Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Let Us 'Wrestle' with Scripture: Psalms 3:7-8 versus Matthew 5:38-39, 43-48

Psalm 3 sounds like a shocking contradiction to Jesus' ethical guidance in the Sermon on the Mount, or rather vice versa. Jesus seems to contradict the psalmist's call for violent revenge.

In verse 7, the psalmist calls God to attack his enemies: “Arise, O Yahweh, Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek: You break the teeth of the ungodly.”

In drastic contrast in Matthew 5: 38-39, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye in exchange for an eye, and a tooth in exchange for a tooth.’
“But I am saying to you, you shall not rise up against an evil person, but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him also the other."

And then Jesus says we are to "turn the other our enemies" because that is how God loves, loving even the unjust! Jesus says that in so doing, we are to become perfect like 'our Father in Heaven!'

43 "You have heard that it was said, ‘Show kindness to your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and bless the one who curses you, and do what is beautiful to the one who hates you, and pray over those who take you by force and persecute you. 45 So that you will become the children of your Father who is in Heaven, for his sun rises on the good and upon the evil and his rain descends on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if you love those who love you, what benefit is it to you? Behold, do not even the Tax Collectors the same thing? 47 And if you pray for the peace of your brethren only, what excellent thing are you doing? Behold, are not even the Tax Collectors doing the same thing? 48 Be therefore perfect, just as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect.”

What thinkest thou?

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

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