Psalm 14 or 145, 26 July 2015

ShadowSome psalms are decidedly dark. Here’s Psalm 14, which tells us about widespread foolishness, corruption and evil (as if we don’t know — and that hot on the heels of the companion Samuel reading bringing us the Great Psalmist’s wicked trick on Uriah, to say nothing of the daily news).

It’s easy to duck these ones and look for a happier alternative. That of course misses the point of the historical poetry of lament and penitence.

A blog title on Faith and TheologyThe psalms and the blues: a little help from James Baldwin, (25 Sep 2014) caught my jazz-oriented sensibilities. Author Ben Myers gives valuable advice:

If we think the happy psalms are merely happy and the sad psalms are merely sad, then we’ll also assume that the psalms of vengeance are merely immoral and vindictive, or that psalms of conquest are mere glorifications of military violence – without seeing the whole tragic history that gives rise to such outrageously tenacious expressions of faith. Perhaps we’d have a better ear for the psalms if we remembered that they are the precursors not so much of Victorian hymnody as of the spirituals and the blues. One catches the true spirit of the psalter in the old African American song:

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah!

Psalm 145


However, there’s a time for lamentation, and a time for lamingtons. In fact, the sweetness and assurance of divine sustenance in our existence are Roger’s theme this Sunday.

I could not let 14 and the blues go through to the keeper without offering a stroke; however, this Sunday we turn to Psalm 145, the final psalm of that same David, which supports this theme perfectly:

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand, satisfying the need of every living thing. (verses 15, 16)

With both psalms in mind, I am reminded that in honour of earlier visits by The Gospel Folk (see post in Nov 2013; TGF are with us again on 9 August) we featured both a plain 12-bar blues for one psalm; and enjoyed a response called ‘Taste and see’.

Maybe it’s time for a new angle. Try this:

David gave the Hebrews psalmody. This abrogated Moses’ sacrificial system and introduced a new form of jubilant praise. – Hippolytus, 3rd C.


Most of the sung responses reflect the main theme of Psalm 145, which is praise for the gracious kingdom of God. Our purposes lead us towards the theme of divine provision and the verses quoted above. We shall use a little home-grown tune — the second in two weeks — for both verses and response:Ps145 BOL

9 thoughts on “Psalm 14 or 145, 26 July 2015

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