From Jordan Lavender
Looking at the lectionary readings for today, I wondered how to read the praise of God and God’s works and the descriptions of the confidence of the righteous person in God in Psalms 111 and 112 in light of Paul’s praise of and confidence in God in 2nd Corinthians. This is especially relevant during Eastertide, when we are focused on celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and its consequences for our hope in God.
When we read these psalmists’ praise of God’s character and God’s care for the righteous, how are we to think of the psalmist’s words? Are they descriptions of the faithfulness of God, and to whom God promises that faithfulness, that apply most fully to the resurrection of Jesus? Are they an expression of personal hope that makes sense only in light of God’s resurrection of Jesus?
Perhaps we can read these psalms in both ways. Paul says that he hopes in “God who raises the dead” (2nd Corinthians 1:9). Perhaps it’s possible to read these psalms as descriptions of God’s faithfulness that describe most fully the resurrection of Jesus:
Great are the works of the LORD,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever. (Psalm 111: 2-5)
Not only does the account of God’s faithfulness remembering his covenant in Psalm 111 describe the Resurrection, but the description of the recipient of this faithfulness in Psalm 112 describes Jesus:
For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever;
his horn is exalted in honor. (Psalm 112: 6-9).
In the reading from 2nd Corinthians, Paul says that he trusts in God who “delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” (2nd Corinthians 10). And we can also read these psalms as expressing the hope of a Christian trusting in the resurrection of Jesus. Paul trusts that because God raised Jesus “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright” (Psalm 112: 4). And it is because of the Resurrection that Christians believe God
. . . provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations. (Psalm 111: 5-6)
I am a graduate student studying philosophy and live in Brighton. I enjoy conversations over coffee and pickup sports of all kinds.