What are you hiding in your heart?

It happened during the Korean War. A U.S. soldier in a Chinese prison camp was tortured for days until his mind finally snapped. When it did, the soldier began to quote Scripture, for hours, never the same verse more than once. The Chinese guards marveled at this, one man in particular. When the soldier came back to his right mind a few days later and was well enough to speak, a guard was standing outside his cell, waiting.
“I must know your God,” the Chinese guard said to the U.S. officer. “I have never seen this before. Every man we have tortured, when his mind goes he begins to spew venom and vile speech. But you … I have never heard these things that came from you. It must be your God. I want to know him.”
The truth is that “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” So, what are you hiding in your heart? May I encourage you to spend 10 minutes today reading through Psalm 119? It is not only the longest Psalm, it is the longest chapter in the Scriptures, longer even than many books of the Bible. The theme of Psalm 119 is God’s glory as revealed in the Scriptures. In 176 verses, there are only a small handful that do not specifically mention God’s Word (law, commandments, statutes, etc). God made sure that the longest chapter in the Bible was about the Bible.
This psalm has even been a lifesaver. A Bishop of Edinburgh in the 1600s, George Wishart, was condemned to die. He was led to the scaffold where the custom of the times allowed a condemned man to choose a psalm to be sung. He chose Psalm 119, and before two-thirds of it had been sung, a pardon arrived and Wishart’s life was spared! We joke about memorizing Scripture and say we know John 11:35, “Jesus wept,” but you may be surprised at how many men and women of God have memorized Psalm 119 over the years. David Livingstone won a Bible as a 9-year-old because he could recite it. I read that every Hebrew child in Jesus’ day memorized Psalm 119 as their first passage, like many do today with John 3:16 or Psalm 23.
Very early in the chapter is this incredible statement by the Psalmist: “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Think about that. Did you know that memorizing God’s Word with a heart to bring glory to God will help you sin less? If we live to bring glory to God and the greatest enemy to that glory is sin, then shouldn’t we do whatever it takes to sin less? Some of you are thinking that you can’t memorize anything. Ah, but you can and you have. You know hundreds of songs from your youth, word perfect. You can quote dozens of lines from movies you love. Here’s a question to ponder: if you were told that someone would pay you $1,000 for every verse you memorize every week, would you change your tune about “being able” to memorize Scripture? Of course you would.
Here is my challenge for those who are looking for one. Begin to memorize Scripture.
Start with a commitment to memorize one verse a week. If you are not sure where to begin,
memorize Psalm 119:11. Meditate on your weekly verse as you drive in your car. Ask the Lord to teach you what it means and how it applies to you.
Whatever you hide in your heart will change your life.

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