Psalms

Saturday Psalter: Genevan, Psalm 17

Responsive Psalm: Psalm 119:9-16

Here is my translation of Psalm 119:9-16 for Sunday’s Responsive Psalm:

Pastor: How does a young man purify his paths?

People: By taking heed to your word.

With my whole heart have I sought you;

O let me not wander from your commandments!

Your word have I hid in my heart,

That I might not sin before you.

Blessed are you, O Yahweh,

Teach me your statues.

With my lips have I recounted all the judgments of your mouth.

In following your testimonies I have rejoiced, as over all riches.

 In your precepts I meditate,

And I behold attentively your paths.

In your statutes I delight myself;

I will not forget your word.           

 All:  Amen! Yes, Amen!

Rev. Brian Penney provides a version of this psalm for singing.

C.S. Lewis on the Psalms

Lewis argues that the reason he first deals with Judgment in the Psalms is because his generation “was brought up to eat everything on the plate; and it was sound principle of nursery gastronomy to polish off the nasty things first and leave the tidbits to the end.” These nasty tidbits are the legitimate and wise cries of a people dependent on their God to act on their behalf.

C.S. Lewis did not often attempt to interpret biblical passages. He was a scholar of literature. He begins his Reflections on the Psalms by making that quite clear: “This is not a work of scholarship.” This is a fortunate introductory remark, but I will add also that this is not a work of biblical scholarship. Lewis overlooks fundamental aspects of general theology, in order to reveal emotional observations from the Psalter. Though he notices the conspicuous presence of parallelisms in the Hebrew language and the beautiful nature of poetry, which Lewis consider to be a “a little incarnation,” yet, he fails to see the harmony of the Psalter with God’s redemptive history. The Psalms are not the utterances of an immature people, they are the breath of a people who understand history and its telos. They are not naive, or “almost childish,” they are the expectations of a people that their God will fulfill and bring to pass his promises of justice. He will vindicate them and bring them to green pastures. Though Lewis finds a purpose for these “terribble (imprecatory) psalms” in the devotional life, the reality is that they should be also used as tools and utterances from God’s people of all ages; not to remain in the privacy of Christian piety, but the public declaration of the Christian gospel.

The Young Man in Psalm 119:9

It is interesting that the etymology of the Hebrew nä·ar’ is rooted in the idea of a roaring lion (Jer. 31:58). The young man in Psalm 119 refers then to the genesis of the exploratory phase of his life. He is moving from infancy to adulthood. In this stage, his purity takes the center stage. His roaring becomes more evident. His presence is more noticeable. For the psalmist, this stage of life needs to be deeply rooted in the pure word of God (119:9), so that youthful roaring may not wander from Yahweh’s commandments (119:10).

Psalm 119, Brief Thoughts

This gigantic display of law-glory is a many-sided view of God’s Law-Word. It is the genuine delight of the psalmist to express his admiration and deepest regard for God’s revealed word, primarily in the Torah, and then in the whole revealed revelation. Every angle and every perspective is alphabetically reflected. Psalm 119 is God’s way of saying: “Here is my law from A to Z.”

Fourth Sunday in Lent: Psalm 107:1-9: Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so

People of God, this morning we are going to sample a little more of the Lenten journey in the Psalter by focusing on a small portion of the lengthy Psalm 107. This is a psalm of desperation.[1] It is a song of dire predicament, sincere petitions, a glorious pardon, and jubilant praise.[2] Though it specifies a variety of circumstances, this psalm does not want us to focus on the circumstances as much as it calls us to give thanks.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever! More

Saturday Psalter: Genevan Psalm 13

Genevan, Psalm 13 (Words)

Psalm 107 described in one sentence

Psalm 107 is given so that we may remember that trials are not the end, but the beginning of a journey that culminates on Resurrection Sunday.

Baptism, Spiritual Rock, and Wilderness Wanderings

Psalm 107 speaks of the many ways in which Israel suffered. Those sufferings had a greater purpose. As Israel meditated on their journey they would remember the many ways God has protected and provided. They were to give thanks to Yahweh (Ps. 107:2) for rescuing them from their hunger and thirst, but also–as Paul says in I Corinthians 10–for providing them a new baptism. God was preparing them to be a royal nation. Ultimately, as Augustine observes, God was preparing them to be baptized so that they might make an end to their enemies. Psalm 107 is a sacramental psalm. It is suffering for the sake of glory; thirst for the sake of living waters.

Let the ga’al of Yahweh say so

Psalm 107 draws our attention to the kinsman redeemer (Let the redeemed of Yahweh say so). The gä·al’ takes us back to the ransoming of Ruth. Ruth (bridal) rejoices in her deliverance, and so Israel (bridal) gives thanks to God.