...those called by Christ's name should order their lives. They should persevere in prayers and supplications and, in imitation of the angels, have their eyes lifted up to the Master above the heavens, praising and blessing Him with irreproachable conduct, and waiting for His mystical Coming. As the Psalmist says to Him, 'I will sing and will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt Thou come unto me?' (Ps. 101:2).
The psalmist [of Psalm 119] was interested in truth and orthodoxy, in biblical teaching and theology, not as ends in themselves, but as means to the further ends of life and godliness. His ultimate concern was with the knowledge and service of the great God whose truth he sought to understand (pp. 22-23).
We must not only put bodily passions to death but also destroy the soul's impassioned thoughts. Hence the Psalmist says, 'Early in the morning I destroyed all the wicked of the earth, that I might cut off all evil-doers from the city of the Lord' (Ps. 101:8) - that is, the passions of the body and the soul's godless thoughts.
Maximus the Confessor
Though we may feel we are "like a broken vessel," as the Psalmist says (Psalms 31:12), we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind.
Jeffrey R. Holland
According to Benedict's scheme, the community reads through... the entire book of Psalms every week. The monks are therefore exposed... to all the despairing, doubtful, bitter, vindictive, jingoistic, nationalistic, and seemingly racist passages in the Psalter. It is not that every sentiment expressed by a psalmist is admirable, but that in praying the Psalms, we confront ourselves as we really are. The Psalms are a reality check to keep prayer from becoming sentimental, superficial, or detached from the real world.
Richard H. Schmidt
It is not a struggle merely of economic theories, or forms of government or of military power. At issue is the true nature of man. Either man is the creature whom the psalmist described as a little lower than the angels ... or man is a soulless, animated machine to be enslaved, used and consumed by the state for its own glorification. It is, therefore, a struggle which goes to the roots of the human spirit, and its shadow falls across the long sweep of man's destiny.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eugene Peterson points out that "the root meaning in Hebrew of salvation is to be broad, to become spacious, to enlarge. It carries the sense of deliverance from an existence that has become compressed, confined and cramped." God wants to set free, to make it possible for us to live open and loving lives with God and our neighbors. "I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free," wrote the psalmist.
Prayer changes from entreaty to thanksgiving, and meditation on the divine truths of faith fills the heart with a sense of jubilation and unimpeachable hope. This hope is a foretaste of future blessings, of which the soul even now receives direct experience, and so it comes to know in part the surpassing richness of God's bounty, in accordance with the Psalmist's words, 'Taste and know that the Lord is bountiful' (Ps. 34:8). For He is the jubilation of the righteous, the joy of the upright, the gladness of the humble, and the solace of those who grieve because of Him.
To be cynical is to be distant. While offering a false intimacy of being "in the know, " cynicism actually destroys intimacy. It leads to a creeping bitterness that can deaden and even destroy the spirit... A praying life is just the opposite. It engaged evil. It doesn't take no for an answer. The psalmist was in God's face, hoping, dreaming, asking. Prayer is feisty. Cynicism, on the other hand, merely critiques. It is passive, cocooning itself from the passions of the great cosmic battle we are engaged in. It is without hope.
Paul E. Miller
It was Mary who first adored the Incarnate Word. He was in her womb, and no one on earth knew of it. Oh! how well was our Lord served in Mary's virginal womb! Never has He found a ciborium, a golden vase more precious or purer than was Mary's womb! Mary's adoration was more pleasing to Him than that of all the Angels. The Lord 'hath set His tabernacle in the sun,' says the Psalmist. The sun is Mary's heart," and "Mary is the aurora of the beautiful Sun of Justice.
Peter Julian Eymard
Possibly the best suggestion in condensed form, as to how to live, was given by my old Headmaster, Dr. Haig Brown, in 1904, when he wrote his Recipe for Old Age. A diet moderate and spare, Freedom from base financial care, Abundant work and little leisure, A love of duty more than pleasure, An even and contented mind In charity with all mankind, Some thoughts too sacred for display In the broad light of common day, A peaceful home, a loving wife, Children, who are a crown of life; These lengthen out the years of man Beyond the Psalmist's narrow span.
Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world' (Acts 15:18). From the beginning God purposed to glorify Himself 'in the Church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end' (Eph. 3:21). To this end, He created the world, and formed man. His all-wise plan was not defeated when man fell, for in the Lamb 'slain from the foundation of the world' (Rev. 13:8) we behold the Fall anticipated. Now will God's purpose be thwarted by the wickedness of men since the Fall, as is clear from the words of the psalmist, 'Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain' (Ps. 76:10).
Arthur W. Pink
O guide my judgment and my taste, Sweet Spirit, author of the book Of wonders, told in language chaste And plainness, not to be mistook. O let me muse, and yet at sight The page admire, the page believe; "Let there be light, and there was light, Let there be Paradise and Eve!" Who his soul's rapture can refrain? At Joseph's ever pleasing tale Of marvels, the prodigious train, To Sinai's hill from Goshen's vale. The psalmist and proverbial seer, And all the prophets sons of song, Make all things precious, all things dear, And bear the brilliant word along. O take the book from off the shelf, And con it meekly on thy knees; Best panegyric on itself, And self-avouch'd to teach and please. Respect, adore it heart and mind. How greatly sweet, how sweetly grand, Who reads the most, is most refind'd, And polish'd by the Master's hand.
There are good theological reasons to reject making authorial intention the goal of the interpretation of Scripture. First, we must recognize that what has traditionally been considered authoritative for the church is Scripture, not the intentions, real or imagined, of the original authors. Yes, Christian interpreters throughout history have talked about what Paul or some other biblical writer may have meant to say, but that has traditionally not been taken to limit the meaning of the text to that intention. Thus, even if the psalmist intended to speak of David or some other king of ancient Israel, the church has always considered it legitimate to interpret the psalm as referring also-or even only or supremely-to Christ. Even if the human authors did not intend to affirm the Trinity in the first century, the church may legitimately interpret Scripture in Trinitarian terms. The church has traditionally not located the site of inspiration to be in the mind of the human author but in the text of Scripture itself. The shift to concentrating on the intentions of the human author is something that only happened in the modern era, with the rise of historical criticism.
Dale B. Martin