III. GOD'S WORD IN OUR HEART
"Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul.' -- Deut. 11:18
"Son of man, all My words that I shall speak unto thee, receive in heart.' -- Ezek. 3:10
"Thy word have I laid up in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.' - Ps. 119:11
Long for the milk, that ye may grow thereby. This charming word taught every young Christian that, if he would grow, he must receive the word as milk, as the living participation of the life and the love of God. On this account is it of so great importance to know well how we must deal with the word. The Lord says that we must receive it and lay it in our heart. (Deut. 30:14; Ps. 1:2; 119:34,36; Is. 51:7; John 5:38; 8:31; 15:7; Rom. 10:8-9; Col. 3:16) The word must possess and fill the heart. What does that mean?
The heart is the temple of God. In the temple there was an outer court and an inner sanctuary. So also is it in the heart. The gate of the court is the understanding; what I do not understand cannot enter into the heart. Through the outer gate of the understanding, the word comes into the court. (Ps. 119:34; Mat.. 13:19; Acts 8:30) There it is kept by memory and reflection. (Ps. 119:15,16) Still it is not yet properly in the heart. From the court there is an entrance into the innermost sanctuary; the entrance of the door is faith. What I believe, that I receive into my heart. (John 5:38; Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:10,17) Here it then becomes held fast in love and in the surrender of the will. Where this takes place, there the heart becomes the sanctuary of God. His law is there, as in the ark, and the soul cries out: `The law is within my heart.' (Ex. 25:16; Ps. 37:31; 40:9; Col. 3:16)
Young Christian, God has asked your heart, your love, your whole self. You have given yourself to Him. He has received you, and would have you and your heart entirely for Himself. He will make that heart full of His word. What is in the heart one holds dear, because one thinks continually on that which gives joy. God would have the word in the heart. Where His word is, there is He Himself and His might. He considers Himself bound to fulfil His word; when you have the word, you have God Himself to work in you. (Gen. 21:1; Josh. 23:14) He wills that you should receive and lay up His words in your heart: then will He greatly bless you. (Deut. 11:10; 28:1,2; Ps. 1:2,3; 119;14,45,98,165; John 27:6,8,17)
How I wish that I could bring all young Christians to receive simply that word of their Father, `Lay up My words in your heart,' and to give their whole heart to become full of God's word. Resolve then to do this. Take pains to understand what you read. When you understand it, take then always one or another word to keep in remembrance and ponder. Learn words of God by heart; repeat them to yourself in the course of the day. The word is seed; the seed must have time, must be kept in the ground: so must the word be carried in the heart. Give the best powers of your heart, your love, your desire, the willing and joyful activity of your will, to God's word. `Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.' Let the heart be a temple, not for the world and its thoughts, but for God and His thoughts. (Ps. 119:69; John 15:3,7; 17:6,8,17) He that, every day, faithfully opens his heart to God's voice to hear what God says, and keeps and carries about that word, shall see how faithfully God also shall open His heart to our voice, to hear what we say to Him in prayer.
Dear Christian, pray read yet once again the words at the head of this section. Receive them as God's word to you -- the word of the Father who has received you as a child, of Jesus who has made you God's child. God asks of you, as His child, that you give your heart to become filled with His word. Will you do this? What say you? The Lord Jesus would complete His holy work in you with power along this way. (John 14:21,23; 1 John 2:14,24; Rev. 3:8,10) Let your answer be distinct and continuous: `I have hid Thy word in my heart;' `How love I thy law: it is my mediation all the day.' Even if it appears difficult for you to understand the word, read it only the more. The Father has promised to make it a blessing in your heart. But you must first take it into your heart. Believe then that God will by the Holy Spirit make it living and powerful in you.
O my Father, who hast said to me: `My son, give Me thine heart,' I have given Thee mine heart. Now that Thou chargest me to lay up and to keep Thy word in that heart, I answer: `I keep Thy commands with my whole heart.' Father, teach me every day so to receive Thy word in my heart that it can exercise there its blessed influence. Strengthen me in the deep conviction that even though I do not actually apprehend its meaning and power, I can still reckon on Thee to make the word living and powerful in me. Amen.
1. What is the difference between the reading of the word to increase knowledge and the receiving of it in faith?
2. The word is as a seed. Seed requires time ere it springs up. During this time it must be kept silently and constantly in the earth. I must not only read God's word, but ponder it and reflect upon it: then shall it work in me. The word must be in me the whole day, must abide in me, must dwell in me.
3. What are the reasons that the word of God sometimes has so little power in those that read it and really long for blessing? One of the principal reasons is surely that they do not give the seed time to grow, that they do not keep it and reflect upon it, in the believing assurance that the word itself shall have its working.
4. What is the token of His disciples that Jesus mentions first in the high-priestly prayer? (John 17)
5. What are the blessings of a heart filled with the word of God?