Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ps 94

94:18ff. Induction. "When I thought, 'My foot slips,' your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.... He will bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness."

This can be seen as a form of syllogism or induction by the writer. What can be concluded from the fact that God held his foot up when he thought (maybe wrongly, but maybe even dead-on) that he "slips" -- i.e., it's happening, I'm falling .... ? Then God lifted his foot up, i.e., he got back on track, and if it was not so, the writer would not have been shy to say "where were you, God?" He wasn't shy to say that earlier in the psalm (94:1-5). So the writer is not playing, not saying "let me imagine and play make-believe that God helped me." He's not embarassed to say to God "how much longer?" whenever it is the case that he doesn't see anything being done by God.

However, the wiping out of the bad guys, coming as a corollary, or conclusion about the future, like the principle of induction, comes as a shock to some, including me, reading the psalm.

But there's some logic to it! Why should we believe that God holds us up, and not also believe that God will bring back on "wicked rulers" (94:20) their iniquity, wipe them out, etc? The same sun that rises on our parade, will set on theirs. One indicates the other.

This is much stronger than the mere assertion that "there's a first time for everything." That's just empty rhetoric: it doesn't start with any fact behind it at all! The writer here had a fact: somehow God had helped him. Therefore he drew a conclusion.

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