Thursday, January 11, 2018

Comment on a Psalm

This Psalm is obviously a psalm of praise. The beginning is especially clear about that. The psalmist praises God for what He has done, His 'deeds'. Our translation uses the word 'awesome' to describe these deeds.  Some translations have 'awe-inspiring'. The Hebrew word here is actually based on the verb 'to fear'. Maybe we can use this word: 'terrifying'. I suspect that this is the sense of the KJV's 'terrible' in this verse. When a person sees the things that God does, His deeds, it simply overwhelms. To be in the presence of such activity makes clear that this God really isn't like us. It can be quite terrifying.

The psalmist notes that God's enemies who saw Him in action understand this quite well. They cringe.

But the psalmist also knew that God uses His terrifying power for good, the good of His covenant people. He saw it in his own life.
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. Psalms 66.16
And this is why his praises flowed.