Thursday, December 1, 2016

Psalm 120 - The "Other" We Disdain Might Just Turn Out To Be Us

120 When I was in trouble, I called to the Lord,
    and he answered me.
2 Save me, Lord,
    from liars and deceivers.
3 You liars, what will God do to you?
    How will he punish you?
4 With a soldier's sharp arrows,
    with red-hot coals!
5 Living among you is as bad as living in Meshech
    or among the people of Kedar.*
6 I have lived too long
    with people who hate peace!
7 When I speak of peace,
    they are for war.

*  The note in the text says that these were two distant regions where the people were held to be savages.   You can choose any of those that apply, I guess. Some state you hold to be especially barbarous, if you live in the United States, perhaps the United States if you live somewhere it is considered a savage and ignorant country.  I'd agree with you, only you might want to think about the civilized locus you love to believe you live in as one, too.   

A short way of saying this Psalm is you'd better be careful because the savage other you set up to disdain just might turn out to be you. 

In the months I've been reading these Hebrew scriptures more closely the more enormous the lie so often repeated that religion has no practice of self-criticism is obvious.   I'm surprised more of those who claim to be zealous for the scriptures don't follow that example in their own lives and in their own society.  

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