Morning prayer

Ps 85:8

I will listen to what the LORD God is saying,
for he is speaking peace to his faithful people
and to those who turn their hearts to him.

Lord, I would like to listen to you, and hear this peace you are speaking, if indeed you count me among the faithful. That last bit, about the faithful, those who turn their hearts to you, sounds faintly ominous to me, an immovable obstacle for those who are not faithful, who may have not heard or understood about you, who may be, as we all allegedly are, too far depraved to turn to you without your intervention, and what if you do not intervene for everyone?

Ps 87:3

I count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me;
behold Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia:
in Zion were they born.

There seem to be different strands in the Bible, some emphasizing one thing, some seeing the future one way, some understanding God’s purposes that way, and so on. One strand sees God blessing the whole world — the seed of Adam and Eve will crush the serpent, all the world will be blessed through Abraham’s seed, the Gentiles will be brought in to Zion, grafted into the spiritual Israel of God’s people — some from every tongue, tribe, and nation will be gathered in to the kingdom of (or and) priests God has formed for himself. This strand runs from Genesis through Revelation.

Exodus 3:8

…I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites…

Ham, one of Noah’s sons and the father of Canaan, is cursed for looking at his father’s nakedness when Noah was drunk in his tent. And so begins the strand that condemns Canaan and provides for Israel to uproot him and his descendants, to utterly destroy as much of him as they can, and to make the rest servants. Did Canaan deserve to be cursed for his father’s sin? Another strand speaks of how each person should only be punished for his own sin. And were the Canaanites, as I asked the other day, really so much worse sinners than anyone else that God should order their genocide — or should we all be subject to such destruction if it weren’t for God’s mercy, in which case why could he not be merciful to all? Or do we learn more about ANE culture from the stories of the conquest of Canaan, than we learn about God as he really is? What was God’s true intention for Israel and Canaan — could it have happened any other way — could they have been good neighbors without the dangerous encroachment of false gods and idolatry and immorality — could they have heard the Gospel and been saved and grafted in right at the beginning?

{ETA: in the next day’s OT passage, Joshua 1:1-9, the territory promised to Israel is described as stretching from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean. Wow — I hadn’t realized it was supposed to be that big.}

Isaiah 55:10-11

For as rain and snow fall from the heavens *
and return not again, but water the earth,

Bringing forth life and giving growth, *
seed for sowing and bread for eating,

So is my word that goes forth from my mouth; *
it will not return to me empty;

Lord, let us hear this word, and discern it among all the other words, and thank you for all the ways you have spoken clearly and / or given understanding, but why didn’t you make your Bible without any problems at all?

John 14:8-9

Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”?

How did Philip feel to hear these words? “Oh no, what’s wrong with me? Jesus thinks this is something I should already know, and I don’t get it, and I’m ashamed, and now how can I say anything else? I shouldn’t have asked such a dumb question…”

Suffrages (this bit is from Ps 67:2)

Let your way be known upon earth;

Your saving health among all nations.

The phrase “saving health” is odd to me — other translations just say “salvation.” What additional nuances do we get from “saving health”? Is this translation favored because “salvation” is too fundamentalist or evangelical a term these days?


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