Context Is Everything

In response to an email I received asking about the Ps 109 stuff back in November:

Dear __________,

I don’t think the Psalm 109:8 thing was originally meant to be a biblical stamp of approval for praying for the removal of President Obama from office; I think people were just being clever in that bumper sticker fad kind of way. However, one of the problems is that people did use it that way, taking it too seriously (unfortunately, you could take verses of Scripture out of context to support almost any viewpoint you want to). And so, when Christians begin actually praying Psalm 108:9 in regard to President Obama, then we have to look at the context.

I did a quick search on Psalm 109 just to see what would pop up and came across this article: “Psalm 109: A Prayer for Obama or Ourselves?”, and as a moderate independent, I appreciate this article and the others I scanned from this political news blog (which is generally faith-based, not exclusively Christian). What I appreciated was the balanced perspective and the utter lack of inflammatory language. And Lewis’s Reflection on the Psalms is also my go-to commentary on the Psalms, especially for these difficult and violent texts, the imprecatory psalms.

Verse 8, when used in isolation, is just a clever joke, a jab; and even though I don’t share the sentiment, I have to admit it’s clever and can’t begrudge people who don’t like President Obama for coming up with it. “May his days be few; may another take his office,” is something anyone would say about someone in office they don’t like. It comes from the Bible, one of the most important literary works of all time (if nothing else); so it’s funny; it’s a good one. Though I will admit, reminding everyone of the difficulty of one of the Bible’s most violent texts was a shot in the foot of the Christian community, making Psalm 109:8 a joke not worth making in the bigger scope of things.

Warm regards,

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3 Responses to Context Is Everything

  1. Brian says:

    Good thoughts. This reminds me of a verse Aggies use all the time against the Longhorns – Psalm 75:10: “I will cut off the horns of the wicked.”

    Despite it being sad that everything A&M does seems to be aimed at being anti-UT, it’s sad that a bunch of Christians will take random verses out of context to suit whatever fancy they happen to have at the moment. Christians do this sort of thing, and then wonder why the world marvels at our claims to the inerrancy of Scripture!

  2. reneamac says:

    True, Brian. Making the inerrancy issue even more precarious than it already can be on its own is unacceptable fall out.

  3. 945fiend says:

    hope and change

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