Psalms of Praise & Power

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Translated from the Greek Old Testament

In John Howard Reid’s, Bible Wisdom: Psalms of Praise & Power. In reading the Psalm of Solomon 50 (51) Repentance tells us “You shall wash me and I shall be made white as snow, You shall cause my ears to hear gladness and joy. And even my age-afflicted old bones shall rejoice.”

Evil-doers are conscious of their sins but do not readily accept positive tweaking; yet even those conceived in evil can turn to their God for forgiveness.

Unfortunately, instead they delight in attacking do-gooders and those in authority. They are angry, alone and disconnected from their God and their true purpose in life.

I have to admit I am not a Bible scholar myself like this author; so I’m just going to say a little about what I perceive lurking behind the scriptured poems. Many of our thoughts have turned lately to the killings and maiming of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford in Tucson.

This and other crimes against humanity have left us a nation in mourning and wondering who to blame? Should we blame the establishment for failing to provide and constrain adequately the mentally unstable? Should we blame the media and/or all the political rhetoric of those who target opponents with vicious “bulleyes” and phrases like “lock and load.” Do we blame those who makes guns available to just anyone? Who do we blame?

I’m gladly reviewing this book this week when our nation is in crisis. For each selected Psalm in this book I found there is rendered both a literal translation and a more poetic paraphrase that comforted me. The first thing I noticed was its simplicity in language and form. There are 286 pages of goodness and fine photography.

The poem, Love as High as the Heavens, we are introduced to `an evil man.’
An evil man is never tempted to do good.
His constant hideous wish is to promote evil.
Deep in his heart, he thinks so highly of
himself…Who wants to do good?
Transgression and deceit are always on my lips.
I devise all sorts of wickedness while I lie…
I love iniquity, I’m free to surrender to every desire…”

Few of us are socially free to surrender to every desire because most of us understand consequence.

The poem, Help!, introduces us to the pain and loneliness of not being like everybody else, maybe, because of physical or mental disease, depression and/or simple-mindedness or low self-esteem.

“Pity me, Lord God, for I’m in trouble:
My eyes are afflicted,
My belly trembles with fear,
And my soul is suffused with sorrow.
My life is spent with grief
And my years carry a burden of groans,
My strength has been sapped away by anxiety
And my bones are wasted with worry.
All my enemies have a grand time
Poking fun at me, and even my neighbors
treat me with scorn
My acquaintances take to their heels as
soon as they see me in the street,
they don’t wish to be caught anywhere near
A man marked with death.

Three of my favorite lines are:
I am already dead to those who know me – –
I couldn’t be more completely forgotten
A man marked with death

by Joyce White – Sculpting the Heart Book Reviews

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