Lectionary Year B
March 9, 2003
Step IV: Cross-Section
A. Primitive Christianity
(JFC) The early church used Psalms in worship as I Corinthians 14:15 and 26 and
Ephesians 5:19 attest. Much in the New Testament asks for God's teachings of divine ways, the ways of righteousness, justice and loving kindness. In John 16:12ff, Jesus proclaims that God's truth is on its way to His faithful followers. In Matthew 5:44 and Luke 6:32-36, Jesus teaches His followers to love their enemies and to pray for any who persecute them. In John 14:25f, Jesus offers the Holy Spirit to teach the people and to remind them of everything He had said and done while on earth. And in John 16:13, He states, "the Holy Spirit of truth will guide you into all the truth". Although they are trying to trick Jesus, the Pharisees and Herodians acknowledge Jesus to be a teacher of God's truth in Matthew 22:16. According to Bauer's Arndt and Gingrich, we read of sinfulness of youth as acknowledged in I Timothy 4:12, "the young were looked down upon because they were young", and that Ephesians 4:18 and I Peter 1:14 refer to "acting in ignorance (as in Acts 3:17) especially in the religious sense, almost equals sinfulness." In the Acts passage Peter seems to imply that those who crucified Jesus did so ignorantly and are without excuse and need to repent so their sinfulness will be blotted out.
B. Old Testament and Judaism
(JFC) Job 13:26 admits sinfulness in youth. Don't we all? And, in Job 34:27, Elihu accuses Job of adding transgressions/rebellion to his sinfulness. The term, sin, taJ'x;, which begins verse 7 of our text, is found in Judges 20:16 and Proverbs19:2 in the sense of "missing the mark". According to TDOT's article by K. Koch, this term "appears almost exclusively in laments. The singers acknowledge the connection between acts and their consequences in their suffering . . They ask/cry out for forgiveness" in Psalm 25:18 and 32:5, for example. Elsewhere, though, sinfulness is mostly against/turning away from God (Isaiah 58:1, 59:12 and Amos 5:12). More than that, however, God forgives sinfulness (Exodus 34:7, Job 7:21 and I Kings 8:50). Furthermore, God's memory (a relational and personal intellectual awareness of persons and/or events) is recognized a lot in the Old Testament; mostly of people, e.g., of Rachel (Genesis 30:22), of Hannah (I Samuel 1:11 and 19), of Hezekiah (II Kings 20:3 and I Samuel 38:3), of Samson (Judges 16:28), of Jeremiah (15:15) and of the afflicted (Lamentations 3:19). God remembers not sinfulness in Isaiah 43:25 and Jeremiah 31:34 and 44:21, rather remembers people, as here and Psalm 115:12. The Psalmist gets shown right ways to go on through life, in verses 4 and 8 in our text at hand and ten more times in this Psalm and Exodus 33:13, where blessings result from such learnings, obedience and following. God's ways are exemplified in such places as Psalms 23:2 (!), 32:8, 48:14 (even into death!) and 73:24, as well as in Isaiah 42:16 (through uncertainties), to cite a few.
C. Hellenistic World
(JFC) These philosophers might appreciate the reference to the soul's being lifted up,
since they disparage the body as over against the much better part of life, the soul. They would also resonate with the request for learnings. And, they would try to be patient with anyone with whom they had differences, trying not to get angry with and trying to love their enemies. Furthermore, they would like God's forgetting their sinfulness, too. Also, they would want God to remember them rather than their sinfulness. Supposedly they could allow God to teach the humble, from whom they might have considered themselves different if they were honestly reflecting on their life-styles in those days. Keeping God's covenants and decrees would be their goals, too, it seems from their writings.
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