Use Your Storehouse

Published on September 30, 2010 by CT in Blog, Devotion


I love questions, and I hope you love them as well. Questions are the ingredients of learning; if we ask them, we may find answers that season our minds, and our hearts, and our spirits in such a way that God and life can be savored more deeply.  If we don’t ask questions, then we may find our taste buds soon become dull to the pleasures of life.

In Psalm 119:9, the Psalmist asks:  How can a young man keep his way pure? This is an important question—one we’d all do well to consider.  And the question is interesting in that the young are called out in particular.  The assumption almost seems to be that the path we take early in life is often the path we continue later in life.  And this is true, isn’t it?  Many of us live out our youths and then spend the rest of our lives dealing with the consequences, whether positive or negative.  School experiences, the absence of a mother, the abuse of a father, the training of loving parents, the presence of a dear friend—all of these affect us deeply in ways that are lasting.

The answer to this question, and the answer to the question of how an old man can keep his way pure, is the same:  by guarding, storing, seeking, and using the word of God.

We might imagine our lives as a walk along a path. As we become young men and women, there are many paths we can take, like spokes on a wheel, and as we choose one and walk along it, we find there are many things that would pull us off this path.  Detours, obstacles, ruts, holes, calls from others to join their paths—all these distract us from the simple task of walking forward each and every day.

What keeps us on the path of faith is the word of God.  His word protects this path, and it directs the path itself.  But using it in this way is intentional—the Psalmist says we “guard” or “keep” the path according to His word.  So as the path is to be walked daily, the guarding or keeping must be daily as well.

Also along these paths are storehouses.  Storehouses, as you know, are meant to store things.  And we store things not for the sake of storing them, but so that we might use them one day.  The Psalmist says he has “stored up [God’s] word in [his] heart [so] that [he] might not sin against [Him]” (v. 11).  If the storehouses are empty, then we may be out of luck.  And if they’re full and we don’t use them, then we may be out of luck.  So storing up His word is crucial, and going into the storehouse to use the word is crucial, if we’re to remain on our path of faith.

Finally, we can never keep to this path alone. The Psalmist cries out, “With my whole heart I seek you,” (v. 10) which is odd in that he just lamented his lack of steadfastness in v. 5.  So he must be expressing a heart desire, rather than a statement of fact.  And we do find him on his path, crying out for help, saying, “Let me not wander from your commandments!” (v. 10).  He knew what we know—that we walk our paths of life alone at our peril.  The best path, the path of purity, the path of joy, is a path walked with God.

This God, who is the Word, who gave us His word, who reminds us of His word, is our faithful companion.  May we grow in our understanding that He is there with us, that His word will guard our paths, so that we might not sin against Him, and so that we might experience the fullness of joy in walking each day by His side.

Question:  When you read Scripture, do you think of it as storing up for use, either now or later, or something else altogether?

  • Scott Branham

    CT – first, congrats to you and Anna. Courtney and I are excited to meet Avery and see that she is already sporting your hairstyle. Daddy T – 1, Mama T – 0, for those of you scoring at home.

    Secondly, the storehouse analogy is one I have thought about on many occasions. Like most young adults, I find myself in the instant gratification mode when reading Scripture. My spiritual maturity (and God) has taught me that everything I read is not to be immediately applicable in life's current struggles. It is at that point that I put the lessons learned in the storehouse.

    My dilemma, though, is that I often find myself not being able to locate things in my spiritual storehouse when they are needed. Where did I put that verse about obedience, or that parable about loving others?! It's not behind the rubber chicken and soccer ball where I thought I left it.

    I know spending more time in the Word will keep these passages fresh in mind and ultimately draw me closer to Him, but do you have any advice as to how you fill and retrieve Scripture from your storehouse?

    Your sage advice is always welcomed.

    • Chris_Tomlinson

      Hey bro, thanks for the note. We excited to introduce you guys to the little lady.

      Your question is a good one, and your struggle, I think, a common one. It's certainly common between the two of us. I don't think there are any big new answers here, but the way I tend to think about Scripture helps to set the tone for why I read and what I do with it when I read it.

      The question I've had to struggle with for a long time is: Do I want more of God? Or do I simply want to know more about God? Or do I not really want to know more because of what that might mean, whether in terms of conviction, obedience, fear, whatever. Until the answer is, “Yes, I want more of God, because in Him is life, in His word is nourishment greater than bread, and in His presence is the fullness of joy,” then I’m probably not going to read, consider, memorize, or retrieve in a way that serves the end of knowing God, His heart, and His mind more intimately.

      When the Scripture is dry to me, I think I have to go back to at least these three things—and there are probably more.

      1. Delighting: am I delighting in God, and am I reading in order to know Him (rather than check a box, ramp up the knowledge, arm myself for a spiritual debate, or look to impress others by my command of Scripture.
      2. Asking: am I asking God to show me more of Himself and His character every time I open up the Bible? Am I asking Him to help marinate my soul in His word so that it will transform my mind and heart and hands?
      3. Trusting: am I continuing my daily task of faith with regards to His word? Am I putting my faith in God’s promises that His word brings life, and that He will give me understanding, and that His Spirit will recall His word to my mind when it’s needed?

      If I was really into mnemonics, I’d come up with something for the letters WHO so we could make a Scripture memorization tool called WHO DAT?

      If you want to get practical, then here are a couple of other thoughts. I’ve used index cards in the past where I write down a verse or chapter I’m trying to memorize and I carry it around with me. If I’m walking somewhere, or waiting somewhere, I would pull it out and go through the passage.

      If you want to be convicted and inspired about Scripture memorization—and its purpose—watch this video. It’s pretty amazing.

      And here are a few other practical suggestions from Piper as well.

      I know it was part of the joke, but I think the rubber chicken and soccer ball are actually good extensions on the metaphor. If we're cruising along the path, and we get to the storehouse, and we open it to find rubber chickens and soccer balls and a bunch of stuff crammed in it, there’s really no room for God’s word there. Our minds are the storehouse, and you know as well as I do all the stuff we put into it daily—some of it good, some of it not so good. We really just have to make a decision—do I think God’s word is more valuable and more useful for bringing me my greatest joy than the other things I spend my time and thoughts on? Tough question—tough decision. And probably one that needs to be asked, and fought, daily.

      Looking forward to see you two soon…