The final praise of God (Dan 4:37-4:37)

“Now I,

King Nebuchadnezzar,

Praise

The king of heaven!

I extol

The king of heaven!

I honor

The king of heaven!

All his works

Are true!

His ways

Are justice!

He is able to

Bring low

Those who walk

In pride.”

The king continued, in the first-person singular, to praise, extol, and honor the king of heaven. All God’s works are true. All his ways are just. God is able to bring low those who walk in pride. The king was referring to himself and his new-found God.

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The anointed king (Lam 4:20-4:20)

Resh

“Yahweh’s anointed,

The breath

Of our life,

Was taken

In their pits.

This is the one

Of whom

We said.

‘Under his shadow

We shall live

Among the nations.’”

Using the first personal plural, they extol Yahweh’s anointed one, the king of Judah, King Zedekiah. He was the breath of their life, but he fell into a pit and was captured. They had agreed to live under his shadow, but now he was no more. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Resh in this acrostic poem.

Praise for the Divine presence (Sir 43:27-43:33)

“We could say more.

But we could never say enough.

Let the final word be.

‘He is the all.’

Where can we find the strength

To praise him?

He is greater

Than all his works.

Awesome is the Lord.

He is very great.

His power is marvelous.

Glorify the Lord!

Exalt him as much as you can!

He surpasses even that.

When you exalt him,

Summon all your strength.

Do not grow weary!

You cannot praise him enough.

Who has seen him?

Who can describe him?

Who can extol him as he is?

Many things greater

Than these lie hidden.

I have seen

But a few of his works.

The Lord has made all things.

To the godly,

He has given wisdom.”

Sirach assumes the first person plural saying that he or we could say more, but it would never be enough. In fact, Sirach is very close to a pantheistic view when he maintains that the Lord is all things. However, he quickly corrects himself when he says that the Lord is greater than all his works, separating him from his creation. The Lord is awesome, very great, marvelous, and powerful. Where do we get the strength to praise the Lord? We should glorify him and exalt him as much as we can. We should not grow weary because we can never praise God enough. Nobody has seen him or described him. How can we extol him enough? Sirach has related what he has seen, but there are many more hidden things about the Lord, since he is the creator of all things. Luckily, he has given wisdom to the godly, so that they will experience a few of these marvels of the Lord.

Yahweh is great (Ps 145:1-145:3)

A song of praise of David

Aleph

“I will extol you!

My God!

My king!

Bless your name forever and ever!

Bet

Every day,

I will bless you!

I will praise your name forever and ever!

Gimel

Great is Yahweh!

He is greatly to be praised.

His greatness is unsearchable!”

Psalm 145 is an acrostic or Hebrew alphabet praise psalm of David about the God of Israel. David would extol God as his king. He would bless his name forever. Every day he blessed and praised his name. Yahweh was great with an unsearchable greatness. The first 3 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are found here in italic.

Yahweh answers (Ps 99:8-99:9)

“Yahweh!

Our God!

You answered them.

You were a forgiving God to them.

But you were an avenger of their wrongdoings.

Extol Yahweh!

Our God!

Worship at his holy mountain!

Yahweh!

Our God is holy!”

This psalm ends with the consolation that Yahweh answered their ancestors. He was forgiving to them although he was an avenger of their wrongdoings. Therefore they should extol Yahweh. They should then worship him at his holy mountain where Yahweh, their God is holy.

The hymn to the divine power over the climate (Job 36:24-36:37)

“Remember to extol his work!

Men have sung to his work.

All people have looked on it.

Everyone watches it from far away.

Surely God is great!

We do not know him.

The number of his years is unsearchable.

He draws up the drops of water.

He distils his mist in rain.

The skies pour down rain.

Rain drops upon mortals abundantly.

Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds?

Can anyone understand the thundering of his pavilion?

See!

He scatters his lightning around him.

He covers the roots of the sea.

For by these he judges peoples.

He gives food in abundance.

He covers his hands with the lightning.

He commands it to strike the mark.

Its crashing tells about him.

He is jealous with anger against iniquity.”

Elihu wanted Job to understand and extol the power of God over the climate we live in. Interesting enough I began working on this the day that Pope Francis I issued his encyclical on the climate “Laudato Si.” Yet here, Elihu in his hymn clearly sees God as the controller of the climate. God controls the rain, so that quite often we pray to God for more or less rain. This is especially true in strong farming communities. They also pray for good harvests from the land. We have seen both drought and over flooding this year in the USA. God has control over thunder and lightning as well as the seas.   God is jealous and angry against the wicked. Perhaps we do not pray to God enough about the climate. Just as we have moved from the poetic flat world concept of sunrise and sunset to the earth moving around the sun, so too we might see climate as not the poetic unique concern of God alone, but see the impact of human actions on the climate also.