# 334 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 119. (vv. 9-16 ב Beth). Ready for a walk?

Bush-walking is very popular in Australia and there are some great bush-walking tracks available for the keen bush-walkers. One such walk which commences not far from where I live is called the Bibbulmun Track and is one of the world’s great long distance walk trails, stretching 1000km from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills, to Albany on the south coast, winding through the heart of the scenic South West of Western Australia.

Now the best way to get lost on this 1000 km track is to ignore the signs along the way, including the yellow triangle ones with the snake like character indicating which way to go to stay on track. (note: the snake is known as the “Waugal” – the use of a depiction of the Waugal as a trail marker was considered appropriate for a track named in recognition of the indigenous people of the region.).

Our psalmist today also speaks of the ways he endeavours to use to stay on the path God has for him as one of his chosen people. Read what he says below and see how many you can find.

ב Beth

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.

15 I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
16  I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word.

Here are some thoughts: “He ensures that his way aligns with God’s (v. 9b); he seeks God wholeheartedly (v. 10); he stores up God’s word in his heart (v. 11); he recounts aloud God’s rulings (v. 13); he meditates on God’s instructions (v. 15); and remembers God’s word (v. 16). Such a lifestyle does not happen by accident; it must be planned, desired and regulated. A difficult, yet delightful choice.”  (Scripture Union notes – Encounter with God)  

Of course, this is not only great advice for a young person, it is what we all need to do all the way through our lives to old age. Just consider how foolish would be the bush-walker who followed the signs along the Bibbulmun Track for the first 250 km but then decided he would do his own thing after that. Who knows where he would end up? Sadly, I have a number of acquaintances who started out well, but seem to have ignored the signs along the way and drifted into lifestyles far from the path God desired for them.

The reality is, of course, that all of us need to aware of the things in life that may cause us to deviate or stumble along the way and be prepared. When walking the Bibbulmun Track the walker needs to be well prepared, dress suitably, take adequate water and food, pace themselves, as well as be aware of the possible dangers (such as snakes) they may meet along the way. The psalmist later in this Psalm confesses:   

28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
    be gracious to me and teach me your law.

And so, we need much wisdom in our lives, and that comes from paying close attention to the Lord and His Word. In Proverbs we read:

Then you will understand what is right and just
    and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
    and understanding will guard you. 
(Proverbs 2:9-11)

One more suggestion as regards bush-walking is that it is wise to not walk alone. Not only is it safer to walk with a companion, but it will also be more enjoyable. Paul in Colossians suggests the same in following God’s path:

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17)

Kidner summarizes it in these words:

These verses in Psalm 19, Proverbs and Colossians “show that the mind which stores up Scripture has its taste and judgement educated by God.” (# 29)

Father, forgive us when we have strayed from your path and may we stay on the path of purity day by day by living according to your word. Amen.

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