Paul really likes his metaphors. In this chapter, he’s hardly introduced one metaphor when he moves on to another: a metaphor-shark swimming in the stream of consciousness, never stopping. He’s got three metaphors here: a letter of commendation, the stone tablets of the old Law, and Moses’ veil.
Each weekday, I try to get into the day’s passage, dig something up and bring it back out for you. I’m having a hard time of it today. But that’s on me, not on the passage. Paul’s talking about Moses and the Exodus and the Israelites’ wilderness wanderings as a metaphorical lesson for the Corinthian church, and he’s back on the idolatry thing, this time saying that meat sacrificed to idols is actually sacrificed in the service of demons. There’s no shortage of stuff to dig into here. But it’s easier to watch some dude speedrun all of Super Mario All-Stars on Youtube than to get out the exegetical shovel and figure out what Paul’s trying to get across here.
Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint Today’s Passage: Psalm 133 I’m a messy person, but not a dirty one. You’ll find my workspaces littered with scrap paper, post-it notes and assorted office supplies, but every surface and pile will be clean, free of anything “gross.” I’ve never liked messy activities, even as a kid shying away […]
Sometimes the psalm summarizes itself for you. Consider the opening lines of today’s psalm: “How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments!” (112:1). The rest of the psalm is basically a litany of blessings for the man who fears the Lord. He receives a well-established family tree, material wealth, a good legacy, victory over his adversaries, and more. But let’s zero in on a verse in the middle of the psalm, characterizing this man of many blessings. The man is merciful–and a creditor.
We’re in Big Psalm Territory now, and today’s forty-eight-verse song concerns God’s goodness to his rebellious children. I’m reminded of one day from my Modernist Literature class in college when we had been discussing religious themes in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. At the end of the class, the professor tangentially noted that the Old Testament often is uncomplimentary toward its “heroes,” reporting their faults and shortcomings rather than building them up as larger-than-life figures of greatness. You’ll find this phenomenon in the narratives of the Torah, but you’ll also find it in this psalm.
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.
In today’s chapter, encouragement for Israel continues. Isaiah’s got some hope to deliver to his countrymen.