“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
– Psalm 119:11
As we learned yesterday, a generational mentality and a reverence for Scripture were hallmarks of the Jewish culture. This was so true that by the second century, a man named Shimon Ben Shetach, who is considered one of the great sages of history, had developed a method called Yeshiva, which is the process of helping children memorize, learn, and understand Torah. Each child would begin attending school when he was five years old with the ultimate goal of being able to recite the first five books of the Bible — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy — by heart. This practice was common in Jesus’ day, and there was an expectation that every Jewish boy or girl who didn’t have a disability could repeat any portion of the law if they were asked. As if this wasn’t enough, the really exceptional students went on to memorize the rest of the Old Testament at the age of 10 or 11. The idea behind every young person knowing the Word of God by memory was that as long as it lived in their minds, it would never die. Even if all the synagogues were destroyed and every scroll was burned, the Torah would live on through the Hebrew people.
Child of God, if our Jewish friends can memorize multiple books of Scripture, then you and I can memorize a few verses. While this is not intended to be legalistic, I firmly believe that committing the Bible to memory is one of the best ways to be transformed by it. When you have God’s Word hidden in your heart, you possess the authority that comes from saying it out loud, the honor of praying it back to Him, and the opportunity to stand firmly on His promises, even when you don’t have a Bible in front of you. His Word is life and if you choose to embrace the discipline of memorizing it, it will change you from the inside out!
Teach me to hide your Word in my heart, Jesus, so I can stand on your promises in any circumstance.
What verse or passage of Scripture will you commit to memory this week?