Friday, 11 November 2016
Psalm 125 - God has called us into straight places
Psalm 125:3-5 "For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity. Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts. As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them away with the workers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel!" NKJV
The first part of verse 3 expresses, "There is no rest for the staff of the wicked." The Hebrew word for "staff" (or scepter) is made of 3 Hebrew letters (as are most Hebrew roots), Shin-Bet-Tet. This word Shavet is found 190 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. 123 times it is translated as "tribe" or some variation. Much of Israel's history is a military history. Even in modern armies, troops rally to their banner or standard or staff. These flags mark the territory of each tribe in Israel. Eventually, the word for "banner" has become the word for "tribe" itself.
But the banner in our verse is not just any staff, but a staff of evil. That staff of evil the Scripture says will "not rest". The Hebrew word for "rest" is Nuach. Can you see the Hebrew name for Noah (Noach) in that word? Noah's name means "comfort". So, in the Hebrew translation, "No comfort for the evil staff." Where will this happen? The Bible tells us in the second part of verse 3: On the Goral, which is not the usual word for land (eretz or arutz) but rather actually means "allotted portion".
But, not just any "allotted portion", rather on the allotted portion of the righteous. So, the better translation of verse 3 is that, "There will not be a rallying point allowed to rest on the portion of property allocated to the righteous." But wait, there's more! The Bible tells us why this is so. Because if this were allowed to happen, the righteous might reach out to evil.
Verse 4 is a simple call upon God to do good to the good. Then verse 5 talks again about what happens to those who do not follow the straight path; the Lord leads them away.
In these 3 verses of Scripture, God is giving us a sandwich. The middle of the sandwich is "good" and "upright" (the Hebrew word for upright means "straight", it is used here to contrast with the crooked ways of evil). On both sides we have prophesy and warning to avoid evil.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,