I was gifted a fabulous book for Christmas that is currently challenging and blessing me. The author is a Jewish Rabbi by the name of Pesach Wolicki and the book is called Cup of Salvation, A Powerful Journey Through King David’s Psalms of Praise. While I was studying at Fuller Seminary, one of the resounding take-home themes was the need to look at scripture through other lenses. I read the Bible through the lens of a white, middle-class, woman, Idahoan, musician, mother, and educator. I will inevitably bring a certain persepctive to my reading and I fully realize the myopic potential of this. My view is limited and I need other voices in the mix for the Holy Spirit to fully inform my study. This is why I am so thankful for this book.
Wolicki takes The Hallel (Psalms 113-118) and, like sips of a fine wine, lingers over the words slowly. He reflects on each verse and shares the findings of his research in accessible language. For any of you who have tried to muscle through some academic commentaries, it is a breath of exegetical fresh air by comparison.
As a teaser, I have been thinking about the ideas gleaned from Psalm 113:2, where Wolicki addresses the question, “Does God need to be blessed by us?” The actual verse reads, “May the Lord’s name be blessed from this time to Eternity.” The author takes us back to Genesis 1:22 where we learn that God’s blessing is linked to the idea of being fruitful. Pesach defines it as “the actualization of hidden potenital for good.” When we bless God, “we are attempting to draw out the hidden potential more more Godliness in the world….we are saying, ‘Let there be more of You revealed in this world.” (pgs. 20-21) We aren’t blessing God with our nice words about who He is. He is aware of who He is more than any other. We bless God, according to my interpretation of Wolicki, when we find the hidden potential of His presence in every facet of our lives, from good food to good conversation, and proclaim it. It is about our own awareness as much as His goodness. Illuminating and helpful words.
This post scratches the surface of our (Christians) need to be in dialogue with Jewish voices when it comes to understanding God’s Word. We have so much to learn from our shared love of God and desire to live out an embodied faith. If you have experienced similar helpful voices in your spiritual journey, please share. I would love to hear!