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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

response to comment on my post: a prayer of thanksgiving to God

I received this comment on my first post which was a prayer of thanksgiving to God. I was expecting some comments from Arminians and Holiness people more along the lines of, “You’re bad.” & “You should be good.” I was going to respond with basically this:

“Yes. I am bad. You got that part right. You missed the point though; I can’t be good. That is precisely why I need God so desperately.”

There is still time though if you would like to say I am bad or quote a verse from Jude or James saying so. Please don’t hesitate to comment.

This was the comment:

“I really enjoyed reading your post. I was wondering what you make of this quote:

Judge me O Lord according to my justice and according to my innocence in me (Ps. 7:9).”

I'll assume you mean 7:8 which is the one you wrote there. Maybe you're using the Latin Vulgate or Greek Septuagint in which the verses at Psalm 7 are numbered differently.

First let me say that it's a poem about how I feel and it is admitting my failures to God so it's not going to have consequences like "one time I stole a candy bar and I got in trouble and had to work at the store" etc. and it's possible that something may not be scriptural in it. Also, I was posting this when blogger was going off line so my final version with the typos fixed didn't get in there. I think everything is corrected now though. There are also several hidden scriptures in the prayer. Can you find them?

At first I thought you were saying that this verse contradicts what I wrote. (but maybe you are) Then I saw from your blog that you have been doing some rather in-depth study of Psalms, including Psalm 7. So it would seem that you are certainly very aware of the context of this verse and there's no need for me to retort that you're stripping the context of this verse.

I haven’t spent hours studying this chapter but here is my basic interpretation.

Most translations use righteousness and integrity instead of justice and innocence. It's basically the same thing except we could possibly say something about David as King being charged with maintaining justice in his courts and territories.

We are certainly aware that David was guilty of some rather serious sins. On the face of it, one might ask, why would David ask for God’s terrible judgment when he very well knows that he is not an innocent person? The easy answer is that this plea refers not to David’s lifelong righteousness but to a very specific event in which he was accused of something he did not do. See in verse three it says “…if I have done this,” [empahis added]. But how can David be righteous? He always numbers himself with the righteous and his enemies with the wicked. He is righteous because God cleanses him of his sins and he is a part of the covenant community.

My post may have seemed a little odd to some of you. The perfect verse to explain both 7:8 and my post is Psalm 32:5:

“I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”

David has sinned but he is righteous because his sins are forgiven.

The whole Psalm deals directly with this type of situation:

A Maskil of David.

1Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

5I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,"
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

6Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.

8I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.

10Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

See how it says when I kept silent my bones wasted away? It’s also interesting that it says that we should offer prayer not just when we are in deep water (as this phrase is sometimes rendered) or in the rush of heavy waters. Notice the active role of God in instructing and teaching us. It’s not just “I’m going to give you laws and you are going to fall flat on your face. Or “You better follow my commandments or you are going to be numbered with the wicked.” Don’t be like a mule. That is exactly how we are a lot of times.

Other versions translate the love in v10 as “mercy”. This mercy is steadfast; it doesn’t get tired like we do. And it surrounds us. Postive things that surround us are usually comforting like a warm blanket or protective like a wall.

Remember, you’re blessed.


Blogger heyirishman said...

Hey thanks for getting back to me.

I certainly don't want to cause a stir. Than't not what I'm about. I'm a pretty easy going guy. Just one iron looking to get sharpened, if you know what I mean.

I would have to say that David is righteous because God put righteousness in him. This righteousness was put in him after he repented of some sin or other.I guess you could call me Armenian (although for the life of me, I can't figure out where they came up with that name).

I just can't get into the idea that we are intrinsically bad underneath God's covering of grace. I just don't think David thought along those terms.

Perhaps you would like to say a few words to this in response. But you don't have to get into the whole justification thing if you don't want to. I just wanted to get your response to that verse in the psalm.

Wed Feb 08, 09:01:00 PM PST  

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