Psalms 120-125   1 comment

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POST LIII 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 120-134 are Songs of Ascents, which pilgrims to Jerusalem used en route to festivals at the Temple.

Regarding Psalms 120-125, dependence upon God is a recurring theme.  One might be alienated from one’s society (as in Psalm 120) or fear bandits, sunstroke, and lunacy (as in Psalm 121).  The dependence upon God might also be national (as in Psalms 123, 124, and 125).  Either way, congruity with concern for the shalom of Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile (as in Psalm 122) is certain.

In my distress I called to the LORD

and He answered me.

–Psalm 120:1, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

The God of these psalms is one who cares deeply.  He is the one who, in the words of Psalm 121,

…will guard your going and coming now and forever.

–Verse 8, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

Given the postexilic context, pilgrims would have understood God as also being ready, willing, and able to punish individuals and nations for their persistent sins.  The balance of divine judgment and mercy was on their minds.

Do good, O LORD, to the good,

to the upright in heart.

But those who in their crookedness act corruptly,

let the LORD make them go the way of evildoers.

May it be well with Israel!

–Psalm 125:4-5, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

Such a balance is useful to ponder, yet only with great reverence and caution.  One should also do so with much humility, for no mortal can know where the line between divine judgment and mercy exists.  One can, however, study the scriptures and notice an emphasis on mercy for the faithful.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 22, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JACK LAYTON, CANADIAN ACTIVIST AND FEDERAL LEADER OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

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One response to “Psalms 120-125

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

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