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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Psalm 119

Over 2300 words (thank you Biblegateway.com & Microsoft Word word count feature) of praise for the law.  This psalm has two components.  The law is amazing and anyone who follows it is blessed, and the law is amazing and anyone who doesn't follow it sucks. 

This psalm also seems remarkably adaptable to Christian purposes.  It even starts off with a "Blessed are . . ." It also talks frequently about God's salvation.  It gets at least one hymn, 'thy word is a lamp unto my feet.'  It uses the way or the path as a metaphor for living.  And it says, over and over, that God's law or decrees or commandments is the greatest blessing we have.

There is a smidge about the evildoers and how much the psalmist hates them, but loves the law.  But this is a relatively small portion of the psalm. 

I'm not moved.

I don't know if it is a reaction to the notion that adherence to a set of practices can save you. Honestly, I think there is something to that.  True, you can mindlessly follow the law and still live a meaningless life, but the psalmist doesn't call for that.  The psalmist calls for the law to be written on your heart. 

I don't know if it is a reaction to the claim of good things happening to good people.  The psalmist doesn't deny that los impios will set traps for him.  Nonetheless, he claims, God will save him.  God doesn't always save us from traps.

Perhaps it is a reaction to the purported infallibility of God's decrees when I'm reading the Bible and finding many ideas that compete with each other.  Competing ideas are not a problem for me; in fact, if I was to write a 2300 word essay praising inanimate objects, it might be about competing ideas.  But is seems weird to call them infallible and eternal.

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