Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The owner of righteousness

I was reading through Psalms 5 this morning when I picked up a word parallel from chapter 4 - righteousness. But the word through these two chapters has several layers - ownership and its characteristics. As I was writing and reflecting on the use of the word, it was verse 4:1 that caused this realization of ownership:

hear me when i call, o god of my righteousness! you have relieved me in my distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer. 

God of my righteousness. By stating God is the originator of his (David) righteousness, this whole virtuous state of being begins to make sense throughout the rest of the two chapters. Righteousness on our own is a tough gig. Throughout Christianity's history, saints and authors have written about the context of righteousness and people in general fall into this habit of trying to do righteousness on their own strength and means. Continuing on,  4:5 leads into

offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the lord. 

Sacrifices of righteousness is a new one to me and deserves some contemplation. Is this a sacrifice to obtain righteousness? Are these sacrifices righteous themselves? This sacrifices of righteousness is unclear, but look at the definition of sacrifice: an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. After looking at the definition, the only thing that I can conclude is that there are sacrifices to obtain righteousness. And the first sacrifice I can think of is self. How else do we than trust in God? Slay the self. 

The idea of ownership and the need for God to be owner of it is continued on in verse 5: 8:

lead me, o lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before my face.

The path to God's righteousness is not easy, a tough gig to follow if we do it on our own. David's plea to make the way straight also continues another theme of David's - this constant calling on God. David's perpetual invoking of God's character is a feedback loop. David asks for God's righteousness, and thanks God for His strength and clarity to walk in righteousness. But what is keep to this feedback loop? The constant calling. Verse 5:12 ends with:

for you, o lord, will bless the righteous; with favor you will surround him as with a shield.

David knows the beginning and end of his righteousness, and trusts in the Originator of it, but David is also aware of the weakness of himself, and thus, constantly calls.

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