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One difficult part of growing older is the fear of dementia and the loss of short-term memory. But Dr. Benjamin Mast, an expert on the topic of Alzheimer’s disease, offers some encouragement. He says that patients’ brains are often so “well worn” and “habitual” that they can hear an old hymn and sing along to every word. He suggests that spiritual disciplines such as reading Scripture, praying, and singing hymns cause truth to become “embedded” in our brains, ready to be accessed when prompted.
In Psalm 119:11, we read how the power of hiding God’s words in our heart can keep us from sinning. It can strengthen us, teach us obedience, and direct our footsteps (vv. 28, 67, 133). This in turn gives us hope and understanding (vv. 49, 130). Even when we begin to notice memory slips in ourselves or in the life of a loved one, God’s Word, memorized years earlier, is still there, “stored up” or “treasured” in the heart (v. 11esv, nasb). Even as our minds lose the keen edge of youth, we know that God’s words, hidden in our hearts, will continue to speak to us.
Nothing—not even failing memories—can separate us from His love and care. We have His word on it.
Lord, You are such an amazing comfort to us. Thank You that our salvation and spiritual well-being does not depend on our failing minds and bodies, but on You and Your faithfulness to Your Word.
God's promises never fail.
Psalm 119 is well known as the longest chapter in the Bible. It is an acrostic (each section beginning with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet) that praises the goodness and value of God’s law. While it may be tempting to ignore the significance of what the writer of this psalm says and consider it mere poetic license, Scripture repeatedly praises the law of God as good and valuable. Jesus Himself affirmed the value and benefit of the law on numerous occasions. Most notably in His Sermon on the Mount when He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17).