Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The second pivot - Psalm 89

Ethan is unique as is this Maskil, a massive complaint to complete book 3. I know you're supposed to call it a lament - but technical terms aside - a lament is a complaint to God. If you read this as a Christian, I think you will see Christ in the shame and reproach of Israel. If you read this as a servant of any stripe, you will see a faithful call to the God who is good, and you can take your place with the reproach of his chosen people who act as a gift to the whole world.

Slowly, slowly I begin to hear how the first century reader could find the Gospel in the Psalter.

A song of insight (Maskil) of Ethan the Ezrahite
For ever I will sing of your loving kindness יְהוָה
from age to age I will make known your faithfulness with my mouth
for I said,
For ever loving kindness accumulates in the heavens
you will establish your faithfulness in them

I have cut a covenant with my chosen
I have sworn to David my servant
For ever I will establish your seed
and I will build up your throne from age to age
Let the heavens praise your wonders יְהוָה
the end of your faithfulness in the congregation of holy ones
For who in the skies will compare with יְהוָה
Who has the likeness of יְהוָה among the sons of the mighty
God is terrible in the assembly of the holy ones
and much to be feared among all around

יְהוָה my God of hosts, who is like you, Yah invincible
and your faithfulness all around you
You rule over the pride of the seas
when their waves exult you give them rest
You crushed Rahab pierced through as defiled
With the arm of your strength you have scattered your enemies

Yours are the heavens and yours the earth
The world and its fullness, you set them up
North and south you created them
Tabor and Hermon to your name will sing

Yours is a mighty arm, strong is your hand
and lifted up your right hand
Righteousness and judgment are the foundation of your throne
Loving kindness and truth precede your face
Happy are the people knowing the jubilation of יְהוָה
In the light of your face they will walk
In your name they will rejoice every day
and in your righteousness they will be lifted up
for you are the beauty of their strength
and in your acceptance our horn will be lifted up
For from יְהוָה is our defense and the Holy One of Israel our king

Then you spoke in a vision to your beloved and said
I have placed help on a mighty one
I have lifted up a chosen from the people
I have found David my servant
with the oil of my holiness I have anointed him
that my hand will be established with him

Surely my arm will strengthen him
and an enemy will not take anything from him
The son of injustice will not answer him
and I have crushed his troubles before his face
and those hating him I will strike

And my faithfulness and my loving kindness are with him
and in my name his horn will be lifted up
and I have set his hand in the sea
and his right hand in the rivers

He will say to me - you are my father
my God and the rock of my salvation
Surely I will make him firstborn
on high with the kings of the earth

For ever I will keep my loving kindness with him
and my covenant will be his amen
And I have set his seed for ever
and his throne as the days of the heavens
How will his children break my law or fail to remain in my judgment
How will they profane my statutes or fail to keep my commandments
I will attend to their transgression with the scepter
and with stripes their guilt
but my loving kindness will not be frustrated in him
and will not be proven false in my faithfulness

I will not break my covenant
and I will not change what emerges from my lips
Once I have sworn in my holiness
would I lie to David?
His seed will be for ever and his throne as the sun in my sight
As the moon it will be established
everlasting in perpetuity, faithful as the sky
But you have rejected and abhorred
You have yourself sown destruction against your anointed
You have spurned the covenant of your servant
You have profaned his consecration to the earth
You have breached all his walls
You have set his strength in ruin

All passing his way plunder him
He becomes a reproach to his neighbours
You have lifted up the right hand of his adversaries
You rejoice all his enemies

Surely you will turn the edge of his sword and not make him stand in the battle
You have ceased his purity and you have cast his throne to the earth
You have shortened the days of his youth
You have wrapped him in shame
How long, יְהוָה, will you hide
Will you always kindle your rage like fire
Remember my transience
to what emptiness you made all the children of dust
How will anyone live and not expect death
or deliver his own life from the hand of the pit?
Where are your former loving kindnesses, my Lord
the ones that you swore to David in your faithfulness
Remember, my Lord, the reproach of your servants
that I bear in my body a multitude of peoples
that your enemies יְהוָה have reproached
that they have reproached the heel prints of your anointed

Bless יְהוָה for ever amen and amen

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