Monday, September 3, 2012

Does the sequence of events matter?

I left a comment - maybe it will be approved - on Mere Historicity. What it tells me is what I have learned from thinking about the Psalms over the past 6 years. Essentially what I have learned from 'reading my own book' (so far).

The comment is very cryptic even though it is long. Why am I so cryptic? I have been learning and teaching all my life, but I can't be responsible for my results. How is teaching possible? Suppose you were reading a lesson from the Song of Songs and you had successfully found it in the OT. Then you learned that the TNK has it in a different place - and you went to read it in public and couldn't find it and started to read from the Wisdom of Solomon instead of the Song!!!!!

Bother, said Winnie the Pooh. Well, this didn't happen to me, but it's a good day-mare. And there have been plenty of times when I could not find what I was looking for. Maybe it happened to you - and you want to avoid such embarrassment in the future - well (got a bookmark, anyone?).

Perhaps you were not allowed to read this love song without a little embarrassment. I can't protect against misreading.

Assuming you can find the psalms in the Bible (they occupy a much bigger chunk of space than the Song), here's what you might learn from reading them - maybe with the help of my book also.

  1. these are the texts that are taken as the conversation between Father and Son (and here I would use capitals) in the epistle to the Hebrews, and
  2. these poems are dialogue between anyone and HaShem representing each person as a 'first-born' and each person as 'Israel'.

Now you begin to think historically around the metaphor of Israel: enslaved (being), purchased (gotten), transformed by wilderness discipline (learning faith), saved (in the promised land - itself full of enemies - war in heaven), corrected (the discipline of obedience - the parable of Job and its frame, Leviathan - real creation and redemption in one day), exiled (yet not without hope) and restored.

After observing the pattern and perhaps applying it to the storied David as well - Moabite restored, an illegitimate leader with a heart (Even the children of Lot - Psalm 83 - find their way into the Psalter), one can then ponder why it is that humans have failed to learn the obedience of faith (the frame of Romans) and are unable constitutionally to govern even their own 'soul' let alone those of others.

This leads to the fundamental principle of self-governance, drinking the cup that is passed to you, the cup that represents your life on behalf of others - and of course it is in the Psalms - in Ps 75 just before the dead centre:.

for there is a cup in the hand of יהוה
and the wine is red
full of mixture
and he spills from it
surely they will suck the dregs
all the wicked of the earth will imbibe

Who read these words and understood? The one whose being was gotten by HaShem for the redemption of the world. Gotten is that root for the taking of a wife (see Ruth).  Now how does HaShem get a wife and become to us a bridegroom of blood?  That same body (cup, vessel, owl, unclean bird, fleeing to the mountain) will learn faith, discover the enemy of self, be corrected even in wrath (Pss 6:1 see also Pss 38/70), be exiled yet remain in a state of trust - (Pss 31.5,15).

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Time to unpack this messy suitcase. There's a wholeness in history that belies causality.