Psalm 119:57-64: 2 Samuel 15:1-29; John 9:1-12

Psalm 119:57-64: Although the theme of this long psalm is about learning and then adhering to God’s law, there are occasional glimpses of topics that speak more to the heart than to the mind. One of those instances is here at verse 58: “I entreated You with a whole heart, grant me grace as befits Your utterance.”

The psalmist has recognized the error of his ways and realizing that, he turns back to God and asks for grace “with a whole heart.” We talk a lot about “heart” and even “whole heart.” But do reflect on its true meaning? A “whole heart” implies the totality of one’s being. There are no small, unlit corners of ourselves that we have hidden and reserved for our own purposes.

The psalmist asks for grace, raising the question that of grace is “unmerited favor” should we ask for it? The answer clearly is ‘yes,” because when we come to God with our entire being, God, whose language is grace, replies. We must remember that even with our whole heart turned toward God, we do not merit grace on our own. We cannot claim grace; it comes only in response. But I think it’s important to remember that as the psalmist reminds us here; grace comes from conversation–prayer–with God. We entreat; He replies.

 2 Samuel 15:1-29: David’s son, Absalom, mounts an outstanding PR campaign, traveling among the people of Israel, rendering judgements and he eventually “stole the hearts of the people of Israel.” (6) He then goes to Hebron and declares himself king. When David hears of his son’s treachery, he flees Jerusalem, knowing that Absalom will return to murder him.  All the court officials go with him, as well as a visitor, Ittai, who is “a foreigner, and also an exile from your home.” (16) David says Ittai should remain in Jerusalem and await the new king, but the visitor replies, ““As the Lord lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.” (19).

Ittai remains loyal even as the king is usurped by his son. As Jesus is led off to be tried and crucified, there is no Ittai among the disciples. The question is the same for us today: when Christ-followers are in harms way or facing trials in hostile societies, are we like Ittai and stand by their side? Or do we abandon our king?

John 9:1-12: John’s theme of light surfaces again in this story of the blind man healed. First, Jesus makes it clear that neither the man nor his parents are to blame for his condition. This is radical thinking in this deuteronomic cause=effect society.

It’s interesting that Jesus gives his disquisition before he heals the man: “ As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (5) So, if Jesus is all about light and making sure we understand that, why does he prepare mud and put it in the blind man’s eyes when he could have just said something like, “I am the light, now see the light: you’re healed?” I believe that John never misses an opportunity to make a symbolic point. Mud is of the earth; he covers the man’s eyes as if to say, in earth you are blind, but by baptism, i.e., washing in the pool, you–all of us–who once were blind not only see the light, but live in the light.

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