Merciful God (Wis 15:1-15:3)

“But you!

Our God!

You are kind.

You are true.

You are patient.

You rule all things in mercy.

Even if we sin,

We are yours.

We know your power.

But we will not sin.

Because we know

That you acknowledge us as yours.

To know you

Is complete righteousness.

To know your power

Is the root of immortality.”

This author makes a direct appeal to God (ὁ Θεὸς) who is kind (χρηστὸς), true (ἀληθής), and patient (μακρόθυμος). They knew he was merciful (ἐν ἐλέε). Even if they sinned (ἁμάρτωμεν), they knew that they were still his. Knowing God made them righteous (δικαιοσύνη), he gave them the possibility of immortality (ἀθανασίας).

A prayer to Yahweh (Ps 141:1-141:2)

A psalm of David

“I call upon you!

Yahweh!

Come quickly to me!

Give ear to my voice

When I call to you!

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you!

I lift up my hands as an evening sacrifice!”

Psalm 141 is a psalm of David as indicated in the title. Once again this is a direct appeal to Yahweh, asking for help to defeat his enemies. David called upon Yahweh to hurry up and hear his voice. He wanted his prayer to be like that of incense at the evening prayer with his lifted hands. This thus assumes a fixed liturgical worship service.

The final plea to Yahweh (Ps 88:13-88:18)

“I cry out to you!

Yahweh!

In the morning

My prayer comes before you.

Yahweh!

Why do you cast me off?

Why do you hide your face from me?

Wretched and close to death from my youth on,

I suffer your terrors.

I am desperate.

Your wrath has swept over me.

Your dread assaults destroy me.

They surround me

Like a flood

All day long.

From all sides,

They close in on me.

You have caused friends

To shun me.

You have caused neighbors

To shun me.  

My companions are in darkness.”

Just like Job, the psalmist remains faithful despite all his sufferings. Thus this psalm ends with a direct appeal to Yahweh, over and over again. He cried out in the morning to God. Why was he cast off? Why couldn’t he see the face of God? He believed that his physical suffering was related to his spiritual sufferings. His whole life he has been close to death with his physical afflictions. He felt like he was surrounded with waves of water all around him. More than that was the fact that his friends and neighbors were now shunning him. The only friend that he had left was darkness itself. Wow! This is a dreary bleak psalm of agony.

Yahweh is our shield (Ps 33:20-33:22)

“Our soul waits for Yahweh.

He is our help.

He is our shield.

Our heart is glad in him,

Because we trust in his holy name.

Let your steadfast love!

Yahweh!

Be upon us!

Even as we hope in you.”

Now we are back to the first person plural possessive, “our.” Our heart and soul seeks Yahweh as a help, a shield, as someone our heart is glad over. We trust in his holy name. The conclusion of this psalm is a direct appeal to Yahweh. Let your love be upon us as we hope in you. Thus we conclude this beautiful Temple psalm to Yahweh the creator.