to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice
July 24, 2019 – Wednesday
Psalm 119:57-64 NIV
57 You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey Your words.
58 I have sought Your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your promise.
59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to Your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay to obey Your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget Your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give You thanks for Your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear You, to all who follow Your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees.
Today, Wednesday, every verse in our stanza begins with the eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, ח Heth, which represents the number eight. It has over six different spellings. I have chosen heth as it is the most common at Biblegateway.com. Modern formal printing of letter ח Heth shows the connecting horizontal bar as bent upwards in the middle so that it has the appearance of a yoke as shown here. The yoke is said to link the two letters ו Waw (6) and ז Zayin (7). All this and more are discussed here, but the sources are not biblical and so must be taken with more than a grain of salt.
Now let us take a look at the eight verses we have for today. In the first (57) David promises to obey God’s words while declaring God is his portion or as the Benson Commentary notes
Whereas other men place their portion and happiness in worldly things, I have chosen Thee for my portion and chief treasure: and Thou art an all-sufficient and excellent portion for me.
This is followed (58) by calling upon God’s promise of grace or mercy when God is sought with all of one’s heart. What happens then is a turning (59) from his worldly ways to the ways of God. That is commitment when he turns his steps to Your statutes. How strong is his commitment? He (60) hastens to obey God’s commands without delay. He has changed his ways and chosen God’s ways. Nothing less will suffice no matter what happens (61) even with attacks from the wicked I will not forget your law. Matthew Henry expands upon this stating There is no situation on earth in which a believer has not cause to be thankful. Or as Spurgeon put it
As it is the lot of God’s children who resolve to be godly, to suffer persecution, and to be forced either to lose their temporal goods or else to lose a good cause and a good conscience; so it is the wisdom of the godly to remember what the Lord’s word requireth of us and speaketh unto us, and this shall comfort our conscience more than the loss of things temporal can trouble our minds
Even at night (62) when David is awakened not by physical need, nor by sound, he rises to give thanks to God for all His righteous laws. He even looks for and befriends those (63) who share his faith and follow God’s precepts. As a result of so much in the way of God’s blessings through His word and friends who share his faith, David sees (64) God’s love throughout the earth in all he experiences. Thus he seeks one thing from God, more knowledge from His decrees, from His word.
All too often we find ourselves dissatisfied with life, unable to see God love in His creation that is all around us. It can be sunsets, sunrises, clouds, birds singing, the smile of a loved one – any one of a myriad things. If we cannot see then we need to turn to His word and through his word find solace in words such as this
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)