Monday: Psalms 42-43 & Acts 17.22-34

From Ryan Ruffing

Psalm 42 & 43: These psalms were likely a single psalm originally - note the same refrain at 42:11 and 43:5.  The psalmist cries out from a place of desolation and tears.  While the cause of his turmoil is clear - "the oppression of the enemy" (43:2) - the treatment he has received at the hands of unjust and deceitful persons (43:1) - the psalmist, nonetheless, questions his own inner turmoil - "why are you cast down, O my soul?" (42:11, 43:5)  Though his circumstances justify his disquieted inner state - we may say he has a "right" to complain - he states clearly that due to God's goodness and power (42:8), hope is the appropriate inner posture.  He even speaks to his own soul, commanding it to "hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God?" (42:11, 43:5)  We each have inner turmoil, and perhaps we feel we are entitled to it, because of our difficult circumstances.  What does taking a posture of hope mean? 

Acts 17.22-34: Paul shows himself a master of contextualization as he preaches here to the people of Athens.  Before a group of Gentiles he does not make his argument from the Old Testament Scriptures, as he does when speaking before Jews in Acts 12, but rather relies on their cultural context and even quotes from two Greek poets - Epimenides and Arastus (17.28) - in order to bring home the message of God's redemption.  Though preaching in a new way, he stays on message.  There is one God, and He is not worshipped through idolatry (17:29).  In this first exposure to the Christian worldview, Paul chooses to teach from the grounding of the first and second commandments.