Shaped by God’s Word

The psalmist has, in the first eight verses of this great celebration of the word of God, used seven different words for God’s revealed will, his Torah. We’ve had law, testimony, way, precept, statute, command and judgment; all different facets of this priceless diamond that is God’s word. Now, at the start of the second eight-verse stanza, he adds another. For the first time it is ‘word’. This covers everything – every kind of communication from God. As John tells is in chapter one of his gospel, Jesus himself came as God’s Word – His ultimate communication – to us.

Here the psalmist is thinking of someone at the beginning of their independent life, no longer so bound to ‘do as you are told’. What do they want most? A good job? Plenty of money? A successful career? A good family? There’s nothing wrong with any of these things. But the most important is the one which sometimes doesn’t feature much in someone’s thinking and planning: holiness; wanting your life to be pure – clean in God’s sight.

Psalm 33:6 tells us that God created the universe by his word. And John reaffirms that when he says that Jesus, the Word of God, was the one through whom everything was created. His word is instructive, it’s corrective, it’s descriptive; but it is also creative.

We often marvel at the wonder of God ‘knitting us together in our mother’s womb’ (Psalm 139:13). But His creative work in our lives doesn’t stop when we are born. As we mature physically, we continue to grow in our inner being. And to grow well, we need to be healthy – in heart as well as in body. Health of heart means spiritual and moral purity; holiness, in fact.

God’s word is like a kind of ‘creative mould’. When an artist casts a bronze sculpture it is essential that the bronze conforms exactly to the mould. It is as we conform our lives to the pattern of every bit of God’s word that we become pure and holy. ‘Guarding our way according to God’s word’ means just that: shaping our lives according to the pattern revealed in His word. Get that right, and all the other things fall into place. As Jesus said, ‘Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well’ (Matthew 6:33, CJB).

Prayer: Lord, I acknowledge that there are many things in my life that don’t truly conform to the pattern revealed in Your word. As I go into a new day, please show me where my life is out of alignment with Your will. ‘Examine me, God, and know my heart; test me, and know my thoughts. See if there is in me any hurtful way, and lead me along the eternal way’ (Psalm 139:23-24, CJB).


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How can a young person keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word.
Psalm 119:9, Complete Jewish Bible


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Today's Writer

Richard Griffiths When Richard retired from full-time Anglican ministry in Chichester in 2009, he and his wife, Sue, moved to Northumberland. He joined the ministry team at Ellel Grange in 2011, where he and Sue regularly ministered at healing retreats. They are now helping on the "Explore" team. They greatly enjoy walking in the beautiful Northumberland countryside and along the coast. Richard loves seeing God bringing people into a strong personal relationship with Him as their Father and the healing that comes with it.

Richard Griffiths

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