Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not Because of Our Virtue

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
        let me never be put to shame;
        in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me;
        rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
        a strong fortress to save me!
For you are my rock and my fortress;
        and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
        for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
        you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.  (Psa 31:1-5)

The sin covered me in deep shame, [David] is saying, but I pray this may not long remain with me owing to my confidence placed in you.  Do not fix your eyes on my sin, but on the lawlessness of my pursuers.  By applying this righteous verdict, you will free me from the calamities besetting me.  Heed my prayer, and give me prompt help.

He said this* also in the eighteenth psalm, indicating God’s manifold care.… Now it is likely the Old Testament term agreed with that in the Gospels, which give a glimpse of the prudent person building the house on the rock, which the force neither of winds nor of rain and floods ruined on account of its stability: You will accord me providence of every kind on account of your name, in which I trusted.  Now, through all the verses occurring here we learn the measure of his prudence.  His appeal for divine assistance is made on the basis not of his own virtue but of God’s name and of God’s righteousness and because he hoped in him.

Theodore of Mopsuestia, Commentary on Psalms 1-81
Trans., Robert C. Hill

*  I.e., rock of refuge and fortress

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