Sunday, June 1, 2008

Selected Psalms: 1 and 23

Although the pastor had invited all church members to propose Psalms to study this summer, all but one were delinquent, and that person wasn't me. Showing his thorough knowledge of Hebrew and Christology, Pastor prepared an admirable study.
  • Psalms as a whole - uses include liturgy and personal application. Made of 5 books; David wrote a plurality. Many types - imprecatory, lament, dedication [of the Temple], etc. Roman Catholics and the Greek text break up the Psalms slightly differently, still totaling 150.
  • Christological perspective - Christ is David's God.
  • Poetry - meter and parallelism, saying the corresponding negative, additive parallelism, plays on words. Like parents telling children to "Come here!"
Psalm 1 - scholars think it was added at the beginning to set a tone for the whole book.
  • v. 1 - "slippery slope" paradigm (walk - stand - sit, counsel - way - seat). Begins with the negative - "who does not..." Similar warnings in Proverbs 1:10, 4:14.
  • v. 2 - contrast with what the blessed man does. "Law" = Torah; it comes first in the Hebrew syntax. Perpetual Word-nutrition (cf. Deuteronomy 11).
  • v. 3 - "planted" = lit. "transplanted" (born again!) from bad soil into good.
  • v. 4 - a high contrast. A Hebrew play on words (inverting the first two consonants) contrasts "tree" and "chaff."
  • v. 5 - where the righteous do stand, only by Christ's power - in the judgment, in the congregation of the righteous.
  • v. 6 - the moral of the story. "Knows" is active and connotes God's guidance.
Psalm 23 - use it in daily life, not only in trouble.
  • Since Jesus is Lord (e.g. Psalm 110:1), He is the good Shepherd (John 10:11).
  • "He" drives the verbs, for sheep are stupid.
  • "for His name's sake" - we deserve nothing but death, but He chooses to apply His name to us and to do all these good things for us.
  • Change to "I" - a prayer in the valley of the shadow of death. The rod and staff, also used to discipline, are here comforting.
  • "goodness and mercy" - Genesis 1 "good" + chesed (steadfast love), inexpressible in English.
  • vv. 5-6 - a Trinitarian reference? [IMHO...table + oil + the LORD]

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