Beth - Part 1 (ב)
ב (BETH) – Verses 9-16
9 By what means can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to Your word.
10 Bending all my heart I seek You;
let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Buried deep in my heart I hold Your promise,
that I might not sin against You.
12 Blessèd are You, O Lord;
teach me Your statutes!
13 By my lips I declare
all the just decrees of Your mouth.
14 Blissful, I exult in the way of Your testimonies
as over all riches.
15 Bound to Your precepts I meditate
and I fix my eyes on Your ways.
16 Boundlessly I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
ב (BETH) – Part 1
Verses 9-10 “Remember Your Creator in the Days of Your Youth”
Where do I; where can I find a firm foundation? On what do I build my life? On what can I rest my soul when so much in life is shifting and uncertain?
I heard a saying decades ago: “Only when you are prepared to die are you then prepared to live.” All too often we think of our youth, our childhood, and our teenage years as a time of carefree wandering through life, putting off the days when we will have to get serious. The God of the Bible calls us to know Him in our youth. Never underestimate the importance of how God calls us even from our early years. Never underestimate the potential in your life, or in those around you of following, of having discipleship beginning to form at a young age, or of beginning early on to learn to share God’s love. One of the wisest people in the history of the world was Solomon. He looked back over his life and wrote down what he had learned. Part of it is, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth . . .” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
Think about David as a youth learning to walk with God and then standing up to danger and evil. Think about a young girl in Damascus telling about the God of Israel (2 Kings 5); or about the prophet Jeremiah called and sent by God in his youth (Jeremiah 1:6-7); or about Timothy the young pastor (1 Timothy 4:12). Through the centuries millions of us have learned this truth; that in our early years Jesus invites us to follow Him. He calls to us, He speaks His words of life and our lives are changed. All over the world He is even now calling children, young people and young adults to “Follow Me.” We hear story upon story of God calling the young. It makes sense. After all, Jesus was only a youth, 12 years old, when He was there in the temple with the Rabbis and teachers of the law asking and answering questions, and amazing them. (Luke 2:46-47)
Think about the life and the prayer life of Jesus. As the psalm says, “From my youth I was cast upon You.” Jesus grew from infancy in a constant walk with God, a constant walk of faith. He tells us of His prayer life in Isaiah (50:4). “Morning by morning He awakens me; He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” And earlier in the verse, “the Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.” Notice how Jesus treasured the word; how He focused all His heart on the words and promises of God.
Jesus has words of hope and comfort for our time of need. All of this comes from standing under the trials of life holding to those promises. And so He calls us to follow Him in every time and age of our life.
And then realize this truth. Even before our youth, God has called to us and invited us into relationship with Him. He knew me before I was me. He said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. . .” (Jeremiah 1:5) David says, “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13) And John the Baptist was still within the womb when he leaped for joy responding in faith to Jesus. (Luke 1:41-44)
Lord, call us to You in the days of our youth. Build in our hearts the foundation of Your word. Let my life be intertwined, woven together with, and held together by Your promises. Let me grow in faith, and in my soul let me treasure You in all that You are. In that way let me receive Your blessing and Your discipline, that I may grow as a disciple of Jesus. Amen.
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Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.