Bible Blog 1830

Psalm 28

To you I call out

Aung San Su Kyi, woman of faith on the verge of victory

Aung San Su Kyi, woman of integrity on the verge of victory

Lord, my rock!

Do not rebuff me in silence.

For if you hush your speech to me

I will be like those cut off

In the pit of death.

Hear the voice of my prayer

When I cry to you;

When I lift up my hands

Towards your holy place.

Do not bundle me

With wastrels and wrongdoers

Who speak peace to their neighbours

With violence in their hearts.

Reward them for their actions,

For the wrong they have done.

Reward them

For the working of their hands

By repaying them in kind!

Because they have no regard

For the actions of the Lord

Nor the working of his hands

He will tear them down

And not rebuild them.

Blessed be the Lord

Because he has heard

The voice of my prayer!

The Lord is my strength and shield;

In him my heart confided

And I have been helped.

Therefore my heart jumps for joy

And with my song

I will give him thanks.

The Lord is strength for his people

A rescuing power for his anointed ones.

Rescue your people

And bless what is yours;

Shepherd them

And carry them always.

(translated emmock 2015)  shepherd_on_the_way_to_hampta_pass1

The speakers in the psalms insist on making distinctions; there is little consideration of shades of grey; either you are basically decent or you are a wrongdoer. In this case the typical crime of wrongdoers is treachery;  they speak peace (shalom, goodness, fruitfulness, welfare) while concealing violent intentions. The speaker contrasts their actions with God’s actions, the working of their hands with the working of his hands. which they foolishly disregard. In particular, their destructive working will be matched by God’s destruction of them, without hope of rebuilding. As is common in the psalms, God’s rescue of faithful people and his destruction of evil people is nowhere described. God will bring justice, is all that needs to be said.

Certainly it seems to be enough for the speaker, who announces that her prayer has been answered, and praises God as he strength and shield. Clearly these are not idle terms. We are to understand the importance of prayer. If God “hushes” his speech to his petitioner, it would be as if she was in She’ol, the place of the dead, who can neither speak to God nor hear him. The speaker of this psalm trusts that God will speak to her, not perhaps in some vision or mystical communication, but within the trustful relationship of which the psalm is a model. It includes personal prayer, reverence for the temple, commitment to God’s way, refusal of the way of the world. And it is part of the wider relationship of God and his people Israel. Out of that lived relationship, human beings speak to the creator God, who speaks to them.

To have regard for the “actions” of God, for the “working of his hands” is to see the world and one’s own life as instances of God’s goodness. This is a tough trust, rooted in the everyday rough and tumble, in and through which God is known. The beautiful prayer at the end sums it up: God rescues, blesses, shepherds and carries his people.

Although her faith is different from mine, Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the Myanmar opposition, comes to mind this week as a example of trust. Brutally treated by the tyranny that ruled her nation she has persisted in peaceful, determined, inclusive opposition, believing that the day of justice would come, as perhaps it now has. Her Buddhist faith has upheld and inspired her. She might say, with the psalmist “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart confided; and I have been helped.”

 

 

 

 

 

2 comments

  1. Totally needed this today. Been wrestling with spending time with Him. I’m going now to make some coffe and get quiet. Thanx for your post

  2. Thanks, bro. As regards time with Him, reflect that It may be Her! It’s entertaining to think of God being the opposite sex. I guess for centuries women had this fun….

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