Sunday, January 25, 2015

Psalms 11 and 12; "I will now rise up” says the Lord!

Psalms 11

1 For the end, for the eighth, A psalm by David

2 Save me, O Lord, because a pious one has failed.
Because the truths from the sons of men have decreased.
3 Each one spoke vain things to his neighbor, 
Deceitful lips are by the heart and they spoke by the heart.
4 May the Lord completely destroy all the deceitful lips
and boastful tongues, 
5 Who said, “We will make our tongues great, 
Our lips are ours, 
Who is our lord?”
6 “From the misery of the poor, 
and from the groaning of the needy, 
I will now rise up” says the Lord, 
“I will appoint myself in salvation, I will speak boldly in it.”
7 The sayings of the Lord are pure, 
Silver refined by fire in the ground without alloy,
having been cleansed sevenfold.
8 You, O Lord, will guard us, 
and will keep us from this generation and forever.
9 The ungodly wonder around in a circle;
According to your height, you care greatly for the sons of men.


Psalms 12

1 For the end, A psalm by David

2 How long, O Lord, will you utterly forget me?
How long will you turn your face away from me?
3 How long will I place motives in my soul, 
and miseries in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be lifted up over me?
4 Look on me, listen to me, O Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, lest I will sleep unto death, 
5 Lest my enemy say, “I prevailed against him.”
Those who oppress me will rejoice, if I’m shaken.
6 But I hoped in your mercy, 
My heart will rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord who shows kindness to me, 
and I will sing a psalm to the name of the most high Lord.


Over the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring the Greek Psalms that are headed by Εἰς τὸ τέλος (for the end) to see just how eschatological they were to the eyes of the New Testament authors and the our early christian brothers and sisters.  Let’s see if these two fit the bill so to speak.

Psalms 11 seems to be a prayer of a person who is devoted to God, but has succumbed in some way to the deceits of people who have persuaded the Psalmist to stray from the ways of the Lord.  But this prayer is not as much asking for forgiveness as it is asking for God to destroy all of these deceitful people who are deceiving the Lord’s people.

The Psalmist contrasts what the deceivers “sayings” are compared to the Lord’s “sayings”.  The deceivers speak deceit from the heart, but the Lord’s sayings are pure.  The deceivers say their tongues are great, but the Lord’s sayings are like silver.  The deceivers say they are their own masters over what they say and they have no lord over them.  But the Lord’s sayings will prevail because they have been refined in fire sevenfold.

That gets us to our main passage in this Psalm which is verse 6.  There we have the Lord himself speaking:

6 “From the misery of the poor, 
and from the groaning of the needy, 
I will now rise up” says the Lord, 
“I will appoint myself in salvation, I will speak boldly in it.”

What should be noted at first is that the Psalmist makes clear before now that the “deceivers” are the ones who are causing the the poor to be miserable and the needy to groan or sigh.  But what will the Lord do?  He will “now rise up”.  The verb here is ἀναστήσομαι, the future middle indicative of ἀνίστημι which is used much in the New Testament as “to resurrect”.  The nuance of the middle voice in Greek suggests that the person who is performing the action of the verb is doing it “for himself” or “to himself”, although not all verbs are like this.  If that is the intention here, then the Lord “will rise up by himself”.  That nuance is also found in the very next middle voiced verb τίθημι (I will appoint myself).

What could that mean to the the New Testament authors?  How could they have seen this verse?  How about like this: 

6 “From the misery of the poor, 
and from the groaning of the needy, 
I will now resurrect myself” says the Lord, 
“I will appoint myself in salvation, I will speak boldly in it.”

If the New Testament authors and early christians saw this verse in this way, you can see how powerful it was for them and for us!

This verse in this Psalm represents the “sayings” of the Lord that are pure as the finest refined silver what has been refined sevenfold.  We know that “seven” represents “completeness” in the New Testament, especially in Revelation.

And the Lord will guard and keep us, from the current generation we live in now and all future generations.  The ungodly are going nowhere fast as they “wonder in a circle”, but the Lord cares for his people and will deliver them.

Psalm 12 is a prayer to God for deliverance from a person’s own doing and from the doing of his enemy who possibly has influenced him in the wrong way.

In the opening verse, we see Ἕως πότε (How long?) which reminds me of Revelation 6:10 when the martyrs cry out:

…”How long (ἕως πότε), O Master, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood from those who dwell on the earth?”

The enemies are prevailing!  They think they have won!  But no!  The Psalmist has hoped in the Lord and the Lord will renew his spirit which is probably what the idiomatic saying (Give light to my eyes, lest I will sleep unto death) means.

The Lord will deliver!  As a result of the absolute future action by the Lord, the Psalmist will sing to the Lord and sing a psalm to his name!

Can you feel it?  Can you see it like our earliest christian brothers and sister could see it?  

You can see how this could have been seen as eschatological to the first century christians.

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