March 9, 2019 at 6:03 pm #3238churchKeymaster
The Porch for March 10 19
Lent 1 – Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
I will raise you up on eagle’s wings.
Poetry, imagery, language, metaphor – you read poetry differently
Psalms tend to “move” – from plea to praise, from lament to thanksgiving, from articulation of hurt to submission to God
Live – dwell, remain, abide
Shelter, hiding place, cover, secret place (like in Ps 139, womblike)
Almighty – el shaddai
Shadow – under the protection
Abide – to lodge, pass the night
Say to – say of
LORD = Yahweh
Because – this is the word that the whole psalm rests on – because you did this you are blessed, because you trust, because you abide
Befall – meet, encounter, approach
Scourge – stroke, plague, disease, mark
Guard – keep you, observe you, watch over
Ways – road, journey
Hands – literally the palm, the hollow of the hand
Dash your foot – Do you think this is literal? What might it mean?
Adder – or cobra, a venomous snake
Tread – again, do you think this is literal, or perhaps like our idea of walking all over someone – “don’t tread on me”
Trample – like tread – to oppress – power over
Those – is actually “because” again, like in v.9
Love – delight, desire, long for
Deliver – bring into safety, bring into security
Protect – to set on high, as in too high for capture
Know my name – suggests a deep relationship! Intimacy.
In Hebrew this verse is structured as: Because he loves me I will deliver; I will protect because he knows my name.
Call – as in cry out
Rescue – remove, draw out, draw away from
Honour – curiously it also means heavy or weighty
Long life – lit. length of days
Satisfy – sated, filled, fulfilled, to have excess
Salvation – interestingly this is the Hebrew word yeshuah (which is Jesus’ name)
An “amulet” psalm – people would write parts of the psalm out and put them in amulets to wear as a kind of protection and reminder of God’s protection
What might have inspired the psalmist to write this?
There’s much hyperbolic language – why?
What does that communicate to us?
Is God a refuge for you? How?
Scholars pair this with Psalm 90 and suggest 91 is the answer to the challenges of 90. Thoughts?
El Shaddai – the root shad can mean both mountain and breast – interesting earthy imagery. Usually translated as God Almighty, but if the feminine breast imagery was used we might say God All-nurturing.
Might that feminine imagery change the way you see the whole psalm?
Summarize this psalm with a few words. (e.g. God cares. While I want no suffering, God will be present when I suffer.)
Read Luke 4:9-11
“The testimony of Psalm 91, then, is not that God’s people are immune to suffering, especially when that suffering comes as a result of folly or sin. Instead, it is that God will not ultimately let suffering or even death separate us from his love and care.”
Who is speaking at the beginning?
Does that change? Where?
What is the effect of that change? (this happens in psalms all the time!)
In v.10 it says no evil or scourge will come – so why are people crying out in v.15?
(1-13 is the confession of faith – 14-16 is God’s promise and reality check)
How do we avoid the bad theology that says “If you have enough faith you’ll never suffer, and God will bless you”?
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