Thursday, December 6, 2012

The one day of creation and redemption

Time, hurry up please, it's time. The pub is closing. The day is at hand. (And always has been and always will be).

So merrily blogging along on my reading cycle, and Biblioblogs are working again for me today - bravo Steve, I came across this question: Does God send storms?

I copied my comment. Can you see how it gets around the problems with both taxonomy and syllogism?
I hope this comment gets through - I am sending it - and God is too. Technology being what it is, a bug might interfere or a spam blockage, and that might be God's fingers as well (Psalm 8). 
This item you have is for me tightly tied up with the figure of Leviathan and the presence of the story, the myth of past ages, in our lives by grace. 
The 7 days are 1 as the poet George Herbert declares (Easter, I got me flowers) - "there is but one and that one ever". This is the day of resurrection, the day the Lord has made, the day of grace (to cite AKMA's post this morning). Each of these days is present to us - Leviathan enters on day 1 and stays till day 6, maybe even day 7. 
Leviathan (a little crocodile also in a post this morning) is us in a parable, we, the beni elohim of Job, are also the accuser, accusing each other. We are in the midst of the tohu vebohu of creation and also in the day of grace. We have been taught what to do. Time is more mysterious than we give it credit. 
I was just fooling with Google translate and a Hebrew prayer over creation turned into this: Welcome you gentlemen who write about our work
ברוך אתה אדוני אלוהינו מלך העולם, שכותב על היצירה שלנו
Now - about God and sending. Send - occurs in 34 verses in the psalms. It is a high usage word, according to BLB, it is used 847 times in the canon they have in their database. (Much as I dislike the Strong's numbering scheme, it is an early 19th century stab at an identifier for data, predating Wittgenstein and Codd, and it's what we have available in this very compact site at BLB in spite of its limitations.)

So what does God send? Well, we won't go into too much detail or the blog would collapse, so here's just the first two instances from Psalm 18.
וַיִּשְׁלַח חִצָּיו וַיְפִיצֵם
וּבְרָקִים רָב וַיְהֻמֵּם
18.15and he sends his arrows and disperses them
and lightnings he multiplies and confuses them
direct object, arrows, for the mystifying of syllogism and taxonomy
יִשְׁלַח מִמָּרוֹם
יַמְשֵׁנִי מִמַּיִם רַבִּים
18.17He will send from on high
He will take me
he will draw me out from many waters
send - no direct object, but indirect location.
draw, משׁה (mshh) Moses, unique in this form in the Psalter.
Send is a polyvalent word. It includes subject, direct object, several possible indirect objects from, to, and potentially more objects in relation, e.g. for a purpose. The first send that God does in the psalms is in Psalm 18:14 (h15).

Now how do we 'make sense' of a verb when the subject is God. Carefully - since we do not know the subject perfectly nor do we understand as if we were in charge. So first, he sends his arrows. Arrows and lightnings are not all lined up in a row but dispersed and confused.  This is the arrow that penetrates (sticks fast KJV) the subject in Psalm 38:2 (3h).

You will note that the first two uses of send are framing something: verse 16 (e15) is in the middle: the "discovery of the foundations of the world".  An important insight. And this whole passage (8-19) - a storm scene, a theophany, is a response to the prayer of one who is passionate, verses 1-7 (2h):
אֶרְחָמְךָ יְהוָה חִזְקִי I am passionate about you, Adonai my courage.

Verse 16, the framed verse, is full of possibility.
Then seen are channels of waters
and discovered are the foundations of the world
at your rebuke יהוה
at the breath of the wind of your nostrils

or perhaps - at the panting of the spirit of your anger(!) - so much for gloss selection.

The image of the channels of water reflects the water of Psalm 1, anticipates the desires of Psalm 42 and the judgments of Psalm 69. The drawing out from the water reflects the story of Moses in Exodus 2:10. The verb for breathing (panting as in giving birth) is used (in the Psalter) only here and in the last verse of Psalm 150, suggesting this theophany has to do with or anticipates a birth.

What will humans allow to come to fruition and maturity as the result of a storm that discovers the foundations of the world?  

We've here just touched this poetry lightly. It has so much to offer. It will create a response in us that will perhaps even help us manage real-life storms and confusion. 

So time - we are in that first day, Genesis 1:2 - when there was darkness, and formless void. Our Leviathan is fighting and producing turmoil. Will it learn as Job learned?

There is still a month of 20% discount available on my book.  You could put the prepaid order under the Christmas tree or give it on one of the 8 days of Hanukkah in an envelope with a promise of delivery at the end of January. Place your orders here.

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