to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice
July 12, 2019 – Friday
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.
There are twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet. א Aleph is the first letter and opens Psalm 119 (as shown above) which is an acrostic Psalm of sorts. Most acrostic Psalms start with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet in the first verse and continue with a separate letter with each verse until they complete the
alphabet – 22 verses. Here we have 22 stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet and each 8 verses long (all beginning with the same letter of the alphabet), thus Psalm 119 is 176 verses long. We don’t see that as we read it in English, but in Hebrew it actually occurs. You may see this at the Blue Letter Bible as you may examine each verse in Hebrew, remember to look at the Hebrew from right to left to find the first letter.
Charles Spurgeon was initially overcome with the task of commenting on this Psalm as it is so large or as he said Its dimensions and its depth alike overcame me. More importantly is what he said when comparing it to other Psalms which I share below to possible entice you to share in this entire Psalm and his commentary as well.
This marvelous poem seemed to me a great sea of holy teaching, moving, in its many verses, wave upon wave; altogether without an island of special and remarkable statement to break it up. I confess I hesitated to launch upon it. Other psalms have been mere lakes, but this is the main ocean. It is a continent of sacred thought, every inch of which is fertile as the garden of the Lord: it is an amazing level of abundance, a mighty stretch of harvest fields. I have now crossed the great plain for myself, but not without persevering, and, I will add, pleasurable, toil. Several great authors have traversed this region and left their tracks behind them, and so far the journey has been all the easier for me; but yet to me and to my helpers it has been no mean feat of patient authorship and research. This great Psalm is a book in itself: instead of being one among many psalms, it is worthy to be set forth by itself as a poem of surpassing excellence. Those who have never studied it may pronounce it commonplace, and complain of its repetitions; but to the thoughtful student it is like the great deep, full, so as never to be measured; and varied, so as never to weary the eye. Its depth is as great as its length; it is mystery, not set forth as mystery, but concealed beneath the simplest statements; may I say that it is experience allowed to prattle, to preach, to praise, and to pray like a child prophet in his own father’s house?
This Psalm has no title nor is an author named, but most believe David wrote it and reading through it I personally agree as it has the flavor of his other Psalms. The name Spurgeon gave it is appropriately THE LONGEST PSALM as it surely is.
I hope you will spend some time looking at the first stanza above. Comments on the three verses with the word obey therein will have to wait until Monday as today has been filled with introducing this long and wonderful Psalm. Thus there is little room or time today for those comments.
Have a Great Weekend and remember to Go to Church!
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)