Monday, February 08, 2010

Ps 30 for Feb 6

If we go to the Psalms expecting trite piety, we'll get out of it, most likely, the trite piety we were expecting. No need for that here.

An example of that would be to see Ps 30:2 as commonplace religious talk. Many skeptics have constructed a theory of religion that says "religious people" (I know, it's a vague term -- but here, they probably mean people who think that God is active in some of the details of their lives, at least at times.) attribute at least some of what happens that's unexpectedly good, to God, and other things they look for "normal" causes for.

Thus they see, for example, Ps 30:1. If people want to postulate an invisible "gardner" tending the good plants, so the criticism goes, then we consider this akin to talking English to our pets.

To all such condescending drivel, this Psalm says hogwash. Read 30:1 with an emphasis on the "You" in "You have lifted me up," and you will see that the Psalmist is making a claim far different than someone looking at a pet and saying, "you like me when I give you a treat, don't you?" If we want a tame religion going in, we'll emerge with what we came for. Just don't foist it on the text.

God lifted David up. In verse 6, he notices his complacency, very much akin to the skepticism I've been describing. He thought that things would just go on and on by themselves the way they had been going, so well for him. Things didn't, however (30:7).

When we read this Psalm without the presupposition that the Psalmist is an idiot, unable to notice when God does something compared to other causes, it becomes a very serious set of assertions.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

"Instead of confiding in the Giver, he trusted in the gift, as though it had been his own work," (a quote from Keil & Delitzsch). How quickly we'll realize the need of His grace when the source becomes our own strength.


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