to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice
July 11, 2019 – Thursday
Psalm 106:24-27 NIV
24 Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord.
26 So He swore to them with uplifted hand that He would make them fall in the wilderness,
27 make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands.
This is simply titled A Psalm of David. Charles Spurgeon notes This Psalm begins and ends with Hallelujah — “Praise ye the Lord.” The space between these two descriptions of praise is filled up with the mournful details of Israel’s sin, and the extraordinary patience of God; and truly we do well to bless the Lord both at the beginning and the end of our meditations when sin and grace are the themes. Clearly the Psalm speaks to many of Israel’s major failings along with God’s judgments, incredible mercies, and resultant restoration of Israel.
Our verses for today reflect one of Israel’s failings and God’s resultant judgment. They did not believe God’s word, His promise. What arrogance. This is a sin that is the source for their disobedience. From their arrogance comes the belief they know better than God what they should or should not do. Pride is the source of almost all sin. There is no humility, no humbleness, no recognition of who God is in relation to whom they are. They effectively put themselves on equal or higher footing with or above God. They will determine what they should or should not do – not God. So they actually despised the pleasant land, the promised land of milk and honey.
Their disobedience began with grumbling or murmuring in their tents where they likely thought it could be hidden from God. But the grumbling and murmuring led to outright disobedience to the Lord. Is it any wonder He swore to them with uplifted hand that He would make them fall in the wilderness, make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands. No, it is not. The wonder is that mercy and restoration would follow as evidenced in the final two verses.
47 Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. 48 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord.
It is perhaps too easy for us to read this Psalm and wonder “How could they?” When we do that we forget how often we have turned away from God and made our focus anything but Him from time to time. Thus, I would like to conclude with this call from Spurgeon for us to read this Psalm with great humility and awareness of our own many shortcomings while remembering God’s incredible mercies for us as well.
While we are studying this holy Psalm, let us all along see ourselves in the Lord’s ancient people, and bemoan our own provocations of the Most High, at the same time admiring his infinite patience, and adoring him because of it. May the Holy Spirit sanctify it to the promotion of humility and gratitude.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)