Psalm 57:7–11; Job 39; 1 Corinthians 10:11–22

Psalm 57:7–11: The psalmist uses two powerful images of physical entrapment–the net and the pit–to describe his enemies machinations against him: “A net they set for my steps,/…they dug before me a pit.” (7). Even when we may not necessarily have actual enemies pursuing and trying to trap us, the image certainly evokes feelings of being trapped by circumstances.

We hear the psalmist’s feeling satisfied justice at the next line when “they themselves fell into it” (the pit, that is.) Which is true for many conspiracies. In the end, truth will out and the plotting collapses in on itself.

Having been rescued from the pit, the psalmist turns to praise: “Let me sing and hymn.” (8) In fact his joy is so great that he wants others playing instruments to join him: “Awake, O lyre,/ Awake, O lute and lyre.” Rescue brings true joy: “I would waken the dawn.” (9) And all for one overwhelming reason: “For Your kindness is great to the heavens/ and to the skies Your steadfast truth.” (11)

The challenge for us is do we even really realize how many times God has saved us from the net and the pit. If we reflected more on how we’ve been rescued, I suspect we would experience much the same joy as the psalmist does in these concluding verses.

Job 39: God’s voice out of the whirlwind continues, turning to the miracle of animal life with an amazingly comprehensive bestiary, all focused on what God is able to do in the animal kingdom–and by implication what man cannot. The opening verses begin with birth and youth:

2Can you number the months that they fulfill,
    and do you know the time when they give birth,
when they crouch to give birth to their offspring,
    and are delivered of their young?

The inventory is extensive: the wild ass, the wild ox, an ostrich, the horse, the hawk. All of them have skills and abilities–and weaknesses (“God has made it forget wisdom,/ and given it no share in understanding.”) that are beyond the ken and wisdom of mankind.

God is making it very clear just who is in charge of creation.

1 Corinthians 10:11–22: Paul continues his disquisition on the issues surround idols and what does or does not constitute worshipping idols. Here, he turns to the issue of the Eucharist and the danger of conflating libations made to an idol with partaking of the body and blood of Christ. If we partake of the cup of blessing, “is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?” (16) Therefore, we can do one or the other, but not both. The reason is simple: “I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons.” (20). Paul is at his logical best: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”

The challenge here, of course, is what kinds of choices do we make? Do go places and do things that has us consorting with demons–or as I’ll take it here, evil. This is certainly a prohibition against witchcraft and tampering with dimensions that are beyond the four we inhabit.

I also think this section is also one of the roots of the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. The language can certainly be taken at the either the literal or metaphorical level: “ The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?” (16).  I’m generally in the metaphorical camp, but there’s no question that the sacrament of communion is far more than metaphor and much more than just “in remembrance of me.”


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