“Let the Words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, Oh Lord, My Strength and my Redeemer”
What do those underlined words mean?
In our culture we don’t understand some of the words or concepts which appear in the Bible. I guess we do that a lot in reading Scripture and complain that we “don’t understand. When we’ve hardly given thought to the idea. Much less made an effort to comprehend. In this current instance, we can’t really identify with the idea of anyone having absolute authority over any other. We don’t have “Lords, or Kings” who have the “divine right” to do as they please toward their subjects. None of us is required or willing to give absolute, unquestioning allegiance to a mortal.
That was not the case in the ancient Middle East. Kings and Lords had complete control and demanded unconditional obedience. Slaves were the property of their Masters. Importance was attached to words and ideas that we do not really, immediately comprehend here so far removed from their mindset. “Lord,” “Strength,” and my “Redeemer” had special significance. One of the words used for God was “Yahweh.” They attached such importance that ancient Hebrews wouldn’t even say the word out loud. Scholars who’ve studied the language aren’t even certain they spelled the word out completely. It’s roughly the equivalent of the word we pronounce: “Jehovah.” And that’s another study!
Each of these words or ideas we’ve been considering (Lord, Strength, Redeemer) deserves thought. I’m not even sure we have words in our language to express their meaning adequately. Chairman of the Board, President, and C.E.O. None of those “titles” carries the weight in the modern mind that “Lord, Strength, and Redeemer” suggested to the people there and then. President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Prime Minister, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. . . none of those familiar, powerful words we use easily in our lives today comes even close to the ideas expressed in Scripture. Do you see what the point I’m trying ot make?
The questions I’m trying to answer now. . . and with which I’d like to ask your help. . . are these: (1.) What did they (Lord, Strength, Redeemer) mean to the Psalmist when he prayed this prayer? And (2.) What words or ideas do we have which come even close to capturing the meaning suggested here? It has seemed to me to be important to try to understand: to whom is it that the person thinks he’s praying? This is not a soliloquy we’ve been discussing. The psalmist is not out throwing words at the wind. He’s addressing someone. WHO IS IT?
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A parting note: My wife, Linda, and my daughter, Kelli, were the ones who suggested my doing this blog and they’ve shared ideas and encouragement about how to improve the site. Kelli also suggested that you be invited to ask questions or make suggestions about texts or ideas you’d like to have considered. I’ve appreciated what you’ve said online, on my email, and when some of us have spoken personally. But I also want your thoughts on what we are discussing. . . even before you think about what I think.
So, you are invited! Warmly welcomed! As well as your friends who are interested in a devotional approach to Bible study. What you say will always be respected, and you can certainly take your own time as you study and think. No clock is running. No tests are coming. No one is making any demands or holding unreasonable expections. Take your own time. Study at your own pace. But, please THINK. Once more for emphasis: YOU ARE INVITED TO VISIT, AND TO PARTICIPATE. My contact information is included. Please keep in mind that I’m concentrating on Scripture that offers hope and encouragement. You can find a lot of other things in a lot of other places. Here, I am determined to offer positive, hopeful, helpful, constructive comments. Always.
A servant, Don