February 20th, 2021

Cape May light

Psalm 18

“God’s acts and David’s acts.” [p.247]

I. Translation
a. David’s, who spoke the words to this song to YHWH on the day YHWH rescued him from the clutch of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.’ [p247]
b. Repeated antitheses of heights and depths.

II. Interpretation
a. The longest thanksgiving psalm; only Psa 78 and 119 are longer.
b. It is framed by couplets at the beinning and end that frame it.
c. In a nutshell
i. Mortal danger
1. 9 times the poem mentions enemies.
2. This is probably not truly David’s words, despite the parallel poem in II Sam. 22, but written for him [like presidential speeches], and probably during his lifetime.
3. It is both reflective and self-flattering; Goldingay thinks that David would not claim his heart was pure.
ii. David prayed
1. “I dedicate myself to You.”
2. Refers to God as a sheltering place in the wilderness [rocks, caves, crags], as well as a shield [military terms].
iii. God responded
1. 9 descriptions of God. Perhaps the phrase “You are my strength” v. 1 is better rendered “You are my strong one,” since all other descriptions are concrete terms.
2. God is here described in pagan terms. All of these allusions to the storm, clouds, rain and raining fire are used to describe Baal and other pagan sky gods. This similarity always makes me cringe a little, but I must assume it’s poetic.
iv. Delivered David
1. 11 times the poet mentions God sdaving.
2. Some of the terms are miraculous, such as the stories surrounding Moses; Deborah and Barak; etc.
3. “He saved me because He has delighted in me.” v.19
4. However, the implication is that God saved the psalmist because of the poet’s faith and integrity. This sounds more like court flattery than a poem by David himself.
v. Situation resolved
1. Refer to II Samuel 22 for the variant on this psalm.
2. There are many reflective verses on ways that God delivered him. Therefore, it is not a poem written at the time of the events, but toward the end of life.
vi. Closure
1. Confess God to all nations. This is the first time “all nations” appears in the psalms.
2. Make music for God
3. At the end, the third person reference to David and his descendants show that David probably did not write this himself.
III. Theological Implications
a. The psalm does not refer to salvation in the End Times [not eschatological].
b. It in no way refers to Jesus or His bringing of salvation [It is not Messianic nor Christological.]
c. Rather, it is “an expression of gratitude for something God has done for a military leader of Israel.” [p.253].
d. There is no doubt that God has aided David militarily, not spiritually. Christians must wrestle with the God of the Old Testament. [and do not forget that “Israel” means “he wrestle with God.”]
e. Ref. Romans 13:4

[Goldingay, John. Psalms, v.1. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, c2006]

Psalm 3

Psalm 3: as rewritten by CKB

David, as God’s Annointed One, expects
and yet still implores God
to shield him from his enemies.

The horror of internecine warfare
shakes the kingdom,
but David sleeps in confidence
that God watches over him
and the nation.

The Psalm is generally headed “of David, fleeing from Absalom” but there is no real proof that this is so.  It is suitable for use by a nation facing civil war, by a nation facing invasion, or by anyone under any kind of attack, like Job.  I use it against my personal demons.

The Psalm can be interpreted as answering the question of deliverance.  [Goldingay, John. Psalms, v.1. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, c2006]   Though sources call it “praises”, it begins with a lament.  But the praise begins soon, with the wonderful image as God as a shield.  The Psalm gives us the example of crying out to God and that he answers.  Because of this assurance, we can sleep at night, knowing that we are under His care.  I pictured someone wearing one of those “No Fear” t-shirts for the next verses, and remembered the 23rd Psalm.  Giving the enemy a slap on the jaw implies humiliating him and the smashing of his teeth gives the image of rendering him harmless  [literally toothless].

The theology of this short Psalm is enormous, however.  The poet cries, “Deliver me, my God!”  But God will answer with His judgment and in His time.  You might not be the wronged party, though you think you are.  The lesson here is that you have given the fate of your enemy into the hands of God, for God to judge.  Once that is done, you let go of the worry and can sleep in assurance.

For those who are journaling with me, I chose to paint a simple shield shape, of mixed browns, looking sort of beat up.  Then in more brown, I painted “GOD” on it.  You could use the same idea and paint a cross on the shield.  Or, choose a different shield:  here are 2 YouTube choices

  1. https://youtu.be/axnOf45VXhw

  2. https://youtu.be/c3M9uqezpUE

snorkel me

(no subject)

Psalm 4: as seen by CKB

King David sends this song to the Levites to use in worship, to be accompanied by lyres.

David prays to God to help him govern well;
for God to be merciful and faithful,
and to make a spacious place for him.

“Give me some space, God, from
the pressures of kingship!” he prays.

The people in the kingdom blame David for local catastrophes.
David tells them, “Sure this happened on my watch, but it’s not my fault.  You people should pray about this!  Be careful that your sin hasn’t brought this upon us all!”

David goes on to pray, “Make your Face shine upon us, O LORD.  This makes us happier even that having enough to eat and drink!  Please send me restful sleep and protect me.”

Psalm 4: Who shows us good?

  1. Interpretation

Goldingay and other scholars believe that Psalm 3 and 4 can be paired as a morning and then evening duo.  [Goldingay, John. Psalms, v.1. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, c2006]

  1. The content is baffling.  The key phrase come in v. 8, reinforcing the idea from Psalm 3 that in God comes peace, as only He is in control.

  2. The 5th century church father, Chrysostomos, [anglicized as Chrysostom, meaning  "golden-mouthed"] noted that the Psalm relays that God listens as I speak to Him, not I speak and then He listens.

  3. Consensus among scholars [if any!] is that the Psalmist prays for people to change their ways.

    1. Those actively listening to the poet

    2. Those known to the poet as sinners

    3. And any that “the shoe fits.”

    4. In my opinion, this boils down to everyone!

  1. Theology

  1. The psalmist is convicted that God will provide safety and well-being.

  2. The Psalm is more of a declaration of trust than a request for help. [Goldingay p.124]

For those who are Bible Journaling with me, I chose a simple floral pattern.  For a video on how this is done, watch:  https://youtu.be/iDbDQZM7-Pk
Carol Cyprus

Psalm 5

Psalm 5: as seen by CKB

King David sends this song
to the Levites to use in worship,
to be accompanied by flutes.

God, listen to my prayer;
Have mercy on the sayer
         Of this cry for redress.
On this morning, hear my voice.
I need your judgment and choice
         In this unholy mess.

I know that you are just and good,
And when men don’t do as they should
         They pay your coin.
I love your mercy and you grace,
And pray your Son shine on my face
         When with you I join.

Psalm 5: Responding to life-threatening falsehood II

  1. Translation.

    1. “wild people” was translated by St. Jerome as “wicked people”.  This has been a longstanding interpretation.

    2. “open mouths” may refer to the means of sacrificing children into pagan statues.

  2. Interpretation.  The psalm discusses how to react to deceit and fraud.

    1. Pray to God—MY God—and I can come into the house of the Lord.

    2. Trust God

      1. His faithfulness

      2. Expect His righteous punishment

    3. Take refuge in God, as He covers you with His “body shield” which is the large shield held by the warrior’s companion

  3. Theology.  Contrast with Luke 23:34 where Jesus tells us to love our enemies.  But when you ask God to render justice, leave it there and do not seek revenge.

[Goldingay, John. Psalms, v.1. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic, c2006]