I think your comment about being poetic is key. Individual verses taken out of context can be badly misused and malapplied. Of course that applies to all the Bible, but is particularly easy to to do with Psalms.
It must be noted that much of the OT is written in poetic form, Besides the Writings, which includes the Psalms and the Song of Songs, we have the Prophets and poetry included the History. YHWH usually speaks in poetry and Hebrew is a poetic language.
David was a passionate person, which I think is why YHWH loved him so much. He revealed much of his deepest thought about YHWH in his psalms, which make them unique in the OT. They are truly beautiful thoughts and images.
The 23ed Psalm is a prime example. Here David the shepherd boy made the LORD, YHWH, his Shepherd. Christians made the LORD Jesus their Shepherd. Here also we see how the Hebrew use of a word meaning Lord coalesced with Greek title Kyrios.
David’s psalms go beyond legalism to describe the personal relationship that he had with YHWH which makes unique in the Bible.
i read a quote by an orthodox Jewish Rabbi named Jonathon Sacks that made me think and i think relates to this.
He said the Jews view the Torah as the word of God to man, the proohets as the words of God through man, and the writings as the words of man to God.
I think as evangelicals we are usually taught to read all of the Bible in the first category but reading the Psalms as the words of man to God frames the book of Psalms more as the collective prayers of the nation of Israel that give us words to pray to God.
I really like him–what I’ve read of him elsewhere!
Do you think that psalm 115:16 could be a warning against space travel?
No, I think it was the Psalmist simply expressing the current understanding of things. God lived in a place no living person had been to – and still haven’t, as far as we know (perhaps except for John’s vision).
CT just posted a story that Warren Weirsbe, who I had mentioned previously for his excellent studies on the Psalms, has passed into the arms of the Savior.
Nice discussion guys.
I love the fact that God taught his people to sing song after song after song of love and adoration to him. If we see that like a groom jealously wanting his bride to love him, I see it as a humble and meek and joyful move on God’s part. I mean who am I that he would want my praise?!
And it is clear that we can say things to God in private that we should not say publicly. Although the Psalms are of course public now, they didn’t necessarily start that way. (So also with much of Jesus’ teaching.) If our emotions are out of control–whether due to panic or rage or depression–we can use our tongues to steer our souls (like James says a rudder steers a ship) into God’s light, and get a whole new perspective. Then, publicly, we can remain poised and even loving and have our minds girded for action. That’s the way we see the private prayers and public behavior of David and the other psalmists.
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