Season After Pentecost: The Psalms Passage – The psalmist takes up a cause

Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.” (Psalms 14:1)

Psalms of lament, or venting?

The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.
They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.” (Verses 2 – 3)

It is interesting to me that the psalmist does not count himself among those he/the Lord sees. Does this mean not even the psalmist does good, or the Lord does not see it as good, or . . . the psalmist has, on the Lord’s behalf, taken some poetic license?

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon the Lord?
There they shall be in great terror, for God is with the company of the righteous.” (Verses 4 – 5)

Ah, poetic license it is. I should have known. I have to remind myself often, beloved reader, that psalmist is at a heart a poet and metes out theology and faith as a poet would and necessarily as a seminarian or theologian would. And if the Lord is looking out over the Lord, the Lord is seeing past where the chosen and called people are and looking out over the wider world.

You would confound the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.
O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.” (Verses 6 – 7)

And in this instance the called and chosen people are the poor and the righteous. It is against them that wickedness has been used and applied. But the Lord will rescue and heal the called and chosen people.

It is indeed a psalm of lament, and venting. It is good that these psalms exist. And it is good that people who are pressed and oppressed use them to renew their hope and courage, and reaffirm their faith in a Lord who has not deserted them but will seek and reek vengeance on their behalf.

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About Carole Boshart

I have two blogs on WordPress. "A Simple Desire" which is based on the daily "Sips of Scripture" published and sent out by Third Way Cafe. "Pondering From the Pacific" is based on my reflections on the world - sometimes religious/spiritual, and sometimes not so much.

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