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Worship Words: April 18, 2021

Psalm 4 Paraphrase by Barb Hedges-Goettl                                                                                                                                                      

God, you are right and just and true.

When I call with a loud cry,

    You answer me.

You widen the straits of distress

   that bind and besiege me.

When my world is small, narrow, and cramped,

  You give me room to breathe.

When I am stuck between a rock and hard place,

   You let me loose in your broad, wide pasture.

You bend to me in kindness and mercy,

    understanding my prayer.

How long will people hurt God’s reputation

     and damage God’s honor and glory?

How long will we love empty words,

     seeking lies and requiring falsehoods,

     and yearning after worthless things?

Set us aside for yourself, O Lord.

     Make us your good and faithful ones,

     Your kind and godly ones,

     Your saints by Your mercy.

O Lord, hear me when I call to you.

When I am trembling and quivering,

       Agitated and disturbed,

       Angry and disquieted,

       Worried and anxious,

             Keep me from sin.

Inspire me to meditate on you at night.

    Put me to bed and tuck me in with your comfort.

    Whisper to the ears of my heart, that I may hear you.

    Quiet and calm me in my whole being.

I confess my dependence on you.

    Enable me to wait upon you

    With confidence and patience.

I offer myself in thanksgiving;

    I give myself to you because of your mercy.

    I respond to your love with love of my own.

    I respond to the all you give me

        With my all.

I put my trust in you.

    I hold out my hand for your hand.

    I offer my heart to your heart.

    I offer my mind to your purposes.

    I offer my body to your body.

Be my hope,

      my boldness,

      my security,

      my confidence,

             my God.

There are many who say:

       “Oh, that we might perceive some good!”

Shine your light upon us, O God!

        Make your presence dawn upon us.

Give us joy and gladness

        at our deepest heart of hearts–

Joy greater than a bountiful harvest

         or material riches.

Bestow gladness in our very being,

         A share in your joy.

We will lie down and sleep;

         We will be stilled and remain at peace,

         dwelling in God’s house,

         where we can safely lie down.

Thanks be to God.

Opening Prayer(adapted from Psalm 4) by Barb Hedges-Goettl

My God,

Be my hope,

      my boldness,

      my security,

      my confidence,

My God.

Call to Worship (adapted from Psalm 4) by Barb Hedges-Goettl

There are many who say:

       “Oh, that we might perceive some good!”

Shine your light upon us, O God!

        Make your presence dawn upon us.

Give us joy and gladness

        at our deepest heart of hearts–

Joy greater than a bountiful harvest

         or material riches.

Bestow gladness in our very being,

         A share in your joy.

Confession of Faith in the Good News cf. Acts 3 (RCL) and Acts 6-7 (NL) by Barb Hedges-Goettl                                                                                                                         

We believe and receive the Good News. We experience God’s confounding of the evil of crucifixion with the grace of resurrection.  We participate in God’s conversion of mourning into dancing. We are dressed in grave clothes made over into glad rags. We are lifted up from the grave and given new life. God lifts us up from down-and-out to up-and-at-‘em. For this Good News, we give thanks to God. Amen.

Prayer of thanks for a witness by Barb Hedges-Goettl

God, we thank you that we have a witness. You bear witness to yourself:  You proclaim that we are made in your image, and that image is very good.Jesus proclaims love for all people, the sacrificial love of a Shepherd for the sheep.The Spirit proclaims you with sighs too deep for words.

O God, we thank you that we have a witness. Witnesses have come before us: Prophets proclaim your justice for all people, rolling down like waters. The women at the tomb proclaim your confounding of evil and death through the resurrection. Astounding the crowd by healing the lame, Peter witnesses to forgiveness and resurrection. Condemned by false witnesses, Stephen witnesses to the Son of Man and forgiveness.

O God, we thank you that we have a witness. Witnesses are all around us:Give us ears to hear voices long silenced, peoples whose experiences challenge and correct our own. Fill our hearts with love for the diverse ways in which you speak, that we know and hear your word through each person’s own experience, and so honor your image and your presence in each one we meet.

O God, we thank you that we have a witness. Make us witnesses going forward, sharing what we have known, what we have heard:  your love, your hope, and the Good News of the resurrected life  redeemed from evil, death and all that would separate us from you and from one another.

In Jesus’ name and by the power of the Spirit we pray, Amen.

The below are from Rev. Katy Stenta, see https://katyandtheword.com/2021/04/13/prayers-for-acts-6-stoning-of-stephen/?fbclid=IwAR3hB6dxy9lTay-hhKQB1fNNGEWd6t6qPogFHHIt7j1lFjfox1L8VT5vaUw

Prayers for Acts 6: Stoning of Stephen

Acts 6:1-7:2, 44-60

Suggest Pairing Isaiah 66:1-2, 22-23

Call to Worship (based on Isaiah 66:13-14, ) 

God promises, asa  mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you

We shall see, and our hearts shall rejoice. 

Come let us pray for the Lord, for God is Good. 

Come let all flesh give God Thanks and Praise. 

Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that we find comfort in tradition. We have struggled throughout this year as so many things have had to change. Walk with us this spring and we try to understand what it is we need to keep, and what it is we can leave behind. Help us to choose, always and forever, the ways that lead us closer to your kingdom. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen 

Assurance of Pardon: God’s promises to remake heaven and earth in God’s forgiveness. Let us share the good news with one another: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication: (unison) Lord, let us go forth giving thanks for all that is good. Place praise for you on our lips and on our tongues, that others might see and know and understand your love. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Hymns: Morning Has Broken, Jesu Jesus Fill Us with Your Love, Called as Partners to Christ’s Service, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Amazing Grace,

Worship Words for Sunday, March 14 for Narrative Lectionary: Luke 16:19-31 (Psalm 41:1-3) and Revised Common Lectionary (Numbers 21:4-17, Ephesians 2:1-10)

Khor Virap, Armenia with Mount Ararat in the background. Barb Hedges-Goettl, 2018.

Opening Prayer (or Intercession) inspired by Luke 16:19-31 by Barb Hedges-Goettl

O God, send us your messenger from the dead

In the name of the finely dressed man

Who feasts sumptuously every day

Whose crumbs could satisfy the hungry

Whose dogs tend the wounds of the needy.

O God, send us your messenger from the dead

Send Lazarus, recipient of evil things,

Who was carried by angels to Abraham

Who has comforting water–and cool

Who can call the living back from their hell

O God, send us your messenger from the dead

The One who received evil things

The One who brings Living Water

The One who brings the living back from their hell

O God, send us your messenger from the dead

That we, who receive and do evil things,

May share living water, comforting and cool,

And bring back the living from their hell.

Amen.

Call to Worship (or Prayer of Thanksgiving)based on Psalm 107 by Barb Hedges-Goettl

Redeemed by the Lord from trouble, let us say so.                                                                       We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.                                                                                                                                                                  

Gathered in from all lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.    

As we cry to the Lord in our trouble, God saves us from our distress.                                                            We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.

God sends out God’s word and heals us, delivering us from destruction.                                                We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.

We give thanks for the Lord’s steadfast love, For God’s wonderful works to humankind.                     We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Offer thanksgiving sacrifice, and tell of God’s deed with songs of joy.                                                  We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Prayer of Confession inspired by Numbers 21:4-9 by Barb Hedges-Goettl

O God, forgive us.

We are impatient.

We forget that you made us and that you call us.

You lead us–and you provide for us.

O God, forgive us.

We want what we want.

We act like we know ourselves better than you know us.

We pretend that we can take care of ourselves.

O God, forgive us.

We close our eyes to all that needs healing.

We do not recognize the powers of death and dying that need transformation.

We pretend there are no wrongs for you to overcome.

O God, forgive us.

We doubt your ability to transform.

We do not trust you to take that which is deadly

and turn it into the deliverer of salvation and hope.

O God, forgive us.

Silent Confession

Assurance: Even when we do not believe it, God brings about transformation, exchanging sin for forgiveness, trading wounds for healing, replacing fear with courage, converting falling down into rising up, and overcoming death with life. Thanks be to God

Prayer of Intercession (or Confession) by Barb Hedges-Goettl

A Sort of Anti-Confession, naming what we seek to do instead of what we have failed to do (or done wrongly). The categories are from Psalm 41:1-3 and represent the ways that God blesses those who remember the poor, recognizing them as ways that we can also bless others.

Lord, have mercy. Show us how to help those who are in trouble as you help us.

Lord, have mercy. Empower us to protect others, and preserve their lives, as you protect and preserve us.

Lord, have mercy. Enable us to bless others, sharing the blessings and joy you grant us.

Lord, have mercy.  Embolden us to accompany people in the presence of their enemies, as you accompany us even in the valley of the shadow of death.

Lord, have mercy. Inspire us to serve and heal, as you are the servant and healer of all.

Lord, have mercy. Make us more and more your people, serving all as created in your image.

Amen.

Prayer of Intercession Trauma Prayer by Katy Stenta

Here is a prayer for the survivors, who were left by those who got sick and died.

A prayer for the workers who were deemed essential–and never got a break from the work, the breath, the spit, the talk, the-show-up-to-get-your-paycheck

Its a plea for those who were “let go” told that they weren’t important enough to keep getting paid

Its a recycled prayer for the homeless and the hungry, who are the same as ever, only worse

A love note for the queer fam, whose barriers only increase when people become stressed

Here’s a prayer for the black and brown people the Native Americans, the Asians, the Immigrants…the ignored and forgotten. The “inaccessible” for healthcare, the ones who always have to sit on the bottom, except for deaths in the pandemic where they ride high.

Here’s a chant for Black Lives Matter–words that start, but don’t do enough to create a structure for reparations

Here’s a prayer for the abused, alone and trapped.

A prayer for the addict, who is living the days, and the nights trying to figure out treatment in tough times.

This is a Cry for the lonely: the elderly, the singles, the handicapped, the sick. Lord, you know there are too many ways for us to feel lonely in ordinary times. Here’s an extra cry for them.

Here’s a prayer for a moment–for all those who are caretaking or parenting, those who have had not respite and no relief, for whom the to do list has lengthened and the how to list no longer exists.

This is a prayer for the children, who know in their bones what they are missing, even when they don’t know what they are missing.

We are praying for all of the world together–because this is our traumaversary–a moment when we look at the world that has ended, and has not yet a world to look towards.

We have to relive the trauma of the loss, and we still haven’t learned how to Cope with it Lord.

This is a prayer for me Lord,

Because I’m tired and lonely, and I don’t even know if I’m hungry or bored or just dealing with depression. This is a prayer for my family, because ok is all we can go for right now.

This is a prayer for the traumatized. Help us, we pray, Save us, we pray.

Amen.

Feel free to share/use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Trauma Anniversary Info: https://www.mentalhelp.net/ptsd/anniversary-reactions-to-a-traumatic-event/

katyandtheword | March 8, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Hymn Dives and Lazarus British folk song

https://hymnary.org/hymn/CCNO1871/39  (public domain in the US)

To hear it, go to Maddy Prior performing ‘Dives & Lazarus’ from Nettlebed Folk Club on the ‘Seven For Old England’ tour. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl3xFnoDZ  (not for use in worship due to copyright)

Hymn; Tell me, Dear Tree(Ephesians 2:1-10)  A Lenten hymn of sacrifice

https://revlisad.com/2015/04/03/tell-me-dear-tree-a-lenten-hymn-of-sacrifice-2/t t

 

Meter- 86.86 double (CMD)
Suggested tune: KINGSFOLD (United Methodist Hymnal #179)

Kingsfold is in the public domain in the US

See https://hymnary.org/tune/kingsfold_english

Psalm 137 Worship Resources

Cover photo: An aerial view of protesters gathered near the makeshift memorial in honor of George Floyd, marking one week since his death (Minneapolis). Photo by Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images.

We are using the 2020 Presbyterian Women’s Horizons Bible Study for our Summer Series:  Into the Light: Finding Hope Through Prayers of Lament, a $10 resources with 9 lessons. This is week 2 on lamenting together; week 1 was intro to lament.

Singing the Lord’s Song/being in communion when separated and in times of darkness

How do we sing the Lord’s Song when our world’s violence makes any thoughts of even one peaceful Sabbath a pipe dream? When you’re in such a dark place that you wish death on somebody, maybe even yourself? When our people and communities are broken, divided by illness, grief, spite or sheer vengeance? When your own church’s communion – much less the world’s – seems impossible?

From Sacredise: https://sacredise.com/lectionary-resources/proper-22c/

REFLECTIONS ON THEME:
The readings this week offer a fascinating juxtaposition of ideas. The Old Testament and Psalm readings all explore the pain and humiliation of God’s people when they are defeated, conquered and exiled, and as they long for forgiveness restoration and salvation. Even Psalm 37 deals with similar issues, albeit in a more generalised way, speaking of the pain and confusion that arises when destructive or evil people prosper, and the difficult work of faith and patience in God’s action on behalf of those who trust God’s ways. The New Testament readings, on the other hand, explore the impact that a life of simple, ordinary faith can have, and the attitude of humble servanthood which expects no undue reward for simply living faithfully. In essence, both Testaments are saying the same thing this week.
In a world where bad things happen to good people, and where it often appears that the lawless and ‘godless’ get the best, it can be tough to live in faith and faithfulness. Justice can take a long time to come, and it can be tempting to use any means – however undesirable – to achieve what we long for. This applies even when our goal is to manifest God’s reign. However, as we live in faithfulness, and pass our faith on to others who come after us, the small, ordinary acts of goodness and justice that we do each day, the small faithful commitments to our convictions that we renew each day, really do ‘move mountains’ and change the world, little by little, into a place where God’s salvation is visibly revealed.

CONNECTING WITH LIFE:
GLOBAL APPLICATION: In the light of the huge challenges facing our world – hunger and poverty, human rights abuses, unequal distribution of resources, human trafficking, dread diseases, environmental degradation, conflict and war – it is easy to get frustrated and impatient, and it is extremely tempting to embrace any strategy that gets results. The danger here, though, is that we can too easily become what we seek to overcome, and our efforts, which may appear successful in the short term, leave us in deeper trouble in the long term. Two important principles that the lectionary offers us this week are 1) the power of small acts of goodness and justice, and 2) the need to think systemically and long term, waiting at the “guard post on the wall” (to use Habakkuk’s image) to observe, nurture and cooperate with any manifestations of God’s reign that emerge. In the world of big business, big politics, and powerful lobby groups, such long term thinking can be frustrating, but, as demonstrated by Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela (it must have taken faith to spend 27 years in jail and then still embrace dialogue as a valid process to end apartheid) such faithful, consistent and just living does result in significant change. What long term commitments to justice can you embrace or renew in your community this week?

LOCAL APPLICATION: Perhaps the best focus, on the local level, this week, is the power of small, ordinary, “everyday” acts of justice. When we refuse to live according to the expedient, self-centred, materialist values of the society around us, it may appear to have no impact, and we may feel like we become nothing more than a laughing stock – a people in exile, suffering for what may sometimes feel like foolish and ineffectual convictions, while those around us “live it up” and succeed. The promise of the Scriptures, though, is that such alternative living does have an impact – a significant one – and also has lasting value – becoming the heritage of faith and goodness that is passed down through generations and across communities. The reassurance this gives is that our suffering is not in vain, and that our faithfulness is useful to God. In our “instant gratification” society, such perseverance and endurance is hard and counter-cultural, but is a powerful witness to the Gospel. Where has your church’s commitment to “everyday justice” grown tired or weak? In what ways do you need to renew your commitment to persevere? What alternate living choices do you need to make or renew together? To whom can your faith heritage be passed on? What can you do to inspire and sustain small, long term, commitments in your community this week?

SONG: https://www.psalmimmersion.com/psalm-137

Psalm 137:1

בָּכָה bâkâh, baw-kaw’; a primitive root; to weep; generally to bemoan:—× at all, bewail, complain, make lamentation, × more, mourn, × sore, × with tears, weep.

Psalm 137:3 captors/tormenters

תּוֹלָל tôwlâl, to-lawl’; from H3213; causing to howl, i.e. an oppressor:—that wasted.

Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon [?]

Psalm 137:7 rase/tear down/lay bare

The KJV translates Strong’s H6168 in the following manner: uncover (3x), discover (3x), emptied (2x), rase (2x), leave destitute (1x), make naked (1x), poured out (1x), poured (1x), spreading (1x).

Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

  1. to be bare, be nude, uncover, leave destitute, discover, empty, raze, pour out
    1. (Piel)
      1. to bare, lay bare
      1. to lay bare by emptying, empty
      1. to pour out
    1. (Hiphil)
      1. to make naked, strip bare (of sexual offences)
      1. to pour out
    1. (Niphal) to be poured out, be exposed
    1. (Hithpael)
      1. to expose oneself, make oneself naked
      1. pouring oneself, spreading oneself (participle)

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

עָרָה ʻârâh, aw-raw’; a primitive root; to be (causatively, make) bare; hence, to empty, pour out, demolish:—leave destitute, discover, empty, make naked, pour (out), rase, spread self, uncover.

Psalm 137:8 ravaging the daughter of Jerusalem

The KJV translates Strong’s H7703 in the following manner: spoil (30x), spoiler (11x), waste (8x), destroy (2x), robbers (2x), miscellaneous (5x).

Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

  1. to deal violently with, despoil, devastate, ruin, destroy, spoil
    1. (Qal)
      1. to violently destroy, devastate, despoil, assail
      1. devastator, despoiler (participle) (subst)
    1. (Niphal) to be utterly ruined
    1. (Piel)
      1. to assault
      1. to devastate
    1. (Pual) to be devastated
    1. (Poel) to violently destroy
    1. (Hophal) to be devastated

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

שָׁדַד shâdad, shaw-dad’; a primitive root; properly, to be burly, i.e. (figuratively) powerful (passively, impregnable); by implication, to ravage:—dead, destroy(-er), oppress, robber, spoil(-er), × utterly, (lay) waste.

Psalm 137: Complex Communal Laments

JOHN AHN

Journal of Biblical Literature

Vol. 127, No. 2 (Summer, 2008), pp. 267-289 (23 pages)

Imagine the 267N5 Imagine the act of decapitating little children or infants against the edge or corner of the wall of Jerusalem. Something that is supposed to protect is now employed to behead. The violent and traumatic visual image of such a repeated act goes beyond anything we can comprehend.

Mock-simha; fake song of victory over enemies

275 Why would Ps. 137k accentuated by laments & curses, be place in the midst of these 0135-137] Thanksgiving and praise psalms? This is a bold but unconventional editorial move that proposed to give thanks and praise through lament laden with honest feelings of enmity. Thhanksgiving and praise arise not only from positive elements in life. Rther the true mark of these practices if finding the courage & strength to praise & give thanks when there is nothing worthwhile or praiseworthy. 176 Brueggemann says that Ps 137 is marked not by despair but by hope. However, we cannot move into this hopeful realm all too quickly without allowing the pathos to resound and have its rightful place. The ? is, Can those in Babylon, both the first wave and the second wave of forced migrants collectively voice “Hallelujah” or “Thanks be to God” in the midst of their most difficult time? The answer seems to be complex.

278 by the waters of Babylon; by the irrigation canals where the Judean royalty and religious leadership were put to work maintaining/desalinating the canals.

280 weeping willows crying for those who hung the harps

v.3 wordplay beween captors, tormenters & hung

282 For there our captors asked us for the words of a song, but our tormenters asked for mirth, ‘Sing for us a Zion song!’

283 Captors, Babyonians, may be separate from torments, who may be fellow-laborers who are not Jewish.

284 Bookends: Forget/do not remember

Musician wiling to forgo righthand instrument & mouth/tongue for praising God

College Press NIV Commentary 470

v. 5 Wordplay: forget with become crippled/lamed

Conversations Among Exiles

by Walter Brueggemann

The Christian Century, July 2-9, 1997, pp. 630-632.


SUMMARY

In response to times of crisis, Leviticus urged the practice of holiness, and Deuteronomy stressed neighborliness. Unless the experience of loss is expressed, examined and understood, new ways of living are not able to emerge.

In our time of dislocation the church can offer ways of speaking and acting that the dominant society regards as subversive, but without which we cannot for long stay human.
The church can
1) express sadness, rage and loss as an alternative to the denial that inevitably breeds brutality.
2) be a voice of holiness that counters the trivial commodity-centered world by the practice of disciplines that make communion possible.
3) be a voice of imaginative, neighborly transformation, focused on those in need.
4) express new social possibilities, rooted in the truth of God’s good news.

Before us is the choice between succumbing to a fearful self-preoccupation that shrivels the spirit or heeding God’s call to re-enter the pain of the world and the possibility of renewal and salvation. [Numbers added]

Juneteenth https://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm

http://www.theafricanamericanlectionary.org/PopupLectionaryReading.asp?LRID=10  Maafa service – Maafa is an African word used to refer to four centuries of worldwide enslavement of black people.   The remembering in Psalm 137 (v. 1, 6, 7) occasions anguish, accountability and anger. Babylonians asking for a kind of minstrel show. Includes sermon illustrations.

Phrase from an article that is no longer at the link: Hope without singing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGz5wbIGm0w British Bishop on singing the Lord’s song in a strange land in a time of COVID-19

LITURGICAL RESOURCES

Call to Worship, Prayer, Personal Meditation by Joan Stot http://www.thetimelesspsalms.net/w_resources/pentecost20[27]c_2013.htm

Includes dealing with the last vengeful verses and provides alternative of Lamentations 3:21-26 as an assurance of pardon or final blessing. http://hwallace.unitingchurch.org.au/WebOTcomments/OrdinaryC/Pent19Psalm137.html

Our bulletin is at https://1drv.ms/w/s!AuB3z496aTHTgcYfmV3FepVsFsaFng

The sermon will be here; target date is 6/15. https://1drv.ms/w/s!AuB3z496aTHTgcYfmV3FepVsFsaFng

Psalms in a Time of Sickness: Psalm 4

Psalm 4

O God, you are right and just and true.

When I call with a loud cry,

    You answer me.

You widen the straits of distress

   that bind and besiege me.

When my world is small, narrow, and cramped,

  You give me room to breathe.

When I am stuck between a rock and hard place,

   You let me loose in your broad, wide pasture.

You bend to me in kindness and mercy,

    understanding my prayer.

How long will people hurt God’s reputation

     and damage God’s honor and glory?

How long will we love empty words,

     seeking lies and requiring falsehoods,

     and yearning after worthless things?

Set us aside for yourself, O Lord.

     Make us your good and faithful ones,

     Your kind and godly ones,

     Your saints by Your mercy.

O Lord, hear me when I call to you.

When I am trembling and quivering,

       Agitated and disturbed,

       Angry and disquieted,

       Worried and anxious,

             Keep me from sin.

Inspire me to meditate on you at night.

    Put me to bed and tuck me in with your comfort.

    Whisper to the ears of my heart, that I may hear you.

    Quiet and calm me in my whole being.

I confess my dependence on you.

    Enable me to wait upon you

    With confidence and patience.

I offer myself in thanksgiving;

    I give myself to you because of your mercy.

    I respond to your love with love of my own.

    I respond to the all you give me

        With my all.

I put my trust in you.

    I hold out my hand for your hand.

    I offer my heart to your heart.

    I offer my mind to your purposes.

    I offer my body to your body.

Be my hope,

      my boldness,

      my security,

      my confidence,

             my God.

There are many who say:

       “Oh, that we might perceive some good!”

Shine your light upon us, O God!

        Make your presence dawn upon us.

Give us joy and gladness

        at our deepest heart of hearts–

Joy greater than a bountiful harvest

         or material riches.

Bestow gladness in our very being,

         A share in your joy.

We will lie down and sleep;

         We will be stilled and remain at peace,

         dwelling in God’s house,

         where we can safely lie down.

Thanks be to God.

Psalm 3: Psalms in a Time of Sickness

Psalm 3

O Lord, so much troubles us. So much is rising up against us.                                                                         Danger is crowding us, pursuing us.

Many say that you will not help us.                                        But we proclaim that you are our only hope.     You are our shield. You are our glory.                                                               You alone can lift up our heads,                                                                           now bowed in shame and sorrow.

We cry out to you, O Lord.                                                                                  You hear us from your holy dwelling place. Then we lay down and sleep in peace                                                        and wake up safely, for you are watching over us.                                                                                                             

Though surrounded by ten thousand evils on every side,        we are not afraid. We cry to you, “Arise, O Lord!” Save us, O God. Disempower all that threatens us.                                  Leave our enemies powerless to harm us.                                                       

Victory comes from you, O Lord. Give us joy even in the midst of our trials;                                                               open our eyes to our blessings.

Amen.

Psalms in a Time of Sickness: Psalm 2

Why, O God, are there swarms and gatherings? Why do we rage and revolt?
Instead of serving God and God’s people, we seek our own ways and our own good. Earth’s leaders–those of power and position– are deaf to the counsel of those who heed the signs and to the danger to body and soul.

Without you, even working together is madness. You have crowned your Son King of the earth on your holy hill, granting him all power and majesty. You reveal your purposes through him.
We bow before him, listening while there is still time. We serve you with reverent fear. We rejoice with trembling. We fall down before your Son and kiss his feet. Save us from your wrath. Grant us the joy that only comes from trusting in you. Amen.

Summer Psalm Series #3B-Psalm 27:1-6 Exegesis/Word study

This Sunday we will have a baptism; the verses in this Psalm about enemies, which are omitted from the RCL, align themselves as a compare/contrast to the psalmist’s statements about God. For me, this will be fodder for talking about which kin(g)dom we are choosing by choosing baptism and what we mean by rejecting sin and evil.

There are all kinds of parallels/contrasts in the language used for enemies and for God, such as

salvation has an overtone of freedom, being set loose v. the word for enemies, which has the sense of being hemmed in/in a tight spot

trembling/revering/fearing God v. trembling/revering/fearing enemies

war being lifted up v. the psalmist being lifted up onto the rock and having his (her) head lifted up

the enemies encamping in a temporary sense v. the psalmist dwelling in the house of the Lord foever

the Lord as the heart of the psalmist’s life v. the enemies coming to eat the flesh of the psalmist (this “flesh” can be a euphemism for the genitals as the source of life)

 

Details below.

 

 

v.1 Light as in diffused light, an uncountable noun that is not the same as light(s)/luminaries that grant light. See https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H216&t=KJV

 

v.1 Salvation (cf. Joshua/Jesus)

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H3467&t=KJV

 

 

Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

  1. to save, be saved, be delivered
    1. (Niphal)
      1. to be liberated, be saved, be delivered
      2. to be saved (in battle), be victorious
    2. (Hiphil)
      • . to save, deliver
  1. to save from moral troubles
  2. to give victory to

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

יָשַׁע yâshaʻ, yaw-shah’; a primitive root; properly, to be open, wide or free, i.e. (by implication) to be safe; causatively, to free or succor:—× at all, avenging, defend, deliver(-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, saving

 

 

 

 

  1. 1 – whom shall I fear

 

  • to fear, revere, be afraid
    1. (Qal)
      • to fear, be afraid
      • to stand in awe of, be awed
      • to fear, reverence, honour, respect
    2. (Niphal)
      • .to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared
      • to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe
      • to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe
    3. (Piel) to make afraid, terrify
  • (TWOT) to shoot, pour

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

יָרֵא yârêʼ, yaw-ray’; a primitive root; to fear; morally to revere; causatively to frighten:—affright, be (make) afraid, dread(-ful), (put in) fear(-ful, -fully, -ing), (be had in) reverence(-end), × see, terrible (act, -ness, thing).

 

Also be in awe of, reverence, admire, venerate. See https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3372&t=KJV

 

 

  1. 1 strength

 

The KJV translates Strong’s H4581 in the following manner: strength (24x), strong (4x), fortress (3x), hold (2x), forces (1x), fort (1x), rock (1x), strengthen (1x).

Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

  • place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold
    1. place of safety, fastness, harbour, stronghold
    2. refuge (of God) (fig.)
    3. human protection (fig.)

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

מָעוֹז mâʻôwz, maw-oze’; (also מָעוּז mâʻûwz ); or מָעֹז mâʻôz (also מָעֻז mâʻuz; from H5810; a fortified place; figuratively, a defence:—force, fort(-ress), rock, strength(-en), (× most) strong (hold).

 

  1. 1 – of my life

The word translated “life” also apparently serves as an adjective:

 

adjective

  • living, alive
    1. green (of vegetation)
    2. flowing, fresh (of water)
    3. lively, active (of man)
    4. reviving (of the springtime)

masculine noun

  • relatives
  • life (abstract emphatic)
    • . life
  1. sustenance, maintenance

feminine noun

  • living thing, animal
    • . animal
  1. life
  2. appetite
  3. revival, renewal
  • community

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

חַי chay, khah’-ee; from H2421; alive; hence, raw (flesh); fresh (plant, water, year), strong; also (as noun, especially in the feminine singular and masculine plural) life (or living thing), whether literally or figuratively:— age, alive, appetite, (wild) beast, company, congregation, life(-time), live(-ly), living (creature, thing), maintenance, merry, multitude, (be) old, quick, raw, running, springing, troop.

 

Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon [?]

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2416&t=KJV

  1. alive, living
  2. lively, vigorous
  3. reviving
  4. raw
  5. fresh
  6. life: living/sustenance; refreshment; prosperity/welfare/happiness

 

v.1 fear: to fear, tremble, revere, dread, be in awe or dread

  1. (Qal)
    • to be in dread
    • to be in awe
  2. (Piel) to be in great dread
  3. (Hiphil) to cause to dread

 

 

v.2 “Enemies” is a word that means a tight place; cf. salvation as a wide/free place. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6862&t=KJV

צַר tsar, tsar; or צָר tsâr; from H6887; narrow; (as a noun) a tight place (usually figuratively, i.e. trouble); also a pebble (as in H6864); (transitive) an opponent (as crowding):—adversary, afflicted(-tion), anguish, close, distress, enemy, flint, foe, narrow, small, sorrow, strait, tribulation, trouble.

 

v.2 foe(s)- one who hates/persecutes the other as an enemy, adversary, foe

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H341&t=KJV

 

v.2 come to eat up my flesh-flesh here includes the possibility of referring to the male “organ of generation”; that is, the genitals, particularly as the source of life. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H1320&t=KJV

 

v.2 Enemies stumble-tremble in the ankles, presumably through weakness, however, maybe this is an echo of the possible fear mentioned above?

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3782&t=KJV

כָּשַׁל kâshal, kaw-shal’; a primitive root; to totter or waver (through weakness of the legs, especially the ankle); by implication, to falter, stumble, faint or fall:—bereave (from the margin), cast down, be decayed, (cause to) fail, (cause, make to) fall (down, -ing), feeble, be (the) ruin(-ed, of), (be) overthrown, (cause to) stumble, ×utterly, be weak.

 

 

 

 

v.2 and fall:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5307&t=KJV

  • to fall, lie, be cast down, fail
    1. (Qal)
      • to fall
      • to fall (of violent death)
      • to fall prostrate, prostrate oneself before
      • to fall upon, attack, desert, fall away to , go away to, fall into the hand of
      • to fall short, fail, fall out, turn out, result
      • to settle, waste away, be offered, be inferior to
      • to lie, lie prostrate
    2. (Hiphil)
      • .to cause to fall, fell, throw down, knock out, lay prostrate
      • to overthrow
      • to make the lot fall, assign by lot, apportion by lot
      • to let drop, cause to fail (fig.)
      • to cause to fall
    3. (Hithpael)
      • .to throw or prostrate oneself, throw oneself upon
      • to lie prostrate, prostrate oneself
    4. (Pilel) to fall

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

נָפַל nâphal, naw-fal’; a primitive root; to fall, in a great variety of applications (intransitive or causative, literal or figurative):—be accepted, cast (down, self, (lots), out), cease, die, divide (by lot), (let) fail, (cause to, let, make, ready to) fall (away, down, -en, -ing), fell(-ing), fugitive, have (inheritance), inferior, be judged (by mistake for 6419), lay (along), (cause to) lie down, light (down), be (× hast) lost, lying, overthrow, overwhelm, perish, present(-ed, -ing), (make to) rot, slay, smite out, ×surely, throw down.

 

 

V.3 encamp/pitch a tent-an impermanent kind of dwelling

Fear-same word as in v.1 “whom shall I fear?”

 

V 3 heart-really the seat of the person/everything/personhood cf. living/life although possibly more internalized?

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3820&t=KJV

לֵב lêb, labe; a form of H3824; the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything:—care for, comfortably, consent, × considered, courag(-eous), friend(-ly), ((broken-), (hard-), (merry-), (stiff-), (stout-), double) heart(-ed), × heed, × I, kindly, midst, mind(-ed), ×regard(-ed), × themselves, × unawares, understanding, × well, willingly, wisdom.

inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding

 

 

  1. inner part, midst
    • midst (of things)
    • heart (of man)
    • soul, heart (of man)
    • mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
    • inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
    • conscience
    • heart (of moral character)
    • as seat of appetites
    • as seat of emotions and passions
    • as seat of courage

 

v.3 confident:

בָּטַח bâṭach, baw-takh’; a primitive root; properly, to hie for refuge (but not so precipitately as H2620); figuratively, to trust, be confident or sure:—be bold (confident, secure, sure), careless (one, woman), put confidence, (make to) hope, (put, make to) trust.

Does this echo freedom/being out of a tight spot?

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H982&t=KJV

 

  1. 4 dwell/set up an abode (also used for marrying)-a more permanent kind of inhabiting versus encampment of the enemy above. Continue/rest/tarry/inhabit etc.https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3427&t=KJV

 

  1. 4 house-home, temple, abode, place, household, family

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H1004&t=KJV

 

  1. 4 day-year, lifetime, yesterday/today/tomorrow

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3117&t=KJV

 

v.4 life-same as v.1

 

v.4 see-to see, perceive, look, behold, prophesy, provide

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2372&t=KJV

  1. (Qal)
    • to see, behold
    • to see as a seer in the ecstatic state
    • to see, perceive
      1. with the intelligence
      2. to see (by experience)
      3. to provide

 

  1. 4 beauty-
  • kindness, pleasantness, delightfulness, beauty, favour
    1. delightfulness
    2. symbolic name of one of two staves
    3. pleasantness

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

נֹעַם nôʻam, no’-am; from H5276; agreeableness, i.e. delight, suitableness, splendor or grace:—beauty, pleasant(-ness).

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5278&t=KJV

 

v.4 inquire-

  • to seek, enquire, consider
    1. (Piel)
      • to seek, look for
      • to consider, reflect

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

בָּקַר bâqar, baw-kar; a primitive root; properly, to plough, or (generally) break forth, i.e. (figuratively) to inspect, admire, care for, consider:—(make) inquire (-ry), (make) search, seek out.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H1239&t=KJV

 

  1. 4 temple
  • palace, temple, nave, sanctuary
    1. palace
    2. temple (palace of God as king)
    3. hall, nave (of Ezekiel’s temple)
    4. temple (of heavenly temple)

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

הֵיכָל hêykâl, hay-kawl’; probably from H3201 (in the sense of capacity); a large public building, such as a palace or temple:—palace, temple.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H1964&t=KJV

 

  1. 5 in the time same as days/years/lifetime in v. 4
  2. 5 of trouble

adjective

  • bad, evil
    1. bad, disagreeable, malignant
    2. bad, unpleasant, evil (giving pain, unhappiness, misery)
    3. evil, displeasing
    4. bad (of its kind – land, water, etc)
    5. bad (of value)
    6. worse than, worst (comparison)
    7. sad, unhappy
    8. evil (hurtful)
    9. bad, unkind (vicious in disposition)
    10. bad, evil, wicked (ethically)
      • in general, of persons, of thoughts
      • deeds, actions

masculine noun

  • evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity
    • . evil, distress, adversity
  1. evil, injury, wrong
  2. evil (ethical)

feminine noun

  • evil, misery, distress, injury
    • . evil, misery, distress
  1. evil, injury, wrong
  2. evil (ethical)

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

רַע raʻ, rah; from H7489; bad or (as noun) evil (natural or moral):—adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, displease(-ure), distress, evil((-favouredness), man, thing), +exceedingly, × great, grief(-vous), harm, heavy, hurt(-ful), ill (favoured), + mark, mischief(-vous), misery, naught(-ty), noisome, + not please, sad(-ly), sore, sorrow, trouble, vex, wicked(-ly, -ness, one), worse(-st), wretchedness, wrong. (Including feminine raaah; as adjective or noun.)

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H7451&t=KJV

 

  1. 5 house-The KJV translates Strong’s H5520 in the following manner:den(1x), pavilion (1x), tabernacle (1x), covert (1x).

Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

  • thicket, lair, covert, booth

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

סֹךְ çôk, soke; from H5526; a hut (as of entwined boughs); also a lair:—covert, den, pavilion, tabernacle.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5520&t=KJV

 

Secret-masculine noun

  • covering, shelter, hiding place, secrecy
    1. covering, cover
    2. hiding place, shelter, secret place
    3. secrecy
      • secrecy (of tongue being slanderous)

 

feminine noun

  • shelter, protection

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

סֵתֶר çêther, say’-ther; or (feminine) סִתְרָה çithrâh; (Deuteronomy 32:38), from H5641; a cover (in a good or a bad, a literal or a figurative sense):—backbiting, covering, covert, × disguise(-th), hiding place, privily, protection, secret(-ly, place).

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5643&t=KJV

 

 

  1. 5 tabernacle (covers from tent to permanent installation!) Transliteration

‘ohel

Pronunciation

ō’·hel (Key)

Part of Speech

masculine noun

Root Word (Etymology)

From אָהַל (H166)

Dictionary Aids

TWOT Reference: 32a

KJV Translation Count — Total: 345x

The KJV translates Strong’s H168 in the following manner: tabernacle(s) (198x), tent(s) (141x), dwelling (2x), place(s) (2x), covering (1x), home (1x).

Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

  • tent
    1. nomad’s tent, and thus symbolic of wilderness life, transience
    2. dwelling, home, habitation
    3. the sacred tent of Jehovah (the tabernacle)

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H168&t=KJV

 

 

v.5 set me up

The KJV translates Strong’s H7311 in the following manner: (liftholdetc…) up (63x), exalt (47x), high (25x), offer (13x), give (5x), heave (3x), extol (3x), lofty (3x), take (3x), tall (3x), higher (2x), miscellaneous (24x).

Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

  • to rise, rise up, be high, be lofty, be exalted
    1. (Qal)
      • to be high, be set on high
      • to be raised, be uplifted, be exalted
      • to be lifted, rise
    2. (Polel)
      • .to raise or rear (children), cause to grow up
      • to lift up, raise, exalt
      • to exalt, extol
    3. (Polal) to be lifted up
    4. (Hiphil)
      • .to raise, lift, lift up, take up, set up, erect, exalt, set on high
      • to lift up (and take away), remove
      • to lift off and present, contribute, offer, contribute
    5. (Hophal) to be taken off, be abolished
    6. (Hithpolel) to exalt oneself, magnify oneself
  • (Qal) to be rotten, be wormy

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

רוּם rûwm, room; a primitive root; to be high actively, to rise or raise (in various applications, literally or figuratively):—bring up, exalt (self), extol, give, go up, haughty, heave (up), (be, lift up on, make on, set up on, too) high(-er, one), hold up, levy, lift(-er) up, (be) lofty, (× a-) loud, mount up, offer (up), presumptuously, (be) promote(-ion), proud, set up, tall(-er), take (away, off, up), breed worms.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H7311&t=KJV

 

Note that the enemies rising up in war is kuwm in v.3, a rhyming that would echo in Hebrew for the listeners, who are used to the word play made possible by the various vowel pointings for shared tri-literal roots in Hebrew

 

  1. 5 rock-also strength

צוּר tsûwr, tsoor; or צֻר tsur; from H6696; properly, a cliff (or sharp rock, as compressed); generally, a rock or boulder; figuratively, a refuge; also an edge (as precipitous):—edge, × (mighty) God (one), rock, × sharp, stone, × strength, ×strong. See also H1049.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6697&t=KJV

 

v.6 lifting up head is same verb as in latter half of v.5 where God sets me up

v.6 enemies-personal and/or national

  1. 6 joy

The KJV translates Strong’s H8643 in the following manner: shout (11x), shouting (8x), alarm (6x), sound (3x), blowing (2x), joy (2x), miscellaneous (4x).

Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

  • alarm, signal, sound of tempest, shout, shout or blast of war or alarm or joy
    1. alarm of war, war-cry, battle-cry
    2. blast (for march)
    3. shout of joy (with religious impulse)
    4. shout of joy (in general)

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H8643&t=KJV

 

 

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