Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Psalm 13

Psalm 13 is a typical prayer to the Lord for deliverance. The NET Bible renders it:

1For the music director; a psalm of David.
How long, LORD, will you continue to ignore me?
How long will you pay no attention to me?

2 How long must I worry,
and suffer in broad daylight?
How long will my enemy gloat over me?

3 Look at me! Answer me, O LORD my God!
Revive me, or else I will die!

4 Then my enemy will say, "I have defeated him!"
Then my foes will rejoice because I am upended.

5 But I trust in your faithfulness.
May I rejoice because of your deliverance!

6 I will sing praises to the LORD when he vindicates me.

I just noticed another translation difference between the NET and the NIV that reminds me why I like the NET Bible so much. The NIV renders verse 6, "I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me." The tense of the verb in the clause "when he vindicates"/"for he has been good" makes a subtle but HUGE difference. In the NIV, the tone of the entire psalm changes at the end. At the beginning, the psalmist is lamenting about all of the trouble in his life, but then at the end he changes his mind and says, "Well, I guess the Lord has been good to me." In the NET, the psalmist is saying "When the Lord comes through for me, THEN I will praise him." Huge difference.

I remember when I was in high school, someone at church told me that he loved the psalms because David often started so angry at God but then by the end of the psalm he realized that he was out of line. This may the case in the NIV's rendering of this psalm. However, I don't really like that kind of theology. I don't think we should use pious language about God to mask our real emotions. If you're mad at God, tell Him! He's not intimidated. (Just be prepared to repent in dust and ashes if He calls you out like He did to Job.)

"Father I thank you for being good to me. I thank You for caring about me--for listening to my grumbling and complaints. I confess that more often than not I am out of line, but I thank You for caring about what is on my heart. Amen."

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