Day: February 19, 2012

ET phone home (Psalm 119:19)

I live as an alien in the land;
do not hide your commandments from me (Psalm 119:19 NRSV).

The first half of this verse could be translated as “Alien am I on earth”.  (NIV and NAS have “on earth” instead of “in the land.”)

Sounds like ET.  And in the 2nd half of the verse the psalmist is “phoning home”, telling God to not hide his commandments from the psalmist.

I continue my blogging pilgrimage through Psalm 119, one verse each Sunday.  This is the third verse in the Gimel section, where each verse begins with the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Gimel.  This verse begins with ger, translated as “alien” in NRSV (NIV has “stranger”, ESV “sojourner”).

The psalmist’s obsession with God’s word has resulted in foreign-ness from the world around.  A stranger in a strange land.  The psalmist’s total delight in God and his law seems bizarre to us, and it must have seemed strange to the psalmist that others did not share the obsession.

Elsewhere the psalmist is worried about God hiding his face from the psalmist (Psalm 10:1; 13:1; 27:9), but here the concern isn’t for God’s face, but God’s commandment.  That’s what makes the psalmist weird.

“God, make me more of an alien.”

What parts of God’s word seem most alien to you? 

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