Psalm 119:17-24

Psalm 119:17-24

to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice

July 17, 2019 – Wednesday

Psalm 119:17-24

ג Gimel

17 Be good to Your servant while I live, that I may obey Your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.
19 I am a stranger on earth; do not hide Your commands from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing for Your laws at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed, those who stray from Your commands.
22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt, for I keep Your statutes.
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me, Your servant will meditate on Your decrees.
24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.


Read through these eight verses and you will find they are easily divided into two part and a summary. The first four verses (17-20) are all about the writer’s desire to know God’s laws, His word while the next three (21-23) are about those who have no desire to keep God’s commands and hold those that do so in contempt. The final verse (24) states a victory of sorts in spite of the those who oppose God and those who follow Him.

Consider the first verse where the writer asks God to be good to him throughout his life, but identifying himself as God’s servant who seeks to obey God’s word. He continues in the very next verse asking God to open his eyes so he might see wonderful things in Your law. We often do the same asking God, praying to God, to show us the meaning or meanings in His word when we do not understand. In seeing the desire in our hearts much is often revealed as a result.

He continues in the third verse acknowledging earth is not his permanent home just as it is not for us and asks God to continue to reveal His commands. In the fourth verse (20) he truly reveals himself when he says My soul is consumed with longing for Your laws at all times. This should be our goal so that no matter what is going on in our lives we are consumed with the desire to know God and to know Him more intimately each day. All too often instead we do the opposite and get so involved with our life here on earth we forget where our eternal home is and who we will be spending it with.

The next three verses (21-23) states the Psalmist’s belief that God rebukes the arrogant, that they are accursed because they stray from His commands. Implied here is that they live a life of straying from His commands. This is made clear when asks protection from their scorn and contempt for keeping God’s statues. Then a declaration that even when they sit together and slander him, he will mediate on Your decrees in great opposition to them.

What do we do in face of opposition to following God’s word, accepting His word as our guide, freely receiving the Grace offered through Jesus on the cross? What do we do in a culture that often calls such beliefs fairy tales? We should do as the writer does in the last verse (24), we should delight in God’s statues and use His word as our guide daily throughout our lives. We should freely accept God’s Grace and be willing to share it as well.

Interesting comments on the Hebrew letter Gimmel here

In the Talmud it is said that the Gimmel symbolizes a rich man running after a poor man (the next letter Dalet) to give him charity as Dalet in Hebrew means impoverished.

(Also says) Yeshua is identified as the Redeemer of mankind. He is the One who, being born into the world, runs forth bearing charity for the poor ones who “stand behind the door.”

RileyD, nwJ
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)