“I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
This verse is much loved from my childhood, perhaps because it was short and easy to memorize. In my teen years I didn’t think about God very much. I was too busy getting on with my life. Only when circumstances approached the desperation level did I cry to the LORD for help. When he brought me through, I don’t remember if I ever took time to thank him.
My sophomore year in college I recommitted my life to Jesus. I’d like to say I “walked on the water” from then on, but—like Peter—the storm-tossed waves distracted my focus. My Bible was always with me…somewhere in my room gathering dust. Finally, I began to read it before I went to bed at night. I remember feeling empty, no emotion. I needed God to change me, but—would he? Had I kept him at arm’s length too long? Then a verse caught my attention.
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.”
I had certainly stumbled. This word was exactly what I needed. God hadn’t given up on me. Reassured by his living word, my life began its upward turn.
Sadly, I remembered only three of the many verses I had memorized in all the Sunday school contests from my youth. But, if you can only remember three—what an awesome message they give. The first was the one that heads this devotion. “I have hidden your word in my heart…” The second one:
“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.” Isaiah 53:6
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9
The Gospel Truth in three verses. The Word—hidden in my heart—kept me and brought me back to him. The Living Word satisfied my thirst, yet it made me more thirsty than ever—to know the One who spoke the Word.
As I write this, the school year is ending and many of you will have children home for the summer. Your daily routine will change and you’ll find less time allotted for your personal space. It happens every vacation period, doesn’t it? When you have one who tugs on you or gets in your face—”Mommy” or “Mom”—with their need all day long, it’s so easy to surrender your personal time with Jesus.
Let me encourage you. Don’t do it. If it’s even for five minutes, ask the Lord to speak to you and open his Word. He is faithful to give you what you need. Put his word in your heart and power will come out. His truth will come from your heart, guide your actions, and glorify God.
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart…”
Happy Summer reading.
by Marilyn Allison