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Sunday, July 12, 2015


If you are like most believers you spend most of your time in the New Testament with side excursions into Psalms.  Most of that NT time is probably in Paul’s letters.  Interestingly, Paul initially only had the Old Testament with which to work.  This afternoon while on one of the Psalm excursions, specifically in Psalm 119.  I saw some themes that seem to have informed some of Paul’s thoughts.

Look at verse 25.  David says that his soul cleaves to the dust.  The idea behind the Hebrew, דָּבַק (dabaq) …well you can get a sense of the strength of this word by how it is variously translated (the number of times the word is translated this way in the NASB): cleaves(4), cling(14), clings(3), closely pursued(1), closer(1), clung(4), deeply attracted(1), fasten its grip(1), follow closely(1), held fast(1), hold(2), hold fast(2), holding fast(1), joined(2), joined together(1), overtake(1), overtook(5), pursued him closely(1), pursued them closely(1), remained steadfast(1), stay(1), stay close(1), stayed close(1), stick(1), stick together(1), stuck(2).

Reading that list kind of makes one feel like Brer Rabbit stuck to the tar baby.  David felt that way, stuck to the dust, the world, the daily junk – stuck not just with his fist, but his soul.  You ever felt that way?  I have.

How do we get out of that?  Brer Rabbit could not get himself unstuck from the tar baby, neither could David nor we get our souls unstuck from the dust.  Look at what David asks the Lord to do to get him unstuck, focus on the verbs:
Verse Verb
26 Teach
27 Make me understand
28 Strengthen me
29 Remove

Note what is involved in each request:
Verse Means of getting unstuck
26 statutes
27 precepts
28 word
29 law

David knew that the only way to get his soul out of his “tar baby” was for the Lord to do it through His Word.

Paul seems to pick this up and expand it in Romans 7 and 8.
Wonder where he got that idea.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps we're not supposed to be surprised. The writer to the Hebrews wrote, "The Word of God is living and active." (Hebrews 4:12) My understanding is that he wouldn't have had much more to work with in his Bible than the Apostle Paul did.

    I personally have been deeply challenged, rebuked and encouraged by working through several Old Testament books, mainly the prophets. Sometimes I thought I was reading our local newspaper.

    How much poorer I would be without these words from the eternally living God who means what He says and doesn't change. "Old" and "New" are mainly our designations, I think.