Psalms 19-21   1 comment

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POST VII OF LX

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The Book of Common Prayer (1979) includes a plan for reading the Book of Psalms in morning and evening installments for 30 days.  I am therefore blogging through the Psalms in 60 posts.

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 226

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Psalms 20 and 21 are related to each other.  They are royal Psalms.  The first is a congregational prayer for the king before a battle.

Some through chariots,

and others through horses,

But we through the Name of our God are strong.

–Psalm 20:8, Mitchell J. Dahood translation

Psalm 21 is the royal thanksgiving for that victory in battle.

The wonderfully quotable Psalm 19, based partially on a Canaanite hymn to the Sun, appropriates that older text and alters it to praise YHWH then proceeds to extol the Law of God.  The Law, the author of Psalm 19 tells us, is just.  The Law enlightens servants of God.  The Law is more desirable than earthly wealth.

One accustomed to Pauline interpretations of the Law (often with regard to grace) might find this understanding of divine Law alien to one’s background and way of thinking.  This might be especially true if one grew up with the stereotype of late Second Temple Judaism as a legalistic religion.  Yet one would do well to think of adherence to divine commandments (timeless principles, as opposed to irrelevant culturally specific examples thereof) as a faithful response to God.  Mistaking culturally specific examples for timeless principles is a short cut to legalism.

May we, responding faithfully to God, recognize our dependence on God and our interdependence on each other.  May we treat each other with the human dignity commiserate with bearing the image of God, as divine Law commands us to do.  May we also struggle faithfully with those bloody portions of scripture that contradict that ethic.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORG WEISSEL, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA BERNADINE DOROTHY HOPPE, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

THE FEAST SAINT PETER JULIAN EYMARD, FOUNDER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, THE SERVANTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, AND THE ORGANIZER OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

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One response to “Psalms 19-21

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  1. Pingback: Guide Post to the Septuagint Psalter Project | BLOGA THEOLOGICA

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