Psalm 89   1 comment

Above:  A Map of the Persian/Archaemenid Empire

Image in the Public Domain

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POST XXXIV 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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The reign of the last Davidic monarch ended when the Kingdom of Judah died and became part of the Chaldean/Neo-Babylonian Empire.  The dynasty did not return to power when the Persians conquered the Chaldeans and allowed exiles to return to their ancestral homeland.  God did not reign on Earth and Israel did not bloom, contrary, to high hopes.  A descendant of David did not sit on a throne, contrary to old dreams.  Jews rebuilt in a poor satrapy of the Persian/Archaemenid Empire.  Eventually Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, defeated the Persian Empire and expanded his realm greatly.  Then he died a few years later.  Successor states, the Ptolemaic and Seleucid Empires, battled over Israel until the Hasmoneans (not of Davidic descent) drove out the Selecids and established a dynasty of priest-kings.  About a century later forces of the Roman Republic (by that time, a republic in name only and about thirty years from becoming the Roman Empire officially) took over.

Amid the dashed hopes of restoration of the kingdom under the Davidic Dynasty came affirmations of hesed, or divine faithfulness/kindness/love/steadfast love (depending on translations) and justice.  Nevertheless, the psalmist wondered where that hesed was, just as he blessed God.

Discussions of political systems aside, feeling besieged while trying to maintain hope in God’s hesed is a timeless manner.  Neither do geography, culture, and other circumstances curtail the power of Psalm 89.  One might find reasons to identify with sentiments of the text in a wide variety of settings.  Certainly the sense of disappointment with God is both old and contemporary.

When we feel disappointment with God, we should say so to God, thereby following the lead of the author of Psalm 89.  This is spiritually healthy; if we argue with God, so be it.  At least we are being honest.  Honesty is, after all, one foundation of a good relationship.  Arguing faithfully with God is also my second favorite aspect of Judaism; monotheism is the first.

As for the delay of hopes, I point out that time has yet to expire.  Perhaps the error is human, with regard to the linking of expectations and timeframes.

The passage of time will tell.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF MATTHIAS CLAUDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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Posted August 14, 2017 by neatnik2009 in Psalm 89

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

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