Four Pictures of a Bible Hungry Heart – sermon outline


Four Pictures of a Bible Hungry Heart – Psalm 119 sermon

Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, And not to covetousness.

What did the Psalmist mean, when he prayed for the Lord to incline his heart toward His testimonies? Psalm 119 focuses on the Psalmist’s love for God’s Word in so many different ways, but I was captured by this particular prayer, "incline my heart." What is this, how does God do this?

From a study of the meaning of the word "Incline:, I suggest that he was praying for:


The word "incline" is used in many places in the O.T. in the sense of a "stretching out toward something." Like stretching out a tent, reaching out to pick up a staff, etc.  Ex. 6:6 The Lord told Moses He would rescue Israel with an "outstretched arm".

The Psalmist wanted his heart to be reaching and stretching to lay hold of God’s testimonies.


The word "incline" also is used to describe a "turning aside" to something. It was used of Balaam’s Ass that turned aside when it saw the Angel with the drawn sword (Numbers 22:23).

The man who wrote this verse wanted to have a heart that would be inclined to immediately turn toward God’s testimonies in times of pressure and trouble.


The word "incline" is sometimes used to speak of "giving attention to", to "turn one’s attention to." In the following verse, you see it is used of having one’s heart full of something that causes one to take action and turn in a certain direction. The phrase "Go then" is the same word used in Ps. 119:36 that is translated "incline" in the passage we are studying.

1 Sam. 14:7 So his armorbearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart.”

So, our Psalmist friend was also praying that his heart would be directed toward the testimonies of God and beyond that maybe he was thinking he wanted his heart so full of God’s testimonies that the power of those testimonies would spur him on in right direction.


The very context of Ps. 119:36 also shows us that this man wanted his heart full of God’s Word and not something else, namely covetousness. 

Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, And not to covetousness.

The Psalmist wanted his heart saturated with a desire for God and His testimonies. He wanted to be allured by the stories of God, not the offers of the world.

Conclusion— This little verse invites us to examine our hearts. Do we have a heart inclined toward God’s Word? Do we pray as the Psalmist did that God would move in answer to our prayers and influence our heart in such a way that it would be inlcinded toward what God said and away from the enticing words of other influences?

The good news for us is, the as we are praying for the Lord to incline our heart toward Him, He is saying "Come to me!" This is the sweet collision of desire between God and a Saved Man. Listen to what Charles Spurgeon wrote:

"From the first moment of your spiritual life until you are ushered into glory, the language of Christ to you will be, "Come, come unto me." As a mother puts out her finger to her little child and woos it to walk by saying, "Come," even so does Jesus. He will always be ahead of you, bidding you follow Him as the soldier follows his captain. He will always go before you to pave your way, and clear your path, and you shall hear His animating voice calling you after Him all through life; while in the solemn hour of death, His sweet words with which He shall usher you into the heavenly world shall be–"Come, ye blessed of my Father."(Spurgeon’s Daily Devotional)

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