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Hebrews 2:14-18 – OT

02.14.2011

Psalm 78:32-39

What?  Another Psalm?  Shocker!

Psalm 78 in whole is a historical Psalm, retelling and/or encapsulating the Old Testament narrative up until the reign of King David.  Since David is a pre-type of Christ, this Psalm can also be read, more figuratively, as a macro-story of the lead up to Jesus.

The point of these was to help the Israelites remember the history of their relationship with God, to remind them of His faithfulness and mercy and power, displayed for them over their history.  At an immediate level, I take away from this that faith can often be closely tied to gratitude, and that for the Israelites as well as for me, remembering God’s faithfulness can help my faithfulness. 

But stepping back, this is another suggestion of the role that rational cognition plays in a healthy faith.  The existence of these history psalms indicate that an amnesiac or someone with an impaired ability to interact with reality is somehow ‘beyond the bounds’ of faith, somehow at a disadvantage in felowshipping with God.  It seems dissatisfyingly reductionist; our souls are nothing more than our ability to comprehend and respond to certain stimuli.  This is probably not true, I grant, this is a theme into which I’m increasingly interested in looking: what role does cognition play in faith?

38 | The kicker comes in v. 38, where God atones for the sins of the people on their behalf, even though their repentance is half-hearted, their commitment is weak, and their faith cannot sustain itself.  This is beautiful, reminding us that we cannot and do not earn grace. 

I’d be interested to know, however, if this concept suggests universalism and/or unconditional grace to anyone else.  Where does the element of choice come in?  How can we make our will manifest but through our commitments and actions?  Which of the seeds in the parable of the sower is described in this passage?  I expect 500-word short essays on this topic by the end of Thursday.  Thank you!

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