Truth is so counter cyclical. Indeed, it has no cycle, it just sits there being true.
Life has ups and downs that make the truth sometimes appear ridiculous. Utterly implausible.
Then it will appear to have extraordinary prescience, like prophesy. But the truth never changed, just the circumstances of our time-bound existence did.
This psalm starts on a high, beautifully extolling God’s extraordinary power, greatness and goodness.
It’s by Ethan, one of King David’s best musicians. A tough gig, as David himself was no slouch in that department. He’s probably the Ethan mentioned as David dances the ark into Jerusalem, a day certainly capable of inspiring this eloquence.
The psalm then talks about David’s special place in the plans of God. His throne will last forever, like the moon. God has uniquely blessed him, anointed him, made promises to him and given him extraordinary success that displays God’s might and favour.
Oh and by the way, the last third of the psalm reports, everything has completely gone to shit.
David’s sons have rebelled and blown it, foreign powers are picking us off, David may still technically be king, but he’s is somewhere on the run. Strongholds are in ruins, the crown has been put to shame, trodden in the dirt.
‘How long’, he pleads, like Psalm 40. What does it all mean, why do I have to give my precious years on earth to this futility!
Then slapped onto the end of the psalm with little ado, ‘praise be to God!’. It’s a praise psalm? What is this?
The tragectory is similar to the last, painfully sad Psalm, 88. A bit of light, descending to bleakness.
It’s not your usual narrative arc. You wouldn’t even call them tragedies, because In both there is a strong sense of faith. Here, the misery is wrapped both ends in praise.
They aren’t tragedies because regardless of how bad things seems here in this space and time, the truth of God’s power, his might, his all encompassing love, will stand forever. The truth seemed ridiculous when the psalm was written, but it wasn’t.
And don’t we know it now that Jesus is on the throne of David.
And the western church is on the nose. Sigh.
That endeth book 3 of Psalms, a collection with lots of judgement and not many unalloyed joy psalms. I’ve really valued thinking about judgement, time and eternity. Our last with God, the bigness and intimacy of God.
I’m thinking Proverbs next. Will I ever emerge from the old testament! But I really want to finish the wisdom books. And I’m getting to some of the best… Song of songs and Ecclesiastes, what gems!
I’m also thinking in life, read the new testament twice or even three times as often as you read the old testament, because with O.T. being 2x or so longer than new, it’ll mean your life is equally devoted to each. The maths could be more precise, but the principle is strong, I think.