[ 2 minutes to read ]
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed thereto according to thy word.
~ Psalm 119:9
“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?”
The second stanza begins with the question of how the way shall be purified. This is a question concerning practical holiness. How can a man be clean and walk in a way that is clean? Every child of God is marked by the desire for practical holiness.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
~ Romans 6:22
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
~ 2 Corinthians 7:1
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
~ 1 Thessalonians 4:7
In this case, the young man is specially considered. The Proverbs are full of direct words to the young man and he is peculiarly vulnerable to the folly of youth and the pride of life because of his strength. If a young man be in the way of Christ, it is urgently pressed that he be committed to being clean in the way.
“By taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
The question asked is then answered in the text. He is instructed to take heed, which means to hedge about, to guard, to attend to. The young man must take this business seriously. He is called to diligent and passionate action. He must be zealous and persevering in this most important task.
The young man’s heed is to be of the Word of God. This term occurs 24 times in this Psalm and refers to the words that are spoken. It is qualified in this text as the words spoken by God. Jesus highlighted this importance in His answer to Satan:
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
~ Matthew 4:4
A young man is to heed diligently the Word of God and make his way in it. In so doing, he will cleanse his way. Jesus also told us that God’s Word is powerful to cleansing.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
~ John 17:17