Preacher: “From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.”
Seeker: Not wanting to sound critical, but it seems that the psalmist focus his praise and testimony to those of his faith circle. I think I know why. First, his culture and circle of acquaintances were follow believers. Or at least that is the way it could be. Which raises a second possible reason; those in his hearing may not have been as faithful and attentive in worship. It is a trend we see in the later books in the Old Testament, and a theme among the prophets.
Preacher: I do love it when you figure things out for yourself. While neither of us claim to be biblical commentators, I think we do well in parsing out the reasons, meanings, and motivations for the biblical writers.
Seeker: “The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD. May your hearts live forever!”
Preacher: “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.”
Seeker: Something else; sometimes the psalmist talks about the surrounding area that is close by, and sometimes he talks about distances that he may not have had a clear concept. But he was so sure that some day those places would know and worship the same Divine he did. Now, is that optimism or lack of geographic awareness?
Preacher: I prefer that he was optimistic. Even if he realized the vastness of that world, he would probably believe the entire circumference of the global would become adherence to his faith. And in a way it is true; there are believers in the Christian strain of faith all over the world. But there is more variation, and follow & flexing than he imagined – for good or for bad.
Seeker: “For dominion belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.”
Preacher: “To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it. ” (Psalm 22:25-31)
Seeker: That means people in all circumstances, correct? The poor and forlorn, and the wealthy and well placed in society. For me, and maybe for you Preacher, it almost seems that at this point the psalmist was not aware of the coming of the Messiah. Which of course calls in question the foreshadowing that attributed to writings in the Old Testament.
Preacher: The Messiah who came was not necessarily the Messiah that the cumulative knowledge of the Old Testament speaks to and foresees. That the Messiah would come was a surety. That there would be signs and portents was a foregone conclusion. That all who encountered the Messiah would believe was for them a hard fact. The psalmist is both correct and incorrect; praise and testimony is offered to/before the faithful and unfaithful alike. The hope is that the unfaithful turn to faith in the Divine.
Seeker: Shalom & Selah!