Thursday, August 3, 2017

My Summer with Psalm 119 #10

As a few of you know, I love, love, LOVE Psalm 119. I thought it would be great to spend a summer focusing on that psalm and what others have had to say about it. I'll begin with Thomas Manton's Exposition of Psalm 119. It may take all summer to read all 158 sermons. But they're so GOOD, so RICH, I think it will be worth it.

Sermon 12: Psalm 119:11

  • IN this verse you have David’s practice, and the aim and end of it. 1. His practice, I have hid thy word in my heart. 2. The aim and end of it, that I might not sin against thee. In the first, his practice, observe these circumstances— 1. The object or matter, the word. 2. The act of duty, I have hid. 3. The subject, the heart. I shall open these circumstances.
  • The revelation of God’s mind to his people is called his law, his testimonies, his ways, his precepts, his statutes, his commandments, his judgments, and now his word; whereby is meant God’s expounding his mind as if he himself did speak to us. The expression is general, and compriseth promises, threatenings, doctrines, counsels, precepts. All these must be hid in the heart.
  • A thing may be hidden two ways, either to conceal it, or else to cherish and keep it.
  • What we value most preciously we save most carefully.
  • The subject or place where the word is hidden, in the heart. Not the brain, or mind and memory only, but the heart, the seat of affections.
  • To hide the word in our hearts is to understand and remember it, and to be affected to it and with it.
  • First we must have them, and then keep them. First we know them, then assent to them, and then approve them, because of the authority of the lawgiver, and the excellency of the thing commanded; and then respect them as a treasure that we are chary of; and having them still in our eye, do thereby regulate our practice and conversation. In short, by holding it in our hearts is meant not only a knowledge of the word, but an assent to it; not only an assent to it, but a serious and sound digestion of it by meditation; not only a digestion, but a constant respect to it, that we may not transgress it as it is a rule, nor lose it as it is a treasure, but may have it ready and forthcoming upon all occasions.
  • One duty and necessary practice of God’s children is to hide the word in their hearts.
  • That in hiding the word in our hearts, there must be a right end; our knowledge of it and delight in it must be directed to practice.
  • Be so diligent in the study of the scripture, that it may become familiar with us, by frequent hearing, reading, meditating, conferring about it.
  • To be strangers to the word of God, and little conversant in it, is a great evil. What is it to hide the word in our hearts? (1.) To understand it, to get a competent knowledge of it; we take in things into the soul by the understanding: Prov. 2:10, When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul.’ There is first an entrance by knowledge. (2.) When it is assented unto by faith. The word is settled in the heart by faith, otherwise it soon vanisheth: Heb. 4:2, The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it,’
  • (3.) When it is kindly entertained: John 8:37, Christ complains, Ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you,’ ou chorei en humin. Men are so possessed with lust and prejudice, that there is no room for Christ’s word. Though it break in upon the heart with evidence and power, yet it is not entertained there, but cast out again as an unwelcome guest. (4.) When it is deeply rooted. Many men have flashes for a time; their affections may be much aloft, and they may have great fits and elevations of joy and delight, but no sound grace: John 5:35, Ye rejoiced in his light for a season.’ But now the word must be settled into a standing affection, if we would have comfort and profit by it. We read of the ingrafted word,’ James 1:21. There is a word bearing fruit, and a word ingrafted. Till there be the root of the matter in us, in vain do we expect fruit.
  • What is the reason evil is so ready and present with us? Because our stock of knowledge is so small.
  • When you are alone and without outward helps, your hearts will furnish you with matter of counsel, or comfort, or reproof: Ps. 16:7, My reins instruct me in the night season.’ When we are alone, and there is a veil of darkness drawn upon the world, and we have not the benefit of a bible, a minister, or Christian friends, our reins will instruct us; we may draw out of our heart that which will be for our comfort and refreshing. A Christian is to be a walking bible, to have a good stock and treasure in himself.
  • Barrenness and leanness of soul is a very great defect, which God’s children often complain of. One great reason is, because the word of God doth not dwell plenteously in them, so that in every prayer we are to seek. If the heart were often exercised in the word, the promises would hold up our hearts in prayer, enlarge our affections, and we should be better able to pour out our spirits before him: Ps. 45:1, My heart is inditing a good matter.’ What then? My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.’ When the heart is full, the tongue will be loosed and speak freely. What is the reason we are so dumb and tongue-tied in prayer? Be cause our heart is so barren. When the spring is dry, there will be little water in the stream: Eph. 6:17, Take the sword of the Spirit, that is the word of God;’ then presently, praying with all manner of supplication.’ When we have a good store of the word of God it will burst out in prayer.
  • But a man that is a bible to himself, the word will be ever upon him, urging him to duty, restraining him from sin, directing him in his ways, seasoning his work and employment. Therefore we should hide the word in our hearts.
  • The more ready the scripture is with us, the greater advantage in our conflicts and temptations. When the devil came to assault Christ, he had scripture ready for him, whereby he overcame the tempter. The door is barred upon Satan, and he cannot find such easy entrance, when the word is hid in our hearts, and made use of pertinently: 1 John 2:14, I write to you, young men, because ye are strong.’ Where lies their strength? And the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.’ Oh, it is a great advantage when we have the word not only by us, but in us, ingrafted in the heart! When it is present with us, we are more able to resist the assaults of Satan. Either a man for gets the word or hath lost his affection to it, before he can be drawn to sin. The word of God, when it hath gotten into the heart, it will furnish us with seasonable thoughts.
  • There is no malady but what hath its remedy in the word. To have a comfort ready is a great relief.
  • This is the book of books; let it not lie idle and unemployed. The world can as well be without the sun as the bible.
  • Oh! therefore, let us get it into our hearts; let it not only move the lighter part of the soul, but get rooting, that it may have its full power and force, that we may not only have a little knowledge to talk of it; but we are to hide it deeply, that it may take root, and spring up again in our lives and conversations. To this end meditate often of it, and receive it in the love of it.
  • The word may be reduced to doctrines, promises, threatenings.
  • (1.) For doctrines, lay up knowledge, Prov. 10:14. It is a notable preservative against sin, and an antidote against the infection of the world, when we have a good stock of principles: Ps. 37:31, The law of God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.’ As long as truth is kept lively and active, and in view of conscience, we shall not slide, or not so often slide. We have many temptations to divert us from the truth and obedience; but here we are in safety, when the law of God is in our heart.
  • Every time you read the scriptures you should lay up something. The best way to destroy ill weeds is by planting the ground with right seed.
  • What have you hidden in your heart for comfort against temptations, desertions, afflictions? What have you laid up against a dear year? 
  • In hearing. Do not hear slightly, but hide the word in your heart, that it be not embezzled by thy own negligence, forgetfulness, running into carnal distractions; that it be not purloined by Satan, that he may not snatch away the good seed out of thy soul. When the word is preached, there is more company present than is visible; there are angels and devils in the assembly. 
  • Whenever the sons of God meet together, Satan is present with them. The devil is present to divert the mind by wandering thoughts, by raising prejudices, that we may cast out the word; or by excuses, delays, evasions, putting it off to others when we begin to have some sensibleness of our sin and danger. The devil is loath to let us go too far, lest Christ get a subject into his kingdom. Oh! therefore, labour to get something into thy heart by every sermon; some fresh notion or consideration is given out to set you a-work in the spiritual life. A conscientious waiting upon God will find something every time.
  • Meditate upon the word; do not study the word in a cursory manner, or content yourselves with a slight taste, or a little volatile affection; but ponder it seriously, that it may enter into your very heart. Hasty and perfunctory thoughts work nothing. Meat must be well chewed and digested, if you would have it turn into good blood and spirits. You must follow it close till it settle into some affection. 
  • Doct. 2. In hiding the word in our hearts there must be a right end; our knowledge of it and delight in it must be directed to practice. 
  • Therefore, it is not enough to study the word merely that we may cherish our own persons with the comfortable part of it; but we must also study the holy part of it, and that which doth require our duty. Let us labour to hide the word in our hearts, as David did: I have hid thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.’

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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