Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Hiding His Word

Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

As he finished his sermon, the guest speaker closed his Bible, looked out into the congregation and cited Ephesians 5 - without looking at the Bible or any notes. My friends and I stared at each other in awe at this man's memory. The rest of the congregation seemed to be in awe as well. When finished, he hit us with this question, as if in reply to our astonishment: "How many of you have songs or lines from movies and tv shows memorized?" Ouch. His point was that we should know the word of God by heart, since it is our life.

The definition for "word" comes from the Hebrew word 'imraw or 'emrah. It means "commandment, speech, word." (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance)

The definition for "heart" is interesting (to me, anyway). Its original Hebrew word is "leb" (pronounced labe). It refers not only to the heart, but to the "feelings, the will, and even the intellect." (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance)

One could almost interpret the psalm as "I have hidden your word, your commandment, and your speech not only in my heart, but in my will, my intellect, and my feelings so that I might not sin against you." His word soaks into our very being. First, through knowledge and memorization, then into our heart where we can recall it when necessary.

This may sound daunting, but it's important. I believe it ties into being a disciple of Christ. If we do not know the Lord's commands, His words, or speech, then how are we to know the Lord? Jesus knew the word of the Lord. He replied several times using the phrase "It is written."

Why should we know the word? The psalmist answers that question. So that we won't sin against God. If we do not know that coveting is a sin, is it still a sin when we covet our neighbor's new car? Yes, it is. The Lord makes it clear in the Ten Commandments not to covet.

Don't get me wrong. I am not the best when it comes to memorization. That is why I depend upon the Holy Spirit. I feel if I take the time to memorize the word, then at some point, when I need it, the Holy Spirit will bring it to mind. It may not be word for word, but the point is still there.

Knowing the word of God should not be a grade-school task, but rather a gathering of sacred knowledge sent to us from our Father so that we may live lives pleasing to Him.


smithsk said...

Good post. To hide the Word in my heart takes work. And my memory is not as good as it was when I was younger. Do you know of some good resources to aid in Bible memorization that you would recommend?

Rebeca said...

Very true, Joanna. You make many good points. My son and I are memorizing some verses from Ephesians chapter six together. I want him to know how to fight the good fight with the Sword of the Spirit held by the belt of Truth.

Joanna said...

Thank you for your comments.

Susan - I don't have any resources per se. I googled "Bible verse memorization techniques" and received over 29,000 results. When I'm memorizing a verse, I usually read and understand it first, then I write it out and say it out loud over and over. I also continue reviewing the verses after I've memorized them so as not to forget them. I hope this helps.

Brian Demers said...

Great post as usual Joanna, and I am not bias!! This post reminded me of a verse I learned long ago in 2:7 study,
Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be properous and successful.
This will definately help to memorize. If I meditated and spoke the book of the law as much as I do with 80's music and Seinfeld references....

Joanna said...

Brian - you and me both!

Tammy said...

Joanna, Your blog is awesome and I am thankful that Brian shared it with me. I look forward to each Wednesday and agree with him that you could publish is great.

Joanna said...

Tammy - Welcome to my blog! Thanks for stopping by and thank you for the kind words.