Psalm 68   Leave a comment

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POST XXV 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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Psalm 68 is, as exegetes have acknowledged for a very long time, perhaps the most difficult portion of the Psalter to interpret.  This difficulty flows from the text’s frequent changes in tenses and speaker, among other factors.  Psalm 68 seems to be a collection of songs and portions thereof used liturgically in the Temple; that is perhaps as close to a unifying principle as one can identify in it.

J. Clinton McCann, Jr., writing in Volume IV (1996) of The New Interpreter’s Bible, identifies a helpful lens through which to ponder this psalm.  The text, he insists,

deals with a perennial theological issue:  how to talk about a transcendent God in human terms.

–Page 947

In human terms, as Psalm 68 presents God, the Creator is, among other things,

  1. fire,
  2. he who rides upon the clouds,
  3. the father of the fatherless and the protector of widows,
  4. the giver of rain,
  5. a shepherd, and
  6. the sovereign.

There is no error in speaking and writing about God in human terms, for these are the only terms we humans have.  Much of the time our terms for God are metaphors; perhaps poetry is the best way to speak and write of God frequently.  It is vital, however, that we understand that, as we use those terms in relation to God, they have their limits.  After all, God is God; divinity exceeds human capacities to imagine and describe.  The proper way to speak and write of God in human terms is to make the point that God is at least this and is actually far more.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THADDEUS STEVENS, U.S. ABOLITIONIST, CONGRESSMAN, AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF SARAH FLOWER ADAMS, ENGLISH UNITARIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HER SISTER, ELIZA FLOWER, ENGLISH UNITARIAN COMPOSER

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Posted August 12, 2017 by neatnik2009 in Psalm 68

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