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.
ט Tet – A Snake
To Twist, Surround
“You have treated your servant well, Adonai, in keeping with your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, because I trust in your mitzvot. Before I was humbled, I used to go astray; but now I observe your word. You are good, and you do good; teach me your laws. The arrogant are slandering me, but I will wholeheartedly keep your precepts. Their hearts are as thick as fat, but I take delight in your Torah. It is for my good that I have been humbled; it was so that I would learn your laws. The Torah you have spoken means more to me than a fortune in gold and silver.”
Fat around the heart is very dangerous and increases the risk of a heart attack. Fatness of the spiritual heart comes from overindulgence in the ways of the world. Both types of fatness of heart lead to death: physical or spiritual.
Jeshurun, referring to Israel, means ‘righteous.‘ He grew fat when he abandoned God’s ways. He became proud through material abundance and desired fleshly gratification and worldly appetites. He turned against God and gave little value to His Words. Jeshurun did not desire God nor His salvation for he had all he needed in his wealth and possessions (Deuteronomy 32:15).
David talks about the wicked and how they are ‘enclosed (surrounded) in their own fat’ and speak proudly against God and His Torah (Psalm 17:8). The only way for a proud, arrogant man to turn back to God is to be humbled and see his need for God. Only through repentance can a man remove the ‘fat around his heart.’
David was humbled after he committed adultery with Bathsheeba and murdered her husband. After their firstborn son dies, David understood that his fleshly desires steeped in arrogance led him away from God’s righteous standards; he needed better judgment and knowledge.
Living according to God’s Torah, His laws and commandments will bring slander from the arrogant who been deceived through centuries of twisted doctrines and teachings. This is how sin entered the world –– the serpent twisted the Truth. Slander is not easy to stand against, but David continued to stand against the wicked by wholeheartedly keeping God’s precepts. For him, the Torah of God meant more than a fortune in gold or silver, a fortune that King David had. Through God’s righteous judgement on his ‘fat heart,’ he repented and returned to the ways of God.
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