Meditations on the Psalms #250

Psalm 114 Part 1 

This brief and powerful acrostic poem says so much, so briefly, beautifully, graphically, and grandly, that Hebrew poetry here reaches its climax. No human mind has ever been able to equal the grandeur of this psalm. Israel’s deliverance from slavery is seen as a metaphor for deliverance from sin. This was the song that Jesus and His disciples sang before the partaking of the Passover meal. The meal itself in every detail prefigured the work of Jesus over the next 24 hours. The poem is divided into 4 stanzas with 2 verses each. Each verse has 2 lines and each pair of lines are parallelistic. 6/8 verses refer to nature and 2 to the people of Israel. The total shows the Sovereign Lord of all creation who is also the deliverer! The manner and motive of the deliverance are expressed in the first 3 stanzas, where nature is personified (V3,4), then interrogated (5,6), and finally commanded v7. 

Israel’s deliverance from Egypt was the central act of redemption under the Old Covenant. It was to be constantly remembered and celebrated, and this song joins in the celebration. For those who are under the New Covenant, the work of Jesus at the cross and empty tomb become the central act of redemption. We are likewise called to constantly remember and celebrate what God did to set us free by dying on the cross for us.  

The ‘strange language’ NASB (foreign land NLT) of v1 reminds me of Paul’s words in Hebrews11:13 where he says we are ‘strangers on the earth.” God has redeemed us and we await the final Exodus at the second coming. Just as Israel were foreigners in a foreign land, we are aliens and sojourners on the earth. We have wandered in the wilderness of sin long enough, and we await Joshua (Jesus) to lead us into the promised land.  

Note the parallel nature of v1; Israel / Jacob-Judah / Israel, following the pattern A B/B A. The ‘sanctuary’ of v2, is a symbol of God’s presence. Judah was the dominant tribe in number and power and the tribe from which the Messiah would spring. TBC  

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