9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
I’ve always had a rebellious streak. I wasn’t a bad kid and was largely obedient to most boundaries that had been set for me. I certainly explored those boundaries and crept across them from time to time. I had to explore that boundary and inspect it for myself. For the most part, I stayed out of trouble. My rebellion was much more of an internal struggle. When I was told that something was a certain way or that I needed to think in a particular manner, I bucked against it. When I see everyone moving in one direction, I have to go the other way and see what they’re running from. I have to investigate it for myself. Buried deep inside the roots of who I am is a skeptic and a cynic.
Those qualities aren’t exactly seen as negative in our culture, and it’s true that they have served me well in certain situations. Nevertheless, they are some of my least favorite. They’ve bred arrogance and pride, selfishness and ego, safety and complacency. My fear is that I sometimes treat Scripture with the same level of skepticism. I read a passage and hear how it has been interpreted for centuries and think to myself that it must be saying something else. I don’t want to accept something that may not be true just because people have largely agreed with it. This is a dangerous boundary to toe because at the same time, I don’t want to reject something that is good and pure for the same reason.
This has been and still is in some ways a real challenge for me. It’s a fight against the arrogance that I know better. It’s a fight against elevating myself and my own intellect over that of others. It is, at its root, pride. I do think that there are healthy expressions of those qualities, but when I’m honest with myself, I know that I miss that mark far too often. So, this passage is my prayer.
Prayer and Reflection
Let me guard my way according to Your word and help me not to wander from Your commandments so that I don’t sin against You or against others. Give me the vision and heart to learn your statutes and to declare them. “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”