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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Christian journalist: Don’t trifle with the Big Trifler #2 (2 Samuel 22:1, 26-27)

2 Samuel 22:1, 26-27. “David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said, . . . ‘To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but the crooked you show yourself shrewd.’” (Ps. 18:25-26)

Exegesis and Application

The key Hebrew words in the passage are in vs. 27 and are translated “crooked” and “shrewd.” The word for “crooked” is “iqqesh” which can also be translated “distorted,” “false,” “twisted.” It may have some relation to an Arabic word referring to the twisted braids of a woman. Except for one verse, all the biblical usages of this word refer to the twisted and perverted acts of humankind. The Hebrew word translated in our passage as “shrewd” is “pathal,” which can also be translated “twined,” twisted,” “tortuous,” or “showing oneself crafty or perverse,” and has its root in the twisting of a cord or thread. It can be translated “curvy,” “devious,” or “deceitful.” Fundamentally, the words mean the same thing and could be similarly translated “twisted,” “crooked,” or “tortuous.”

We see this divine eye for an eye reciprocity for the wicked and twisted Pharaoh (Exodus 9:12) and King Ahab (2 Chron. 18:22). The Exodus 9 verse is very interesting because we are told that Pharaoh’s obstinacy is guaranteed by God (“just as the LORD had said to Moses,” cf, “I know the king of Egypt will not let you go,” 3:19) and that only God can undo Pharaoh’s ordained resistance and He will do that right in Pharaoh’s backyard (“in the middle of,” 3:20). This reciprocity is taught in the New Testament, as we read that God is not passive in His response to continued rejection and flaunting of a “twisted” worldview: “God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and . . . not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thess. 2:11-12). The Greek phrase translated “powerful delusion” is “energeian planes” which literally means “a working of delusion.” F. F. Bruce states, “this divine judgment of “working” inevitably incurs in a moral universe by those who close their eyes . . . to the fundamental truth that God is God.”

It is important to see the biblical teaching that God is not passive in his relationship with those who reject him. He will actively reject them.

1) The Christian journalist must know that God is not mocked and he will respond in kind to continual mocking and twisted lifestyle which neglects Him. This plays out in the ill consequences of those individuals who persistently deny His sovereignty. This cosmic fact goes along way in explaining human ill-fortune and miser (Gal. 6:7). Pharaoh mocked God. King Ahab mocked God. How did that go for them?

2) The Christian journalists must realize that human misfortune in this life may have the hidden hand of God behind the misfortune. Thus, there may be explanations for the human predicament which bear exposing and explanation.

3) Still, the Christian journalist must understand there is no biblical guarantee that a sowing of sin in this life results in a harvest of sorrow in this life. We know that is not the case (Proverbs 10:15). The “showing of God’s shrewdness” may have to wait until the afterlife (Proverbs 11:4).

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