to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice
July 18, 2019 – Thursday
Psalm 119:25-32 NIV
25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to Your word.
26 I gave an account of my ways and You answered me; teach me Your decrees.
27 Cause me to understand the way of Your precepts, that I may meditate on Your wonderful deeds.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me Your law.
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on Your laws.
31 I hold fast to Your statutes, Lord; do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of Your commands, for You have broadened my understanding.
It is interesting that the Hebrew letter ד Daleth represents or symbolizes a needy person who is bent over as noted here when the first verse for today begins with I am laid low in the dust. The Psalmist used a strong image to say that he felt near death in his current crisis; dust was the place of death, the place of mourning, and the place of humiliation (David Guzik). This is captured much better in any of the translations that begin with My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to Your word! as in the ESV.
The Psalmist is in a bad place and seeks revival by clinging to God’s word. And revival comes as he gives an account of my ways and You answered me; teach me Your decrees. God answered his call when he repented (gave an account of his ways) and taught him His decrees. The writer seeks more understanding though (27) so he may become more faithful.
Even though there is sorrow (28) in his life he asks to be strengthened by God’s word. We should do no less during our times of trials and testing. He worries about deceitful ways (29) and asks for more grace in learning more of God’s law. So he chooses the way of faithfulness setting his heart on God’s laws (30). He does not think he can do this all on his own so even though he holds fast to God’s statutes (31) he asks do not let me be put to shame.
Then we come to the final verse. What a difference, what a change. The Psalmist moves from laying low in the dust in need of revival to running in the path of God’s commands! What changed? First his life was preserved according to God’s word, he repented (gave an account of his ways), and he was strengthened according to God’s word. Then he was taught God’s law and set his heart on God’s laws while holding fast to His statutes all the while acknowledging his need for God’s help.
None of this should come as a surprise as we should know we need to turn to God and what His word has for us in the way we should live. If we don’t know, we only need to turn to His word and call upon Him to help and preserve us. Then we put our faith into action so we can act in His will. As the Apostle Paul said,
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Lord grant us the strength to put our faith into action and express it through love. Thank You for Your word and all that You share with us in it.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)