Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Chronological Plan for April 15, Psalms 56, 120, 140, 141, 142

My apologies. This should get us back in sync with You Version.

Today's readings are Psalms 56. 120, 140, 141, 142. Tomorrow's are 1 Sam 25-27. 

As you read these Psalms, picture David on the run, knowing Saul wants to kill him and hiding among people that are hostile to himself and Saul. He goes to Gath (Southwest of Jerusalem) in Psalm 56, the land of the Philistines. He mentions Kedar (an ancient country to the East of Damascus) and Meshech (another ancient country, far to the North, bordering the Black sea), both in Psalm 120. He may mention both to emphasize how far he's traveled and how he longs to be back home. 

Psalm 56 is labeled a "Miktam", an obscure word whose precise definition is unclear. It is part of the title of six Psalms (16, 56-60). All six are laments linked to David with 56-59 referring to his struggles with the Philistines (56), Saul (57, 59) and the Arameans (60). It may be a label of atonement. Some think it may designate an inscription or a carving. 

Psalm 142 is labeled a "Maskil" of David. We don't have a clear definition of this word either. Some think it may be a liturgical label, denoting a song or poem of wisdom and understanding to a certain situation. Some think it may be a musical label, giving the singers a sense of speed and timing. It is most probably a combination of the two, similar to the way we might label a dirge or a requiem.

Notice David's distress, his sense of being unsettled and unsure. Also notice, he keeps turning back to the Lord, stating his trust in Him, even though he fears his situation and the people around him. This is one of the great lessons David teaches us. Even when it seems the situation is about to overwhelm him, David trusts in the Lord, enough to pause, meditate and record his thoughts. This is not merely a passing "Yes, I know the Lord is still good." This is serious meditation and focus on the goodness of God at a time when it would be far easier to be consumed with the circumstances.  

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