Category Archives: Wisdom Literature

Psalm 49: Vanity of Life that is Based on Acquiring Wealth


Psalm 49 is a wisdom psalm. The psalm imparts wisdom about the vanity of life that is based on acquiring wealth. Thus the basic theme of this psalm is the futility of trusting in worldly possessions. Worldly possessions are left behind with death and they cannot buy forgiveness of sins nor buy back life. It aligns with the teaching of book of Ecclesiastes. The way the psalm flows is by calling upon the attention of the lowly and high, the rich and the poor to share wisdom, which stands true for all. According to him, life is a mixture of good and evil days. When evil things happen and one is close to death, the riches one has make no difference. Even the greatest of riches cannot buy back life. One is bound to face death just like a mere beast. He cannot take his possessions with him. All things living and non living will one day perish. This is the fate of both the wise and the foolish. Then he puts forth the truth that one who has understanding of God and loves him, he will take such a person to himself. Continue reading Psalm 49: Vanity of Life that is Based on Acquiring Wealth

Classification of Psalms 13, 112, 117, 119 According to their Themes


Psalm 13 is a psalm of lament because I recognize the following elements:

1.      Invocation

2.      Plea to God for help

3.      Complaints

4.      Confession of sin or an assertion of innocence

5.      Curse of enemies (imprecation)

6.      Confidence in God’s response

7.      Hymn or blessing

Psalm 112 is a wisdom psalm that falls under the category of acrostics wisdom psalms in which verses or lines begin with succeeding letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It contains the characteristic of wisdom, such as the doctrine of the two ways, the contrast between righteous and wicked, right speech, use of wealth, and fitting into the social structure (440, Lasor).

Psalm 119 is a wisdom psalm too. Number of verses in this psalm uses the language and style of the wisdom literature of the Old Testament: Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes. There is use of the literary technique used in proverbs beginning with “blessed is/are…” It also has an obvious intent of teaching how to live a good and holy life. Overall, Psalm 119 is perhaps the best-known example, devoting 176 verses to extolling God’s law.

Psalm 117 is a definite hymn because this psalm begins with a call to worship, continues by expanding on the reasons why God should be praised concludes with further call to praise.

Scriptures Understood as Messianic Texts and Applied them to Christ in the NT


Prasha Maharjan

Acts 4 is an account of Peter and John who were seized and brought to the Jerusalem council. Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of high priest’s family were there to interrogate them. Some of them in the Jerusalem Council were also a group of people who were involved in crucifying Jesus. They were thus displeased that Peter and John were preaching the gospel. They demanded of Peter and John to stop preaching. However, Peter and John filled with the Holy Spirit replied that they had the authority from heaven to do so. They had a witness to testify to what they were preaching- a crippled man for forty years was miraculous healed through their prayers in the name of Jesus. Both were then released with the warning that they not preach the gospel anymore. Later, they shared all this with their people and recalled Psalm 2 “Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against the Anointed One.”

The messianic importance of Psalm 2 was fulfillment of the scripture that King David penned down. The rulers of the earth would gather together to torture and plot against the people of God. This came true when Jesus was crucified and in the above incident as well.

In Matthew 21 is the account of Jesus entering the temple and overturning the tables. He was furious that people were using the temple of God for inferior and unholy purposes. The blind and the lame came to Jesus and he healed them in the temple. Children were exclaiming, “Hosanna to the Son of David”. At this, the chief priests and the teachers of the law were indignant and asked Jesus what all that was about. Jesus simply quoted Psalm 8:2, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”

This was another prophecy about the Messiah that children and infants through their innocent faith would silence the learned and self-proclaimed holy men. It is not the proud ones who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but the ones who have faith.

Psalm 22 has significant scriptures foreshadowing the ways the Messiah would be crucified. Throughout the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John- we see several prophetic scriptures from Psalm 22 being fulfilled. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, he exclaimed Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” King David who is a part of what Christ would be spoke these words when in despair. Similarly, there were people around him proclaiming, “He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him.” Furthermore in Luke and John, there is a clear depiction of the Jesus’ crucifixion. The enemies pierced Jesus’ hands and feet, they stared and gloated over him and also divided his garments among them and cast lots for his clothing. All these prophesy in the Psalms came to happen in the life and death of Christ so the scriptures may be fulfilled.

Psalm 45:7 recurs in Hebrews 1:8-9. The author of Hebrews is showing how Jesus is the most superior of angels. God did not call other angels ‘my son’. But God was pleased with his Son because Jesus loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God set him above his companions by anointing him with the oil of joy. Truly, Jesus was a sinless man and lived a sinless life while on earth. The messianic importance is the significance of Jesus’ holiness that sets him apart from all other angels.

Psalm 110:1 occurs in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. All these gospels account the day when Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees in the synagogues. The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with their smart questions. Then Jesus asked them who the son of David was and why David had written- The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” This has an importance messianic significance. Jesus was from the line of David’s genealogy. It was prophesied that the Messiah would come from David’s blood line. Yet David called the Son Lord in the Spirit. This is a powerful allusion of the equality of Christ with the Lord. He only kept those on his right hand that he highly favored. God highly favored Christ and promised to make all his enemies his footstool. Jesus, the Son of God would crush his enemies and be resurrected and be at the right hand of God.

 

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Three Ethical Principles that I Gleaned from Proverbs


Prasha Maharjan.

The book of Proverbs looks more like a handbook that is well documented about the experiences of others to offer insight and guidance to its readers. The book offers wisdom, instructions from teacher or mother and father to a child. Wisdom is personified as a woman. The moral aspect of the teaching is to instruct and encourage to the child to seek righteous, justice, and equity. Man is not the center figure in the book but God. The climatic introduction “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7) shows the divine knowledge comes from God and is only possible through fearing him in utter awe. Fearing God is the prerequisite for attaining this wisdom. The book also makes clear that this knowledge is partly accessible to human beings (16:1-2,9; 21:30). The point is: the beginning and ending of human quest for wisdom has to be “the fear of the LORD” and God stands in both ends in this quest.

Reading Proverbs as I seek for wisdom, I have gleaned three ethical or behavioral principles that I desire to follow in my everyday life. Implementing these three principles in my everyday life has helped me to be more effective in my ministry to others.

Lust for money is a common weakness for all. People who are wholly giving and generous are but rare. The book of Proverbs gives us a set of instructions about handling money. In worldly terms verse like Proverbs 11:24-25– “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will be refreshed”– are impractical. How a man can keep giving and still have more is hard to believe. However, in my personal experience I have seen many people who have been blessed one way or the other for their generosity. This is one trait that I would like to implement in my life to be a more effective Christian servant. We are the workmanship of Christ made for good works and to serve others. It is being Christ-like when we make our resources available to others. Again, I do not know how it works for God but he has always blessed us when we have given freely. My husband and I are merely international students and our other family members not Christians. They have been amazed how we have always had enough all this time we have been in a foreign country. It is a testimony of God’s provision to them in our lives.

Secondly, I desire to be a godly wife following the instructions that Proverbs lays out for women in chapter 31. People who are called to serve in God’s kingdom are also subject to higher judgment. My husband and I are in involved in ministry and we have to pray continually as we serve and guide others, God would help us love and respect each other. As a human being first, I am inclined to being selfish and putting my interests first. But as a Christian woman and wife, I yearn to be selfless and be an embodiment of Christ’s love so I may be a more effective Christian servant. I know that non-Christians that I work with are closely looking at the way I behave as a wife. Hence, my husband and I pray fervently that God would give us extra measure of grace so that even when we slip, the non-Christians would recognize that we are still human beings desiring to live a life that brings glory to God. I desire to be a selfless and godly wife so that our ministry to young couples more effective

Thirdly, diligence is an ethical behavior that I would like to pursue as well. Many employers that I have worked for in the past have not always provided the best circumstances to work with. There were times when I lazed away and thought my employer did not deserve my hard work or devotion. And in many other areas of my life, I have felt the same way where I did not feel like giving my best. It is so hard to keep in mind that all things I do, I do for the glory of God regardless of the result. Surely, when I am diligent even under meager salary and unfair conditions, it will make people wonder. Diligence is a part of wise living not simply to be appreciated and rewarded but to serve God with our very best.

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“Fear of the LORD” and Its Role in the Hebrew Wisdom Literature


The Hebrew wisdom literature is about the art of success, and Proverbs is a guidebook for successful living (Lasor, 460). The Old Testament also emphasizes the laws of love (Lev. 19:18; Deut. 6:5). God’s people were required to submit to God with total obedience. This they called “the fear of the Lord”. Thus the fear of the Lord in the Hebrew wisdom literature does not mean a servile attitude of submission but one conjoined with hope, love, gratitude and commitment to do God’s will in all circumstances. We see the use of the phrase “fear of the Lord” throughout the book of Proverbs to contrast the wise and the foolish:

Ways of those who Fear the LORD Ways of the foolish
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge Fools despise wisdom and instruction. 
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil Pride and arrogance and the evil way, And the perverted mouth, I hate.
Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.

As mentioned above, the Hebrew wisdom is the art of success. In the book of Proverbs we see the teaching that a life that is lived in fear of the Lord is a successful life. Those who are wise fear the Lord, and those who are foolish do not and live a despiteful life. Yet again, we have to note that the Hebrews also emphasized the laws of love. They feared the Lord not in dreadful manner but in filial reverence. To fear the Lord was to be in awe of God, honor him, and give him what he deserves because God is good and just.

 

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