Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Torah keeping- with the grain of the universe? Or the Lord of the universe

The Torah of God is paired closely with the creation at points, though it is
careless exegesis to equate Torah with cosmic principles.1 Psalm 33 is the most explicit pairing of a Torah term, rbd , with YHWH's act of creation. In a Psalm that resembles Ps 2 more than any of the Torah psalms, God's powerful creating word is related to his commitment to faithfulness and his love of righteousness and justice. This power is then asserted over the nations, whatever their size, “YHWH thwarts the plans of nations... but the eyes of YHWH are on those that fear him” (33:10,18). Conspicuous by it's absence is Torah language about YHWH's people. Where we would expect an announcing of blessing based on Torah observance if such a connection were to be made (33:12, 18-19), we instead have references to YHWH himself, his choosing of a nation and the corresponding fear of YHWH. A similar caution is found in Psalm 19 which brings together the Psalms opening concern, Torah, and the concern on which the Psalms almost close, the cosmos's acknowledgement of YHWH.2 The psalm begins with the words of the heavens and earth, that declare the glory of YHWH.(19:1-4), yet the magnificence of the heavens are simply put there by YHWH, it is the sun's journey from one end of the sky to the other that proclaims YHWH's glory (19:4). The Psalm then abruptly turns to praise of the Torah (19:7-11). Again what is most noticeable is the Psalmist's restraint. “Indeed, if v1-6 and 7-11 have a common origin, they read as if the author was avoiding using similar terms about the proclamation in creation and the nature of Yhwh's Torah.”3 The link between them is not verbal, but theological, the same god who sets the path of the sun, and is glorified by it, has given enduring Torah.4 This is also the connection expounded in Ps 119:89-91 and Ps 93. The firmness of the Torah of YHWH and the continuing firmness of the earth are connected not by a common word, but by the strength of YHWH's reign.5 “As for your decisions, they have stood firm today, because all are your servants” Ps 119:91

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