Here, at the end of the chapter, is another of Paul’s well-known metaphors, in which the Christian life is represented as a race or athletic contest. It requires discipline and long-term commitment, both training and grit, more than just a quick sinner’s prayer to use as a get-out-of-hell-free card. And I could easily skip right to Paul’s running metaphor and offer a few inspiring words of encouragement–the sort of thing you’ve heard before. But when I look at the metaphor in the context of the whole chapter, I’m faced with a question: why is Paul saying this stuff to the Corinthian church in the first place?
Seriously? In today’s entry, I’m going to end up talking about Axiom Verge? I’m trying to think of anything else the passage brings to mind, any other thoughts whatsoever, and nope: it’s gonna be Axiom Verge. For the uninitiated, Axiom Verge is a retro-style side-scrolling action-adventure game in the vein of Metroid, in which a scientist apparently dies in a lab accident and finds himself in a hostile alien otherworld.
I’m having trouble finding it, but I swear we’ve seen a psalm like this before: written by the king, extolling the king. Psalm 110 is another psalm of David, and the NASB has provided a perfectly serviceable summary: “The Lord Gives Dominion to the King.” It’s also a Messianic Psalm. If you’ve read one of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) or checked out the book of Hebrews, you may recognize a few verses from this psalm that were also quoted by those New Testament writers. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews takes this psalm as referring to the Messiah–and so does Jesus.
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.
Yesterday’s chapter from Isaiah focused on God’s greatness and power. Building on the foundation that God is strong enough to come to his people’s aid, today’s chapter emphasizes that he’s good enough to come to his people’s aid.
Some mentions of the Sabbath in the Bible won’t tell you much of anything about how to keep the Sabbath because they’re too literal. Remember all those times the Sabbath comes up in Acts that we skipped over because it’s just “on the Sabbath this thing happened?” Well, the fourth chapter of Hebrews is almost on the opposite side of the spectrum: you’ll barely find any guidelines or pointers on keeping the Sabbath because the chapter’s so metaphorical. …Or will you?