to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice
July 19, 2019 – Friday
Psalm 119:33-40 NIV
33 Teach me, Lord, the way of Your decrees, that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep Your law and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward Your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your word.
38 Fulfill Your promise to Your servant, so that You may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread, for Your laws are good.
40 How I long for Your precepts! In Your righteousness preserve my life.
Today every verse in our stanza begins with the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, ה He as shown here, although different sources give it the name Hey or Heh or even Hei. When ה He is used at the beginning of a verb it makes the verb causative. This is important as our verses today might be read and understood as
– Cause me, Lord, to learn the way
– Cause me to have understanding
– Cause me to be in Your path/will
– Cause my heart to turn toward
– Cause my eyes to turn away
– Cause Your promise to be fulfilled
– Cause my disgrace to be taken away
– Cause my longing
making them even more powerful.
Looking at the first verse (33), the Palmist is not interested in simply knowing God’s decrees, but in understanding them so he would know the way or will of God. Knowing this, God’s will, he could follow it to the end. The second verse is very much like it, asking for understanding of God’s law so he could obey it with all of his heart. This would be very much like one wanting to understand the spirit of our laws, not just the letter (or literal interpretation) of the law.
Knowing the way and understanding God’s law, the Psalmist wants us to know (35) there is delight for us there. Further, experiencing this delight will result in his heart coming to the law (36) and away from selfish gain as well as turning his eyes away from covetousness (37) resulting in his life – his eternal life – being preserved or revived according to God’s word.
Keep your promise, let it be (38) feared. Indeed it would be a ruse of Satan to draw a child of God into worldly compliances (Matthew Henry). Instead, it is the Psalmist’s hope knowing God’s will and understanding His laws he will avoid disgrace (39) and in longing for God’s precepts (40) his life will be preserved. He will have revival through God’s word.
Too often we avoid revival, church, where we would hear God’s word and through His word know what we should or should not be doing to live a life in God’s will. It is my prayer you will hear God’s word in church this weekend and gain an understanding of it so you might be more able to live in His will.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)