned previously, the driving theme of this second stanza is the psalmist’s pursuit and quest for purity, which he notes can only be accomplished through God’s Word. He, therefore, cried in the previous verse of his utmost desire to seek the LORD for God to keep him from wandering from his commandments.
Continuing that theme, our present verse is both a mirrored image and further expansion of verse 9. The first line of verse 9 asked how a young man can keep his way pure, and the second line of verse 11 parallels this thought by expressing the cessation of sin to be the psalmist’s goal (aka purity). The second line of verse 9 turned to God’s Word as sufficient to guard one’s way, and the first line of verse 11 reflects a similar resolve to create of stockpile of the Word within one’s heart.
Yet our current verse also expands verse 10 further by continuing to describe the psalmist’s heart. The psalmist’s whole-hearted seeking of God in verse 10 is properly accomplished through God’s Word. The transcendent Creator’s thoughts and ways so far exceed our own that we can only truly know Him because He has chosen to speak to us in a way that we can understand. The Scriptures are this channel for knowing God. Therefore, he seeks God by storing His Word within his heart.
Practically speaking, the psalmist is referring to memorization and meditation. By memorization, we place something into our heads, and by meditation, it seeps into the heart through constant thought and consider. Sadly, many seek things of this world, such as wealth, possessions, or knowledge, more than they seek the LORD, and the meditations of their heart are upon them as well. What we give most of our time, attention, and thought to very often becomes the supreme love of our heart. If we would seek the Almighty with all our hearts, we should give diligent thought to His Word. In Luke 12, Jesus told a parable of a rich man who stored grain for himself yet died before he was able to live off of his storehouse. God’s Word, however, is not like grain or earthly treasure; storing the Bible within our hearts is an investment of eternal consequence.
Also, by turning our gaze upon our altogether pure and holy God, storing up God’s Word fights against our impulse to sin. Indeed, during His temptation in the wilderness by Satan, Jesus repulsed the devil’s attacks by clinging to the Scripture stored within His heart and mind. In the war against our sin, memorization and mediation of Scripture should be our chief tactic. Seeking God and kill sin through knowing and thinking over God’s Word.