Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Humble Servant Who Inherits the World

King David wasn't just a king, he was a prophet (Acts 2:30) and in Psalms 1 and 2 prophesied about Messiah as the humble servant who would appear in weakness (Psalm 1) yet who would be raised up to glory (Psalm 2) The two psalms should be taken as a whole (apparently).

Much of the Bible is arranged in chiasms. A chiasm is a literary form (like a limerick or a stanza is). It works like this:

Statement A
  Statement B
    Statement C
      Statement D (The crux of the story - or the tip of the arrow if you like the imagery)
    Statement C developed
  Statement B developed
Statement A developed

I'm not entirely sure if Psalm 1 and 2 are chiastic, they feel like they are, so have had some fun trying to rearrange them to see if they connect together, following this pattern:

Statement D
Statement A
Statement A developed
Statement B
Statement B developed
Statement C
Statement C developed.

Psalm 1 is in blue, psalm 2 in red, apart from statement D in purple:

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed (Christ), saying,
“Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles."

Blessed is the man (Christ) who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditate on his law day and night.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever he does prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. 

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father.
Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

Am I trying too hard? Tell me what you think.


Anonymous said...

I've never heard before that they could be one psalm, where did you hear that one? They seem to fit better in parallel than as a chiasm. Here are the parallels which point me in that direction;

Ps 1:1 "counsel of the wicked"
Ps 2:2 "rulers take counsel together"
Ps 1:1 "sit in the seat of scoffers"
Ps 2:4 "he who sits in the heavens laughs"
Ps 1:2 "delight is in the law of Yahweh"
Ps 2:7 " I will tell of the decree Yahweh said to me"
Ps 1:3 "tree... yields it's fruit in season"
Ps 2:7 "today I have begotten you"
Ps 1:3 "In all that he does he prospers"
Ps 2:8 "I will make the nation's your inheritance"
Ps 1:4 "the wicked... are like chaff that the wind drives away"
Ps 2:9 "you shall break them with a rod of iron"
Ps 1:5 "therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement"
Ps 2:10 "now therefore o kings be wise, be warned o rulers of the earth"
Ps 1:6 "but the way of the wicked will perish"
Ps 2:12 "and you perish in the way"

Richard Walker said...

Mike Reeves - UCCF's theology put me onto it. See his sermon on Psalm 1 from the sermon archive for more info. It is also mentioned in the Wikipedia article on Psalm 1.

I like what you did there with the parallelism... Nice. :-)

Anonymous said...

Ah I see. I suppose given that they don't have titles it would make sense. Regarding the parallels, I particularly like the contrast between the seat of scoffers and the laughter of God seated in heaven. That one made me chuckle!

Mike Bull said...

Richard - here's my take on Psalm 1