Tuesday, January 31, 2012

150 Days fo Psalms - Psalm 31

To focus on just one verse and develop your theology from one verse is not very wise. Not that scripture contradicts itself, but simply because one verse needs to be interpreted in light of all scripture so you get a full view of what God is saying.
Perhaps you have guessed that even with that in mind I am going to look at just one verse: Verse 3.
Here is Psalm 31:3 in a few translations:
NASB For Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me.
NIV for the sake of your name lead and guide me
HCSB You lead and guide me because of Your name.
I get two different - but in a way similar - ideas or meanings from this verse.

Someone has probably mentioned to you before that in biblical days - and for that matter even in modern history until perhaps just a few years ago - when you talked about someone's name you were talking about his character or who he is as a person, what he represents, etc. With that in mind, I get the idea that God rescues the righteous to show the world that He is a God who can be trusted and who is a refuge and a fortress for His righteous ones and that He leads and guides those who call on His name. His care is a witness to the unbelievers to show them His character.

The other way to look at this is similar yet different enough to mention. You can see this verse saying that God leads, guides, protects, etc. but it's to honor His promise to the righteous. His name in this sense is like His guarantee.

I think both ways of looking at this are correct. You see the same ideas in verse 19. He has stored up goodness for those who fear Him, and He bestows these blessings in the sight of men. So again it is as a witness to the world and as a kept promise.

Because of these truths we can be strong and our hearts can take courage as we wait on the Lord.
That's just pretty awesome stuff! I'm sure you thought of verses in the New Testament and other verses - perhaps from Psalms even - that support these ideas. I wasn't really trying to develop theology from one verse. :-)

1 comment:

Phyllis Hobson said...

I like how this Psalm is subtitled (in the NASB) "A Psalm of Complaint and of Praise." God is okay with my whining, but I need to realize the "big picture" that God has to know that everything is working to His good.

I also like the analogy to God being our Rock. So often in the Bible we see people taking safety in caves (which I picture being in rock), and when I read of God being my rock and fortress, I think of the protection He provides.

You're right in that you can't pull verses out of context, but sometimes I'll read a verse or two and it can be so applicable to something I've gone through, and I find comfort in the knowledge that God provided that verse for me at that time. In this Psalm, when I read in verses 11-12 "And an object of dread to my acquaintances; Those who see me in the street flee from me. I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel" it brought to mind a time when I felt very forgotten and alone. It is good, on this "other side" of that situation, that God is always with me.