Psalm 106:31

Discussion in 'OT Wisdom Literature' started by MarieP, May 8, 2010.

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  1. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    I was reading along in Psalm 106, and verse 31 jumped out at me.

    The context reads, speaking of Israel's unfaithfulness in light of God's mercy:

    28 They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor,
    And ate sacrifices made to the dead.
    29 Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds,
    And the plague broke out among them.
    30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened,
    And the plague was stopped.
    31 And that was accounted to him for righteousness
    To all generations forevermore.

    What is your take on this verse? The language is identical to that of Genesis 15:6- "And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness"

    What exactly was accounted to Phinehas for righteousness?

    John Murray wrote that if Paul had used Phinehas instead of Abraham in Romans 4, he would have contradicted his own argument, so this must not mean the same thing as Genesis 15:6. Agree or disagree?
     
  2. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    It means God was pleased with Phinehas's action--he demonstrated he was a righteous man.

    And this is just bizarre, but I read this psalm in my morning reading today too. :um:
     
  3. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Thanks! That's the direction I was heading on this as well. And that is bizarre....are you using the Every Day in the Word plan from the ESV website?
     
  4. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Nope, I'm just going cover-to-cover and I happen to be in the psalms. Bizarre!

    I also wanted to add that if Paul had quoted this verse, it wouldn't have proven much because his readers already knew that God considers righteous people righteous. The question they needed an answer to was whether he counted faith for righteousness even before the particular expression in a work--and Paul appealed to Abraham as evidence that even before Abraham did his good works (e.g. obedience w.r.t. Isaac), God counted Abraham's faith in his promise for righteousness.
     
  5. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Gotcha! :up:

    Like in Hebrews 11:4 with Abel's offering- "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks."
     
  6. Elimelek

    Elimelek Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi MarieP

    Psalm 106 is one of those remarkable historical psalms that illustrates God's steadfast love (his side of the Covenant). I you count the number of times the Israelites trespassed against the Lord in the psalm, you'll count eight examples of not adhering to the Lord. It is one time to many to forgive in old Jewish thought, seven being a symbolic number referring to completeness. Its also a number often associated with God. You find that the psalmist is looking back over his people's history, realising that the Lord's steadfast love endures against human logic, he recognises God in his present and knows that God will be with his people in the future.

    This reminds me of Peter asking Jesus if he should forgive his brother seven times (Matthew 18:21-22). Jesus replies, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven." (ESV)

    Kind regards
     
  7. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Yes, that is something else that struck me in this Psalm! If God was faithful and merciful to such a people as Israel, how much more will He be faithful and merciful to those of us in the New Covenant, who have been given hearts that do desire (albeit imperfectly) to seek the Lord and walk in His ways and do His will!
     
  8. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The Psalms show that the old covenant also depended on the Lord giving a heart to seek Him and walk in His ways. Psalm 119 conveys that idea in a multitude of different ways.
     
  9. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I'm glad you mentioned this. I've been thinking about it lately. Would you mind commenting just briefly on the role of the Spirit in the new covenant as it relates to the role of the Spirit in the rest of redemptive history, and how this relates to Ezekiel 36:25-27? It is clear that regeneration was always necessary, but I find it hard to pin down exactly what is unique (and what is not unique) about the new covenant with respect to the Spirit's work.
     
  10. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    In general we distinguish between kind and degree. According to reformed covenant theology, the substance of the covenant is the same but the administration is altered. This means that the benefits of the covenant are of the same kind, but their degree of enjoyment under the new testament is increased. Thinking about the Holy Spirit, we see Him at work in the lives of Old Testament believers but working in a different degree.

    At this point it would be helpful to bring in a categorisation from the Larger Catechism, answer 35. It speaks of more fulness, evidence, and efficacy to all nations. There were,

    (1.) Partial manifestation of the Spirit as a result of charismatic giftedness of specific individuals upon whom the people were dependent. Now the gift of the Spirit is poured out upon all.

    (2.) Typological representations of the eschatological work of Christ hidden under earthly elements. These are now removed with the coming of Christ Himself and the Spirit gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    (3.) Human mediators who intervened between God and the people on an official level, whose sacrifices always brought sin and the need of a final atoning sacrifice to perpetual remembrance. Christ is the only Mediator and immediately deals with the elect by the ministry of the Holy Spirit applying the benefits of Christ to the conscience.

    (4.) Israel was the holy nation who enjoyed the benefits of the Spirit's work. Gentiles are incorporated into the covenant people of God, and the Holy Spirit is now poured out upon all flesh.

    There is a now/not-yet element, however. Because we are pilgrims in this world and are still in process of sanctification, we behold the glory of the Lord as in a glass, that is, through the ordinances of God by means of which He communicates to us the blessings of redemption.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  11. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Yes, I know Moses and David and Jeremiah and all the Old Testament saints had a new heart, but that was few and far between. Not all in the Old Covenant had a new heart, agreed? (I thought this is something both Baptists and paedobaptists would agree on).
     
  12. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Agreed. And not all in the New Covenant have one either.

    But a baptist won't likely agree with that statement. Why? Because the baptist doesn't agree that all these historic covenants are really just exhibitions of one Covenant of Grace.

    So, if you understand Rev.Winzer's statement, he is speaking of those who possessed the internal substance of the Old Covenant, and not just the external administration.

    When you say "few and far between," are you saying there was practically no one who was saved in the Old Testament (who had a new heart/birth)? Of course, there were many who weren't. Perhaps, over the course of the whole OT, maybe even a minority of the church. But so "few" saints? When Elijah complained that he was the "last one," God silenced his pity-party by telling him there were 7000 "who have not bowed the knee to Baal, and whose mouths have not kissed him."

    For our part, we simply reject the principle that the Old Covenant (Moses) was essentially carnal. David's statements prove to us that he describes the spiritual essence of the Old Covenant, without which there was no covenant relation other than Judgment. Not to have the "heart" of the Old Covenant, and only the "flesh," is no different from someone today having church membership, baptism, Lord's Supper, legal obedience, and not having Jesus.
     
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