Welcome to another exciting installment of Chocolate Book: Paper Towel Airport Edition. As I write this, I’m in the Fort Lauderdale Airport, and in an hour I’ll be heading to Columbus via a layover in Atlanta. As usual, you will be reading this much, much later in the day than all that. On the menu today is Psalm 101, a Psalm of David–and the first psalm in awhile with the author explicitly stated. Like Psalm 26, one of its major themes is the psalmist’s uprightness. However, Psalm 26 asserts the psalmist’s uprightness as grounds for vindication and protection by God. In contrast, Psalm 101 is more along the lines of, “Hey, God, I’m gonna be a good man because being good matters to me.”
It is with tongue in cheek that I encourage you to extoll my virtues in the caption for today’s photo. After all, this psalm encourages us to praise God, not man, and moreover, it is only five verses long. One square of chocolate is all I need!
This is a weird scenario. It’s 5 AM on Saturday. I haven’t finished this post, and I was planning on waking up in a few hours to put it all together. But my muscles ache from ocean swimming yesterday, and I’m having trouble getting back to sleep while I wait for the Ibuprofen to kick in. So: it’s still dark outside, let’s blog about the Bible.
I guess we’re making a tradition of this: drafting my blogposts on paper towels in airports. It’s currently 1:10 PM, I missed my earlier flight out of Columbus, and my re-scheduled flight doesn’t leave until 4:40. It would be easy to get frustrated with the long wait and this bump in my travel plans, and honestly, I am a little bit frusty. But I’ve got orange dark chocolate, I’ve got an English translation of an ancient Hebrew song about how God is amazing and you should make music for him even if you are geography (vv.7-8), and in a few hours I will be, as Louis CK puts it, sitting on a chair in the sky. So, God is good and life is not so bad.
How many gods are there? Just one. But also several.
Here’s another call to worship, echoing similar themes as yesterday’s psalm. But what caught my eye was how it views “other gods.”
This psalm is a call to worship. In the span of the first two verses, the psalmist uses the phrase “Let us shout joyfully,” with God on the receiving end of the people’s shouts of praise. I was tempted to look up the Hebrew word for “shout,” and perhaps there’s some hidden nuance in the original Hebrew language here. But today I’m gonna take the translator of the NASB at his word. It’s reasonable to expect that “shout” means “shout.” The psalmist is inviting the people to go loud.
Last chapter of Isaiah, fam. Time to tie a bow on this book.
I can’t read the opening verses of this chapter without thinking of the MC Frontalot track “Indier Than Thou,” which precedes each of its verses with spoken lines quoted from Isaiah 65. “I have spread out My hands all the day unto a rebellious people,” intones a booming voice, “who say, ‘Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou!’” (2, 5). God is disgusted by his people’s hypocrisy, as they claim holiness as a sign of social status while ignoring both God and his law. In his song, Frontalot humorously casts himself as a religious devotee of “indieness” in the mode of the Israelites, seeking to garner indie cred through a mixture of obscurity and ignominy. As he puts it: “Should I ever garner triple-digit fans, you can tell me then there’s someone I ain’t indier than” ([*]).
I read an article this morning about the Social Survival Mammoth, which keeps you from doing stuff that will make people kick you out of your tribe and leave you to fend for yourself in the wild where you will probably starve or be eaten by a saber-toothed tiger. It’s largely useless to listen to your Social Survival Mammoth these days, as there is lots of food and the saber-toothed tiger is extinct, but we still do. And I am trying to write this post, wanting to write a good post that you will get something out of, and not wanting to write a bad post that you will ignore and not like and that will cause you to stop following my blog, and that’s my Social Survival Mammoth talking. God does not have a Social Survival Mammoth.