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.
ח Chet – Fence, Inner Room
To Protect, Separate
“Adonai, I say that my task is to observe your words. I beg your favor with my whole heart; show pity to me, in keeping with your promise. I thought about my ways and turned my feet toward your instruction. I hurry, I don’t delay, to observe your mitzvot. Even when the cords of the wicked close around me, I don’t forget your Torah. At midnight I rise to give you thanks because of your righteous rulings. I am a friend of all who fear you, of those who observe your precepts. The earth, Adonai, is full of your grace; teach me your laws.”
A fence is put up for protecting flowers or chickens. Inside the fence is the ‘inner room’ where the flowers bloom and the chickens are safe. Flowers are cut off from anything that would destroy them, and chickens are safe from predators.
The Torah is considered a ‘fence’ that protects those who live by it. There is a symbolic ‘fence’ saying about Sabbath: “It’s not that the Jews keep the Sabbath as much as the Sabbath has kept the Jews.” With this one Torah command God has set the Jewish people apart as His chosen people and His light to the nations. Within the ‘inner room’ of the Sabbath ‘fence,’ the Jews have been protected as a people for over 4000 years even with great persecution and anti-semitic leaders who tried to annihilate them.
There is another ‘fence’ in Judaism that is put ‘around the Torah.’ This comes with ‘guarding’ the Torah no matter what the cost. If the Jewish people who were given God’s Torah had not ‘fenced’ it in, we would not have the Word of God. Scribes are meticulous about writing each manuscript perfectly. If one small error is found in a ‘jot or tittle,’ the manuscript was discarded. In order for us to have the Scriptures, priests, especially those in Qumran who ‘fenced themselves in’ from Roman infiltration, protected the Word of God by either putting the scrolls in clay jars and hiding them in caves, or with their very lives, dying to protect its integrity.
The ‘inner room’ of our lives is our heart. In order to have real wisdom in our heart is to separate ourselves from wickedness. David desired God’s favor in his heart. Consider that at midnight he rose to give God thanks because of His righteous rulings. He desired that God to teach him His Torah and makes it his task to observe God’s Word.
After sinning with Bathsheba, David writes in Psalm 51:3-4: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil from your perspective; so that you are right in accusing me and justified in passing sentence. For I know my crimes, my sin confronts me all the time.” We are no different than King David. We were born into sin, but through Torah that gives life, we may live our lives within God’s ‘fence’ of protection. Just as in the days of King David, God still wants His Truth in ‘the inner room’ and desires ‘wisdom in our inmost heart.’
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