I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 NIV
This old and well worn verse, memorised from Sunday School times, has a depth of meaning. On a surface level, it is an exhortation to learn, and remember Scripture, and commit as much as possible to memory. The reason for this is to give strength when we face tough times and need to know what His Word says to us in that situation. We use our memory to its best advantage while we can.
The psalmist doesn’t use the word memory, or brain, he uses the word ‘heart’ and I think deliberately to give us a deeper insight and meaning which goes beyond our capacity to remember. The heart goes far deeper than our heads, but we don’t remember with our hearts, do we? Or do we?
In these days where we are all living longer, one of the increasing problems we may face is forgetfulness, and in up to 80% of cases, we could develop some kind of mild or severe dementia. Our memory will not always be as alert or useful. We might find ourselves unable to recall the things we did yesterday, but can bring to mind in great detail what we did on our street 50 years ago in our childhood or youth. I think this is the secret of hiding God’s Word in our heart.
If you should ever see signs of memory loss starting in your own life, what would you like to keep in your heart? For my part, I would say the faces and names of my loved ones. My wife, children, grandchildren, friends and that very special friend too. The heart can be a treasure trove of good things, and on top of it all, could and should be God’s Word to keep us in tune with His work in our lives in the past, at present, and into our perhaps unknown future.
Have you seen a saint of God grow old, while memory fades? I have, and my experience is that they kept a glow, when their memory had no reason to make them happy. Without exception, they had hidden God’s Word in their hearts, and when their memory failed, the reserves of the heart kicked in and sustained them until it was time to come face to face with the Author. I pray that my gracious God will allow that same blessing for you and me!