to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice
July 23, 2019 – Tuesday
Psalm 119:49-56 NIV
49 Remember Your word to Your servant, for You have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from Your law.
52 I remember, Lord, Your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken Your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, Lord, I remember Your name, that I may keep Your law.
56 This has been my practice: I obey Your precepts.
Today, Tuesday, every verse in our stanza begins with the seventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet, ז Zayin. In Biblical Hebrew and in Classical Hebrew, zayin means swordand the verb lezayen means to arm. Looking at the interlinear bible you may see each verse of this stanza begins with the zayin Hebrew letter. In manual printing the letter zayin looks like a vertical stick with a bend to the left near its center, but it begins with a flat horizontal top. With block printing it closely resembles the number 7 although the top slopes downward and the vertical line is not at the very end nor angled down as seen here.
There is a great introduction to this stanza by Spurgeon given as an exposition. He writes
This octrain deals with the comfort of the word. It begins by seeking the main consolation, namely, the Lord’s fulfilment of His promise, and then it shows how the word sustains us under affliction, and makes us so impervious to ridicule that we are moved by the harsh conduct of the wicked rather to horror of their sin than to any submission to their temptations. We are then shown how the Scripture furnishes songs for pilgrims, and memories for night watchers; and the psalm concludes by the general statement that the whole of this happiness and comfort arises out of keeping the statutes of the Lord.
This may be clearly seen when we look at the first verse (49) and see how God’s word gives hope, then comfort in suffering (50) even preserving the Psalmist’s life. Because of this hope, comfort and preservation even when mocked (51) he does not turn from God’s law.
Instead of turning from His law, they comfort him (52) all the more even while he is offended (53) by the behavior of the caught up in a sinful life ignoring God’s law. This is great counsel to us today as we observe so much sin surrounding us we can take great comfort in knowing the Word made flesh as our Lord and Savior.
We should also remember songs or hymns (54) from God’s word or decrees wherever we might be. An excellent example of this would be the song Micah 6:8 which is a great reminder of how God wants us to live.
For night time (55) Spurgeon mentions night watchers perhaps referring to those who marvel at the stars and planets one may observe at night. I thought more of a time of Bible reading before going to bed and prayers at bedtime so that the last thing on our mind before sleeping is God and what He wants and expects of us.
Finally, all the above is summed up (56) as the Psalmist’s practice to ensure he obeys God’s laws. Thus we are given a sense of practices we could easily follow today to remain close to God and in obedience to His word. Sometimes we look for directions to follow that we believe have to be difficult and demanding to follow. These are not, just as Micah 6:8 directions are not … except for our own pride and arrogance.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)