Psalm 119:97-104

Psalm 119:97-104

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

July 31, 2019 – Wednesday

Psalm 119:97-104    NIV

מ Mem

97 Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long.
98 Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on Your statutes.
100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey Your precepts.
101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey Your word.
102 I have not departed from Your laws, for You yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.


The  letter mem is the thirteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet and represents the number forty. While the version above looks a lot like our English lower case n, in mem’s script form it looks like the upper case English N as may be seen here and here. However mem is the second Hebrew letter to have two different forms. Like the letter caf it changes form when it is the last letter in a word it has the appearance of an English P as shown here. The interlinear bible will show each verse from 97-104 begins with the letter mem.

With that being said, let us look at what the verses in this stanza are saying today. The very first verse (97)  begins with David’s love of God’s law. The last verse (104) end with what David hates – every wrong path.

That may seem odd or unusual until we look at the six intervening verses which tell us why David loves God’s law.

Looking at the reasons we find first (98) God’s commands are always with him, making him wiser than his enemies. Then (99) finds he has more insight than his teachers because he meditates on God’s statutes. In addition (100) because he obeys God’s precepts he has more understanding than his elders. This did not come automatically but due to (101) David’s walk avoiding evil so he would be in obedience to God’s word. David was able to do this because (102) God’s laws taught him how he should live.

Most amazing was David’s lack of rebellion, but this would be the result of (103) him finding God’s words sweet to his taste, saying they were sweeter than honey to my mouth! Knowing this, it is no surprise to read (104) I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.

My question to myself (and maybe for you) after reading this stanza three times, “How might I find God’s words so sweet that I would hate every wrong path?” Perhaps it should be enough knowing how completely innocent Jesus was when He died for my sins. Perhaps it should not be a “Perhaps.” No it should not, knowing how great God’s love is for me.

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