Psalm 119:11~Stockpiling God’s Word

Psalm 119:11 has long been a key verse for memorizing Scripture. The psalmist says he hides God’s Word in his heart. By memorizing the Word he wages war against sin. The ESV translates hidden as “stored up.” The psalmist stockpiles God’s Word like a crazed end of the worlder stockpiles food. He has verses to fight fear. He has verses to fight anger. He has verses to remind him to be holy. He has verses to remind him of God’s character. If the enemy confounds him, he runs to God’s Word to find verses so he is not defeated again. By hiding up God’s Word, he is like a well equipped soldier, prepared to enter battle.  

However, this verse does not simply mean that we should memorize Scripture. “Heart” in the Old Testament encompasses the entire life of a man, not just the mind. God’s Word is to be internalized by us. It is to become part of who we are. It is to flow through our veins.  We should memorize particular verses and passages. But we should also become familiar with all of God’s Word. We should read it over and over again until it becomes “deeply seated in our hearts” (John Calvin). We grow in obedience to God’s Word so that we are able to discern good and evil.  We talk about God’s Word with other Christians. We listen carefully to sermons and teaching by our pastors and elders. The goal is not memorization. Memorization is the means. The goal is a life governed by the Word of God.

This verse teaches us that Old Testament saints were supposed to have God’s Word in their hearts. Many Christians believe the OT was focused on the outward rituals, such as washings and sacrifices, while the New Testament is now focused on the internal. Our passage here, as well as many others, cuts down this idea. The OT saints were expected to love God from their heart. Psalm 37:31 says that the righteous man has the law of God in his heart. There are differences between the OT and the NT, but focus on the heart is not one of them.

If we drink deeply of God’s Word sin will find it difficult to take root in our hearts and lives. We should want the soil of hearts to be hard to sin and soft to the Word and righteousness. We cannot expect to avoid sin if we do not know God’s Word. God’s Word defines sin, tells us how ugly it is, and gives us strategies to put it to death in our lives. If we do not have God’s Word in our minds and in our bones then we will be easily deceived by Satan and drawn into all kinds of traps, snares, and pits.  If we do not have God’s Word on our tongues then our words will reflect the world and her priorities. If we do not have God’s Word in our hearts then our emotions and feelings will lead us astray. God’s Word is our primary weapon in our fight against sin.

The application of this verse is simple: Read, study, memorize, pray, sing, and obey the Scriptures with the aim that your entire life, heart, mind, emotions, and will, are shaped by God’s Word.  Make sure you well stocked in your fight against sin. 

Other Posts on Psalm 119
Psalm 119:2-4
Psalm 119:7
Psalm 119:9