Monday, March 4, 2013

Psalms 3-6, A short meditation

Psalm 5 is one of the personal psalms of David in the first collection (3-32,34-41) each of them with the inscription 'of David'. Psalm 5 is one to be feared, because it precedes Psalm 6 (and Psalm 6 is there - to be imprinted on the memory - compare Psalm 38, which has the inscription 'To remember'). Anyone who remembers the kindling with a touch of his anger (Psalm 2) will not want to feel the impact of the first verse of Psalm 6 (or 38). Such a touch of anger is a painful presence, even though it last but a moment (Psalm 30). But it is desirable to know the confidence (without over-confidence) of Psalm 5. And one has the option to refrain from being stupid (Psalm 38).

Psalm 4 has two verses in a similar sequence to Psalms 5 and 6, but rather than two psalms, it is in two verses: request and rebuke.
When I call answer me
my God my righteousness
In straits you have made room for me
Be gracious and hear my prayer
Children, each of you,
how long will you humiliate my glory?
your love empty?
your seeking a lie?
Maybe it is wise to listen to this rebuke. These first four psalms will not be the end of the need to listen, to be corrected, to learn, and to joy rather than shudder. Psalm 30 also reflects a similar recollection of such teaching and correction.

Psalm 5 promises that the elect poet / reader will arrange the morning (verse 4):
יהוה, morning
you will hear my voice
Morning I will arrange for you
and I will be on lookout

Psalm 3 notes that the poet awakes without trouble, 'I awake for יהוה supports me'. So the morning of Psalm 5 is a reasonable component in this daily human sequence. It is not just the poet's doing, but it is the poet whose salvation is in God (verse 1), that God who keeps the poet 'in the way'. That word in is more than its character as a 'light' or stretchable preposition. Yet trouble, straits, enemies, and conflict, are everywhere.