Zechariah 2 – The Firewall

Let’s talk about Axiom Verge again. Axiom Verge is a retro action-adventure computer game, and one of its weapons is called the Firewall. It launches a short-range bomb which, on impact, erupts in a vertical pillar of flame. Literalism! It’s a play on words, because computers! But God made the same play on words thousands of years ago, long before digital firewalls were even a thing.

Psalm 124 – Kept From the Jaws

King David led a very different life from mine. He shepherded sheep, killed a nine-foot-tall warrior using just a sling, spent years on the run from the current King of Israel, ascended the throne himself when King Saul died, faced a rebellion by his son Absalom, and somehow in the midst of all that found time to compose a bunch of songs. Me? Well, my biggest worry right now is getting this blog post done. In Psalm 124, David wrote about facing hostile adversaries, but I don’t have any hostile adversaries, so I have to write about David writing about facing hostile adversaries.

Psalm 121 – The Twenty-Four Seven God

As the saying goes, stop me if you’ve heard this one. It’s “I Lift My Eyes Up,” originally written by Brian Doerksen, whose music was a staple of contemporary worship services from the mid-90s to the early 2000s–including those of my high school youth group. I couldn’t find a streamable official recording, so this one’s a live cover from UK-based Vineyard Music. Doerksen drew inspiration from Psalm 121 for “I Lift My Eyes Up;” it recapitulates the first two verses in particular almost word-for-word. But while Doerksen’s song is as much a prayer for aid as an acknowledgement of God’s power to save, Psalm 121 is pure confidence in God’s protection.

Isaiah 41 – Doctor Worm

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.

Isaiah 28 (contd.) – Don’t Trust the Reaper

Okay, let’s get thorough. The prophecy of Ephraim’s captivity in Isaiah 28, which we looked at yesterday, isn’t merely about drunkenness, and it’s intended as a warning for the kingdom of Judah. Isaiah addresses the second half of his message to the “scoffers who rule this people who are in Jerusalem” (28:14). The head is rotten and the leadership is subject to judgment.

Psalm 72 – The King Goes to Bat

What makes a good king? It’s a question that we, in the largely king-free modern world, rarely ask ourselves. And many, seeing feudalism and monarchy as outdated, would say that the only good ruler is a deposed ruler whose reign has been supplanted by a democratic system of government. Others would go further in their hatred of monarchy, saying with Denis Diderot that “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” As I’ve noted before, we as a whole are not so fond of kings.

Psalm 61 – Tower God

You know, I could swear David has described God as a tower before. But no: the Hebrew word for “tower,” migdal, only appears twice in the Psalms. We’ve seen it once before in Psalm 48, which says, “Walk about Zion and go around her; count her towers” (48:12). That’s not a metaphor for God! Those are the literal towers of an actual physical location! And Psalm 48 isn’t even by David; it’s a psalm of the sons of Korah! And like me, you might think that the well-known verse “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe” is from the Psalms, but like me, you would be wrong. It’s Proverbs 18:10.

Psalm 36 – God and Evil

What’s the opposite of an evil person? It’s a good person, right? When he’s faced with threats of violence from evil men, we’ve even seen David contrast himself as a righteous man with his wicked, brutal pursuers. His prayers reiterate the theme: “It would be unjust for God to let liars and murderers triumph over a man who has abstained from these things.” But today, David sets up a different contrast. The opposite of an evil person isn’t a good person. The opposite of an evil person is God.