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“How can young people keep their paths pure?”

August 15, 2023

Daily Scripture

Psalm 119:4-11

4 God, you have ordered that your decrees
    should be kept most carefully.
5 How I wish my ways were strong
    when it comes to keeping your statutes!
6 Then I wouldn’t be ashamed
    when I examine all your commandments.
7 I will give thanks to you with a heart that does right
    as I learn your righteous rules.
8 I will keep your statutes.
    Please don’t leave me all alone!
9 How can young people keep their paths pure?
    By guarding them according to what you’ve said.
10 I have sought you with all my heart.
    Don’t let me stray from any of your commandments!
11 I keep your word close, in my heart,
    so that I won’t sin against you.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

We might see Psalm 119 as just a novelty—”the longest Bible chapter” (it has 176 verses). It’s much more. A younger writer (verses 9-10) showed both joy and realism about a life lived God’s way. “The rules in the Old Testament were not merely random taboos or prohibitions designed to keep you from enjoying your life. They were given to help you live a truly human life…. the psalm teaches adhering to God’s rules is the way of blessing. Things go well in your life.” *

  • This (probably) young psalmist was serious about living a pure life. “I have sought you with all my heart” (verse 10). But it took inner strength (verse 5), and it was all too easy to stray (verse 10). When have you (whatever your age) struggled with issues like those? On the other hand, when has seeking God and God’s ways with all your heart made a positive difference in your life, instead of robbing you of joy or love?
  • A bit later, the psalmist noted that not even powerful people’s contempt for the choice of living God’s way (Psalm 119:21-24) created a wish to change course. “Sometimes you have to live in light of the way you believe things will work out in the long run. These important people’s… behavior will reinforce the psalmist’s conviction that it is God’s declarations that are the best counselors.” ** Have you ever faced ridicule or hostility for choosing God’s ways? What helped you live beyond it?

Lord God, an old hymn says, “Beyond the sacred page, I seek you, Lord.” I want to understand my Bible better, but it’s you I seek in its pages. Shine into my heart through my Bible, so that your kingdom’s love, joy and peace shine out of me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Lydia Kim

Lydia Kim

Lydia Kim serves as one of the pastors of Connection and Care at Resurrection Leawood. An avid believer that growing in faith pairs well with fellowship and food, she is always ready for recommendations on local restaurants and coffee shops.

Growing up, I tried hanging out with a group of kids who were not making the best decisions. My mom caught wind of this and asked me, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?” The obvious answer was no. But I was angry then because I could tell my mom didn’t like these so-called friends and didn’t think I would make the right decisions if I kept hanging out with them. 

I quickly learned the power and importance of true friendships when I told that same group of kids that I wasn’t into drugs and alcohol, and they immediately stopped hanging out with me. My mom was right. These individuals weren’t really friends. I’ve experienced relationships that tried to take me off course or didn’t care about who I am, but I’ve also experienced communities who accepted me, loved me even when I messed up, and helped me focus on walking with Christ.

Following the right path can be difficult. However, we don’t walk alone. God is with us and works through us. Therefore, something amazing happens when we gather to worship, study, grow, serve, and give. We can foster and encourage one another to stay on the right path, deepening not only our faith but the faith of others. I pray that you can be that light to someone, and that someone is a light to you so that we all can stay on the right path.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* John Goldingay, Psalms for Everyone, Part 2: Psalms 73–150. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014, p. 145.
** Ibid.