“Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge over you,” and, “In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone” '. Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” ' " (Matthew 4:5-7).
Do you memorize certain Scriptures from the Bible? What is the benefit of memorizing God’s Word? Should we commit God’s Word to memory just to impress others with our knowledge of the Bible or is there a far greater benefit to our acquiring this degree of understanding of the Scriptures?
The psalmist wrote, “Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments” (Psalm 119:73). Fundamental in our understanding of why we need to study and apply God’s Word to our lives is the simple fact of our acknowledging that since God is the one who created us (cf. Genesis 1:26-27), it is He who knows best how to lead us in the way we should live. He gives us this direction in the Scriptures found in the Bible. Again, we see this was the attitude of the author of Psalm 119 as he looked to God’s Word for guidance on how he was to life his life: “Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors” (Psalm 119:24). He adds, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). He placed great value on this direction that God gave him through His Word: “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver” (Psalm 119:72). Unlike most people today who hunger and thirst for more and more wealth, the psalmist craved for the guidance of God’s Word in his life!
When one seeks God’s Word for guidance in their life, they will seek to commit God’s Word to memory because by doing so, they will be able to recall the guidance God gives them when faced with various challenges and temptations which come before them in their lives. Again, the psalmist wrote, I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life” (Psalm 119:93). He adds, ““My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word” (Psalm 119:148). Moreover he states, “Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness. Let Your mercies come also to me, O Lord-- Your salvation according to Your word. So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Your word” (Psalm 119:40-42). The author notes how God’s Word helps him when faced with temptations and trials: “The wicked wait for me to destroy me, but I will consider Your testimonies” (Psalm 119:95).
It is interesting that in the opening passage above both Jesus and the devil quoted the Scriptures. Both of them knew what the Scriptures said. However, while the devil twisted the Scriptures in such a way as to tempt Jesus to sin against God, Jesus properly applied God’s Word to deliver Himself from the temptations Satan had placed before Him (Matthew 4:5-7). Proper application of Scripture is essential for our being able to withstand the “wiles of the devil” (cf. Ephesians 6:11).
We are encouraged to desire God’s Word (1 Peter 2:2). The apostle Paul told Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Today, I will remember to use the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God as I battle against Satan (Ephesians 6:17: Hebrews 4:12). I rejoice that God has given me guidance through His Word and I will seek to meditate on it and properly apply it to my life!
“With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:10-11)!