Thursday, August 07, 2008

My Help Comes from the Lord - Addendum

In a previous post, I wrote about Psalm 121 and gave an outline (please read that post before moving on with this post). I have adapted this outline to make the flow of thought a little more easy. Here is the new outline and then I will share my rationale.

My Protector Watches Over Me

I. My protector is the Creator (1-2)

II. My protector is omniscient (3-4)
     A. He keeps me from slipping (3)
     B. He does not sleep (4)

III. My protector is omnipotent (5)

IV. My protector is omnipresent (6-8)
     A. No matter the time (6)
     B. No matter the situation (7)
     C. No matter the place (8)

The first point is the same in both the previous post and in this one so I will not comment on it here.

Second, one may balk at the use of these theological terms but I think first it will give the pastor/teacher an opportunity to teach these theological truths that EVERY Christian should understand and be able to communicate. Yes, the teacher could use "All-knowing", "All-powerful", and "All-places" in these points, but I do not think we should dumb-down our sermons. We should teach those entrusted to our care what they need to know. If the critics will use these theological terms (and they will) then Christians should be able to know what they mean.

Thirdly, I do not think these are "forced" in as they may first appear. For point II, "omniscient" is communicated, I feel, for his stating that God will not let his foot to slip and God does not sleep. God knows the obstacles coming on the path and helps the author miss them. Even when the psalmist is sleeping, God is watching. He always knows what is going on. The theological term for this is omniscience. What peace comes from knowing our God knows all that will come along our path!

Also, omnipotent is understandably used here as well. Verse 5 speaks of God is the shade on our right hand. First, the right hand poetic for power. Second, shade indicates that something is between the speaker and the sun, namely, God. This is all poetic language to indicate that the psalmist's power is really Gods power. God fights for him. An enemy steps in front of the psalmist and then God steps in between them, casting a shadow over the psalmist.
(RABBIT TRAIL - Sometimes in a Western Post-Modern mindset, shade or a shadow is a bad thing - cold, dark, mysterious. In an Ancient Near-eastern mindset, a shadow is relief from the sun in a place with no air conditioners. It is shade and relief).

The psalmist is singing about God's power and how that helps in in times of trouble. What encouragement comes from knowing that God is not only powerful, but ALL-powerful! He is omnipotent.

Finally, the term omnipresent was used because the psalmist spoke of the circumstances in which God saves. God will protect from the sun during the day and the moon at night. This is a poetic device named "Merismus," which lists the extremes to make the point that whatever being talked about is the extremes AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN.. One of these was used in verse 2, "maker of heaven and earth." THis means God created the heavens, the earth, and everything in them, under them, over them, and, in short, everything. In verse 6, the psalmist here mentions the day and night. This means God is watching all day. We would say 24-7. No matter the time, God is watchinging over you.

Next, the psalmist says God protects from all evil. No matter what evil is going on around you, God is watching over you.

Finally, the psalmist says your coming and your going: another merism. Not only when you come and not only when you go, but anywhere you go.

Anytime, any circumstance, any place. The theological term for this is omnipresence. What encouragement we should have knowing that God is with us everywhere we go!

It is these thoughts which bring to mind the song, "His Eye is on the Sparrow" (see previous post). Our God watches over us. He protects us. And this is all because He loves us.