Today I became a student again for the week. Holiday head off. Masters head on!
And right now… I am exhausted!
Sitting in this first day of lectures on hermeneutics has melted my brain… And as I still have some background reading to do tonight, this blog may be a little short.
But I’ll try and make it count! 😉
So a number of thoughts are in my brain right now, but a particular focus of the day is stronger than others. This afternoon we began our afternoon by looking at Psalm 146 and introducing the theme of the final 5 Psalms. We began to think through the intentional arrangement of the Psalms, the way that the Hebrew word we translate as ‘Hallelujah’ literally introduces and finishes Psalms 146 through to 150, meaning to ‘render praise to Yahweh.’ (What a great way to begin and end anything!) We thought through the progression within the poetic words of these last Psalms; how they begin with the individual praising, then involve the community praising, then extend to the whole of heaven and earth. They move onto a missional posture of inviting others into this worship, before finally, relating that everything that has breath will praise the Lord.
I love the richness in the Word! And I love learning here!
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes,
In a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made the heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever, you God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!
We began to consider the socio-political themes in Psalm 146, and what these words would have meant to a Jewish people who had just faced the loss of their country, their temple and their monarchy. We asked questions about the author inviting people to join God’s purpose and render Him alone praise. We thought about how being reminded of the God of Jacob in verse 5 threw us back into the context of God’s rescue and restoration in Genesis 32. That the helpless descendants of Jacob could find their help in the same power.
And then we considered this thought… which is what really struck me:
Psalm 146 v 6 is translated as our hope being in God, who ‘keeps his faith forever’… But that word for ‘faith’ here is the Hebrew word ’emeth’, that is better translated as ‘truth’.
Ok, I thought that was amazing.
Think about it.
Our hope is in the God who keeps truth forever.
Who keeps truth.
And what is this truth?
Not some distant, ethereal rightness that doesn’t apply to us… But instead, the beauty of the following verses. God’s truth is expressed in verses 7 – 9. God’s truth is in the expression of His justice. And we are called into that. Salvation is more than just getting our passport stamped and going to heaven, although of course we long for the day we will be with Him forever. But salvation is also outworked now as we partner with the God who keeps truth forever. It will last for eternity, but we can partner with Him now as we unpack the impact of the Word on our lives and pray that Holy Spirit will join our hearts to these purposes of God.
I thought that was amazing. And I could write a lot more before I leave Psalm 146, but for tonight, my head is going to hit the pillow before diving into the book of Luke tomorrow.
I love the Word!
(And in a totally lesser way I also love my bed! :-))