Today's Word

Law vs. Law

By Skip Moen, Ph.D. | Oct 6, 2021

So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.  Romans 7:12 NASB Law – Why is the Law holy?  Before you answer, consider the radical difference between the Greco-Roman view of Law and the Semitic biblical view of Law.  Christine Hays offers some insight: “Divine law can be minimally…

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If a Lion Could Speak

By Skip Moen, Ph.D. | Oct 5, 2021

“For My devisings are not your devisings, and your ways are not My ways,” says the Lord.  For as the heavens are high over the earth, so My ways are high over your ways and My devisings over your devisings.”  Isaiah 55:8-9  Robert Alter Devisings – You’re probably more familiar with this verse translated in the popular religious vernacular: “For My…

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Self-Help Talk

By Skip Moen, Ph.D. | Oct 4, 2021

Why are you  in despair, my soul?  And why are you restless within me?  Wait for God, for I will again praise Him for the help of His presence, my God.  Psalm 42:11  NASB In despair – What a great verse!  The perfect response to Psalm 88, that dark and deary account of life when God…

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A Bridge Too Far

By Skip Moen, Ph.D. | Oct 3, 2021

You have removed lover and friend far from me; my acquaintances are in a hiding place.  Psalm 88:18  NASB   You have removed – A short excursus into enemy territory followed by an immediate return to the major theme: God is sovereign.  This poem describes whatever happens as under God’s control and direction.  Therefore, even if…

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God the Problem

By Skip Moen, Ph.D. | Oct 1, 2021

They have surrounded me like water all day long;  they have encircled me altogether.  Psalm 88:17  NASB   They – Suddenly, a change.  Through seventeen verses the psalmist has decried God’s absence.  His lament holds God responsible for the sorry state of his life, for the nearly impossible burden he must carry, for the approach of death.  But now,…

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Dead End

By Skip Moen, Ph.D. | Sep 30, 2021

Your burning anger has passed over me;  Your terrors have destroyed me.  Psalm 88:16  NASB Destroyed – Not just any trauma.  No, this is trauma of a special kind: bi·ʿûṯ.  “events that cause fear and destruction or death, with some focus on the wrath of the punisher.”[1]  What is the result?  ṣāmat The word ṣāmat occurs…

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Slow Train Coming

By Skip Moen, Ph.D. | Sep 29, 2021

I was miserable and about to die from my youth on;  I suffer Your terrors; I grow weary.  Psalm 88:15  NASB From my youth – Some things stick.  Some experiences you had early on just remain, buried away in the subconscious of your worldview, coloring how you look at life.  Modern psychological theory, removed from the divine,…

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A Stinking Mess

By Skip Moen, Ph.D. | Sep 28, 2021

Lord, why do You reject my soul?  Why do You hide Your face from me?  Psalm 88:14  NASB   Reject – The Hebrew zānaḥ has two root meanings.  The first is as it is translated here: to reject, spurn, cast off.  But the second adds a bit to our emotional understanding of this word.  zānaḥ II means, “to…

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Defining Moments

By Skip Moen, Ph.D. | Sep 27, 2021

But I, Lord, have cried out to You for help, and in the morning my prayer comes before You.  Psalm 88:13 Help – English spells it out: “have cried out for help.”  But all of that is really a single Hebrew verb— šāwaʿ.  “The intensity of the action conveyed by šāwaʿ is aptly illustrated by the fact that…

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The Purposeless Place (revised from December 23, 2016)

By Skip Moen, Ph.D. | Sep 26, 2021

Will Your wonders be made known in the darkness?  And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?  Psalm 88:12 NASB The darkness – “Little doubt surrounds the meaning of this denominative verb coming from the noun ḥōšek (darkness). It occurs eighteen times, seventeen times in poetical books. Exodus 10:15 is the only occurrence of ḥāšak in…

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