Thursday, January 8, 2009

Psalm 119:9 - Taking Heed . . .

Recently several verses that I had memorized many years ago from Psalm 119 kept coming to my mind, one of which was. . .

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word.” Psalm 119:9

As the verse ran through my mind, I began to ponder the meaning of it, which then led to further investigation on the meaning of the words. [While this specific verse is speaking of young men, its application is still true for us as young ladies also.]

How shall we cleanse (zakah – to be translucent; fig. to be innocent) our way? By taking heed to the way in which we are walking according to God’s word.

The question that comes to mind then is: What does it mean to take heed to our way? What does it all entail? In this particular verse, the word “heed” is translated from the Hebrew word shamar which means to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; to protect, attend to; it can also have the meaning “to tend” *. 

This definition made a profound impression on my heart, two phrases in particular . . . to hedge about with thorns, to protect. Our lives, our hearts need to be surrounded with this hedge of protection. A hedge that keeps the evils of the world from infiltrating our hearts. A hedge that protects against selfishness, pride, worldliness and other sins.

But what is this hedge? Putting in the definition, it would read something like “putting a hedge of protection around our way according to God’s Word”. So we see that God’s word is the standard for what this hedge should be and what it should protect against.

When looking at Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse, a portion of it seemed especially fitting to share here:

“They [those referred to in the verse] must carefully apply that rule and make use of it; they must take heed to their way, must examine it by the word of God, as a touchstone and standard, must rectify what is amiss in it by that regulator and steer by that chart and compass. God’s word will not do without our watchfulness, and a constant regard both to it and to our way, that we may compare them together.”

As children of God, we are to strive to guard our way, to examine it and purge the sin that is within, to “walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8) and “in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:10.) Not as one of the kings of Israel did as the Scriptures share that “Jehu was not careful [“shamar”] to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart . . .” (2 Kings 10:31.)

May each one of us, with the help of the Holy Spirit, take heed to our way according to the Lord’s word. May we, unlike Jehu, be careful to walk in obedience to God’s word with all of our hearts. Let us seek, with the Lord’s aid, to set up a protective hedge and guard around our hearts and minds. And for what purpose? To please and glorify our precious Lord and Savior.

*Definitions taken from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary

-Posted by Sarah


  1. What a good lesson and reminder! I like the last sentence, our goal in everything we do should be to glorify God, not please man or try to get into heaven.

  2. Hello Sarah! Thank you for sharing that! That answered a question that I had...!

    May God Bless you richly!


  3. That is a good point, Anna! Thank you for sharing! :)

  4. We were glad to hear that it was a blessing to you, AJ! Thank you for commenting! :)

  5. Thank you for this! I was just trying to find the right definition for this verse. I'm so glad that you were able to find the origin of the words that define the true meaning of the verse.

  6. You're welcome, Anonymous! And thank you for your comment . . . I am glad that it was able to be a help to you!