The unparalleled importance and power of God’s Word in the life of those who love, honor, and obey it is the theme of Psalm 119. In verse 11, the psalmist acknowledges, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you,” stressing the purifying quality of the Word of God to keep believers from straying into sin. Outward obedience comes from having the Scriptures buried deep within our hearts like a priceless treasure.
How can we have God’s Word hidden in our hearts? Let’s start by gaining a better understanding of what the psalmist is saying. The word for “hidden” in the original Hebrew means “to treasure, to regard as highly valued, to hide, keep, save up, store.” Translations range from “I have treasured your word in my heart” (CSB), to “I have stored up your word in my heart” (ESV), to “I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart” (The Message).
God’s Word is the agent of His Spirit used to cleanse the hearts of all who believe in Christ and are saved (Ephesians 5:25–27). And it is through keeping God’s Word securely planted in our hearts and living according to what it says that believers continue to walk in holiness (Psalm 37:31; 119:9).
The Lord commanded Israel, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 11:18–20). This passage mentions several of the ways we can hide, treasure, and store up God’s Word in our hearts. Let’s explore these in detail.
One of the first steps in hiding God’s Word in our hearts is reading the Bible. We get to know God and understand His plan for our lives through the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 119:105). Every Christian ought to pursue a consistent method of reading through the Bible.
Proverbs 2:1–5 conveys the benefits of listening to the Word of God: “My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. . . . Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God” (NLT).
Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ” (NLT). The spoken Word of Christ—the peaching of the gospel message—has the power to produce faith and reveal Christ. In Jesus Christ’s day, Scripture was read aloud in the synagogues and recited in households. When we listen to the Scriptures, either in music or read out loud, we reinforce God’s Word in our hearts.
Proverbs 7:1–3 states, “My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Writing down our thoughts as we read and listen to the Bible will help clarify and strengthen those biblical truths in our hearts (Exodus 34:27; Deuteronomy 6:6, 8–9; Habakkuk 2:2).
Discussing God’s Word with our children, spouse, friends, and small group members will further strengthen, illuminate, and solidify its teachings in our hearts and minds (Deuteronomy 6:7).
The Bible urges us to study the Scriptures for greater understanding (Acts 17:11). The apostle Paul told Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Use a study Bible and other resources to help you accurately apprehend what Scripture is saying, not superficially, but historically and in the proper context.
The Bible also encourages us to “delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night” (Psalm 1:2, NLT). We are to think about God’s instructions and promises all day and night long (Psalm 119:97, 148). As we ponder God’s Word continually, treasuring, storing, and hiding it in our hearts, it will literally transform how we think and behave (Romans 12:2).
“This is the day that the Lord has made” (Psalm 118:24)?
Psalm 118:24 is a celebratory Bible verse often cited in Sunday worship services and wedding ceremonies. The full verse reads, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24, ESV). Historically, the passage was part of a liturgy of praise in which worshipers recognized a feast day for giving thanks to God. With these words, the people acknowledged that God had established the day for a special purpose, and, therefore, they would carry out His purpose by rejoicing and being glad in it. Psalm 118 is the last of the “Hallel” or “praise” psalms (Psalms 113—118). These psalms were sung by the Jewish people in their joyous annual festivals, and especially as part of the Passover meal observances. The language and theme of Psalm 118 link it decisively to Israel’s exodus from Egypt. It was recited in remembrance of God’s great love and deliverance in freeing them from bondage to their cruel enemies. The tone of Psalm 118 is joyful and trusting and seems to have been specifically composed for a service of thanksgiving. The author, or celebrant, enters the temple courts together with a company of worshipers and gives thanks to the Lord in a sort of liturgy involving the congregation and ministers of the sanctuary. After inviting the community to unite in thanksgiving and praise (verses 2–4), the writer celebrates the Lord’s steadfast love, His deliverance from death, and His ongoing protection and care. The entire psalm commemorates God’s victory over the enemies of Israel (Psalm 118:10–17). In this context, we can fully understand the statement, “This is the day that the Lord has made.” The people were recognizing that this day of feasting and celebration was the Lord’s doing. Because the Lord had triumphed over their enemies, God’s people could now praise and worship Yahweh for His victory. In other words, the people were declaring, “This is the day we remember when the Lord defeated our enemies.” The New International Version renders the verse like so: “The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.” They had been delivered, and the Lord had made it happen. Psalm 118 also contains multiple Messianic references. Jesus quoted the psalm to describe how His own people would reject him as the cornerstone, and the apostle Peter furthered the same theme (Psalm 118:22, cf. Matthew 21:42; 1 Peter 2:6–8). When Christ entered triumphantly into Jerusalem, the people quoted from this psalm, as well (Psalm 118:26; cf. Matthew 21:9). By living on earth, dying on a cross, and resurrecting to life again, Jesus Christ accomplished complete victory over all God’s enemies. This is the day that the Lord had made—the day that found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ! Today, believers in Jesus can rejoice and be glad because we live in a brand-new day of triumph. Death and hell have been conquered through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 1:10; Revelation 1:18). Everyone who believes in Him will never die but, instead, be given life eternal (John 3:16; 11:25–26). For the children of God, every day is the day the Lord has made. Christians can rejoice and be glad for God’s enduring love, His deliverance from sin and death, His constant protection and care, and His gift of eternal life in Christ.