Psalm 19 and just what is the law, the Torah of God?


The Torah of the Personal Name is תְּמִימָה Tammy, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Personal Name is sure, making wise the simple פֶּתִי/those easily persuaded, open to new ideas.” Thus begins the Psalm for the Third Sunday of Lent. “Tammy” is one of the key words of the passage and comes from a root meaning, “Full of astonishment/wonder.”

The sign from heaven is not up there, but down here. The entire passage begins, “The heavens declare the weight of God, the firmament meditates upon the work of his hands. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge/ the assemblage of facts; there is no speech, there are no words, neither is their voice heard. Their words go to the end of the earth, “εἰς τὰ πέρατα τῆς οἰκουμένης τὰ ῥήματα αὐτῶν.” “τῆς οἰκουμένης,” from “οἰκοs,” house. We derive from this word, “Economy,” the financial affairs of our national house.

“The heavens declare the weight of God… Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge/the assemblage of facts; there is no speech, there are no words, neither is their voice heard.” If we meditate upon what we see every day, we will hear the word of God speaking to us, without words, without speech, without voice. Torah refers to the First Five Books of Moses, to the Entire Jewish Bible, to the Entirety of Jewish religious thinking, and it is the Formal Cause of the world/that which holds the world together. In this latter sense, Psalm 19 speaks of Torah, being Tammy/a sign of wonder, restoring the animate being, and making those easily persuaded, wise.

“The Jews look for signs.” From the nativity we all remember the angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Before this is, “This will be a sign for you: an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” The sign is the baby in the manger. The sign is not up there; the sign is down here.

“God delivered these Mitzvoth: “I, the Personal Name, am your Mighty Judge, who brought you out of the land of Egypt/Oppression, that place of menial labor.” Our first sign comes from the Statue of Liberty:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I am the Personal Name who rescued you from Europe, with its poverty, its sham princes, its pomp and ceremony, its wars, civil wars and wars between nations, and I brought you here. Remember what it was like to be there. Remember what all the princes, lords and other high-powered people told you about how you deserve all the suffering you receive. Remember your rescue. Remember what happened to Pharaoh along with all of those like him throughout history. Remember your rescue. When you see others suffer, take action to end that suffering. If we do that, we can forget the rest of the Ten Commandments. We will be too busy helping others and remembering your rescue to violate any command of God.

The signs we seek are not ink blotches in some book. The signs/the wonders of God are all in his world, all around us.

In Hebrew, things are either “To me,” “To him,” “To her…” If they are “To me,” it is from whom, and for a purpose.” Our Gospel ends, “Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all…” In the end we are too busy worrying about the economy to worry about the “οἰκοs,” the house, and our brothers and sisters in it.

Jesus asks, do we want to see the wonders of the world as coming from God, belonging to God, and the concern of God? Are this world and the people in it for our benefit, or for us to see the wonders of God? Does everything we own come from rugged individualism, and the protestant work ethic, or from God? Are they things we own or wonders from God?

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