Psalm 119 is about loving God’s Torah, His statutes, commands and precepts. It is broken up into sections with strange looking words or letters which are the Hebrew alphabet. In the Hebrew Scriptures, each line of each section starts with a word beginning with this letter. This is called an acrostic poem. Each Hebrew letter also has a word picture associated with it giving greater meaning and symbolism to each line of the specific letter-ed section.
ר Resh – A Head
A Person, Highest Authority
“Look on my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law. Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise. Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees. Your compassion, Lord, is great; preserve my life according to your laws. Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes. I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word. See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love. All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.”
There are only two Hebrew letters after resh. After reading through Psalm 119, a person has either come to love God and His Torah because of the way David praises, honors, and blesses it, or a person is sick of reading about God’s Torah, and God’s Word. One person becomes a faithful follower of God; the other faithless and lawless.
David says, “Salvation is far from the wicked for they do not seek God’s decrees.” The wicked are far from Yeshua for his name means ‘salvation.’ ‘Wicked’ in this verse is rasha and means ‘morally wrong,’ ‘guilty,’ and ‘condemned.
Recently, I was involved in a discussion about sin and idolatry. One person in the discussion felt judged by ‘lawkeepers’ because a family member was gay. This person did not want to hear about the sin in her child’s life and returned ‘judgment’ on those who upheld Torah. In reality, no one judged this person’s child because the discussion was not about homosexuality until the person brought up the sexual sin in her child’s life. Those faithful to God’s Word stood for His righteous standards while the woman chose to be faithless and make excuses, judge God’s people, and His Word.
In today’s verse is the word ‘loathing.’ David looks at faithless people with ‘loathing’ or intense hatred. The Hebrew word for ‘loathe’ is bagad and means ‘treacherous’ which means to ‘betray faith’ or ‘unstable.’ David loathed those who ‘betrayed faith’ by disobeying God’s commandments. No one ‘loathed’ the person in the discussion; in fact, many felt compassion for her situation and offered to pray for her child. The woman didn’t want prayer orcompassion; she wanted her child’s sinful lifestlye condoned so she would feel good and continue to ‘betray the faith.’ No one took the discussion that direction nor would King David who “looked on traitors with disgust because they don’t keep your Word” (Complete Jewish Bible).
The ‘highest authority’ of Torah has been compromised. Love has become ‘unconditional’ without any real outward expression of Truth. Tolerance has replaced the conviction of sin found in God’s instructions. Being delivered from sin and a sinful way of life through repentance is no longer the foundation of Torah’s gospel message.
Yeshua reveals the Torah’s highest calling in faithful disciples. He commands that we must love God first and our neighbor as ourself. It is the Torah teacher, a teacher of God’s Law who is not far from the Kingdom of God. According to Yeshua, The Torah teacher is on the path to being called ‘the greatest in the Kingdom:’ “The Torah-teacher said to him, “Well said, Rabbi; you speak the truth when you say that he is one, and that there is no other besides him; and that loving him with all one’s heart, understanding and strength, and loving one’s neighbor as oneself, mean more than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Yeshua saw that he responded sensibly, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God” (Mark 12:28-32).
David asks God to ‘preserve’ his life according to the promises. The Hebrew word for ‘preserve’ is chayah and means ‘continue in life’ or ‘sustain life.’ Sometimes is it translated ‘revive.’ When chayah refers to a King, it means ‘may the King live.’ King David was a man after God’s own heart; and when we view Torah through his eyes as the ‘highest authority,’ we become people after God’s heart, too (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).
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