Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Paraphrase of John Owen’s Paraphrase of Psalm 130

In the following, I will give you Owen's paraphrase, verse by verse of Psalm 130 -as he seeks give the sense of the prayer - followed by mine.

John Owen: Verses 1, 2.--O Lord, through my manifold sins and provocations, I have brought myself into great distresses. Mine iniquities are always before me, and I am ready to be overwhelmed with them, as with a flood of waters; for they have brought me into depths, wherein I am ready to be swallowed up. But yet, although my distress be great and perplexing, I do not, I dare not, utterly despond and cast away all hopes of relief or recovery. Nor do I seek unto any other remedy, way, or means of relief; but I apply myself to thee, Jehovah, to thee alone. And in this my application unto thee, the greatness and urgency of my troubles makes my soul urgent, earnest, and pressing in my supplications. Whilst I have no rest, I can give thee no rest. Oh, therefore, attend and hearken unto the voice of my crying and supplication.

Me: Verses 1 and 2 “O Lord, because of the ridiculous number and nature of my sins and the greatness of my failings, I have brought my soul into great distress. There isn’t a day, (or an hour) when I don’t think about them and as a result, I feel incredibly overwhelmed. Although I feel at times like I am drowning and beyond hope, I don’t dare to pack it in and cast away all hope of relief or recovery. Instead, I cry out to You. The more miserable I feel, the more determined I am to call out to you. As long as I have no rest, I cannot help but cry to You and to You alone. Therefore, I plead with you, O God, to hear me. Hear the cry of my heart.

John Owen : Verse 3.--It is true, O Lord, thou God great and terrible, that if thou shouldst deal with me in this condition, with any man living, with the best of thy saints, according to the strict and exact tenor of the law, which first represents itself to my guilty conscience and troubled soul; if thou shouldst take notice of, observe, and keep in remembrance, mine, or their, or the iniquity of any one, to the end that thou mightst deal with them, and recompense unto them according to the sentence thereof, there would be, neither for me nor them, any the least expectation of deliverance. All flesh must fail before thee, and the spirits which thou hast made, and that to eternity; for who could stand before thee when thou shouldst so execute thy displeasure?

Me: Verse 3 – I know, O Lord, that You are absolutely holy and that if You being perfect and unswervingly righteous, should deal with me, or anyone, even the best of all the saints, according to Your absolute standard of righteousness, that not one of us could stand. If you were to take note of and keep track of each and every one of us and our sins so that you could deal with us according to Your holy justice, that not one of us could expect to escape your just condemnation. If you were to execute your displeasure against each or any of us, who could stand?

John Owen: Verse 4.--But, O Lord, this is not absolutely and universally the state of things between thy Majesty and poor sinners; thou art in thy nature infinitely good and gracious, ready and free in the purposes of thy will to receive them. And there is such a blessed way made for the exercise of the holy inclinations and purposes of thy heart towards them, in the mediation and blood of thy dear Son, that they have assured foundations of concluding and believing that there is pardon and forgiveness with thee for them, and which, in the way of thine appointments, they may be partakers of. This way, therefore, will I, with all that fear thee, persist in. I will not give over, leave thee, or turn from thee, through my fears, discouragements, and despondencies; but will abide constantly in the observation of the worship which thou hast prescribed, and the performance of the obedience which thou dost require, having great encouragements so to do.

Me: Verse 4 – “But, O Lord, this is not the only way that You deal with sinners. You are, in and of Yourself, a God who is infinitely good and gracious, ready and willing in Your purposes to receive guilty sinners. You have made a wonderful way for You to be able to express your holy and loving desire to offer forgiveness to sinful people by providing the sacrificial gift of your own Son as a substitute for guilty sinners. In providing Jesus for us, you have given us a reasonable foundation to believe that there is forgiveness with You. It is for this reason alone, that I will, along with all those who believe in You, persist in calling out to you for forgiveness. Despite all the things that cause me to lose heart and begin to doubt that You love me, I will press on towards you rather than turn away. I will revere you rather than cower and crawl away. I will live for you, believing that You love and forgive sinners like me who sincerely seek to honour You.

John Owen: Verse 5.--And herein, upon the account of the forgiveness that is with thee, O Lord, do I wait with all patience, quietness, and perseverance. In this work is my whole soul engaged, even in an earnest expectation of thy approach unto me in a way of grace and mercy. And for my encouragement therein hast thou given out unto me a blessed word of grace, a faithful word of promise, whereon my hope is fixed.

Me: Verse 5 –And since I have this assurance in my soul that you are such a forgiving God, I will trust you with my life. I live everyday looking to you to be my Help and my Strength. You have promised in Your Word that I can count on you to care for me, both now and forever, and upon that promise I have banked my entire existence. I live my life, looking to You.

John Owen: Verse 6.--Yea, in the performance and discharge of this duty, my soul is intent upon thee, and in its whole frame turned towards thee, and that with such diligence and watchfulness in looking out after every way and means of thy appearance, of the manifestation of thyself, and coming unto me, that I excel therein those who, with longing desire, heedfulness, and earnest expectation, do wait and watch for the appearance of the morning; and that either that they may rest from their night watches, or have light for the duties of thy worship in the temple, which they are most delighted in.

Me: Verse 6 – In fact, as I live my life, the one thing I do is look to You, O Lord, to be my help and my salvation. I truly long to see You work in my life and there is nothing that I want more than to see You work in my life as You have promised. In former times, watchmen couldn’t wait to see the sunrise in the morning, relieving them of the concerns of guarding the city from night dangers. I watch for You more than they watched for the sunrise. I really long for You to come and to bless and to help Me, O God. I am eager for You to intervene in My life.

John Owen: Verses 7, 8.--Herein have I found that rest, peace, and satisfaction unto my own soul, that I cannot but invite and encourage others in the like condition to take the same course with me. Let, then, all the Israel of God, all that fear him, learn this of me, and from my experience. Be not hasty in your distresses, despond not, despair not, turn not aside unto other remedies; but hope in the Lord: for I can now, in an especial manner, give testimony unto this, that there is mercy with him suited unto your relief. Yea, whatever your distress be, the redemption that is with him is so bounteous, plenteous, and unsearchable, that the undoubted issue of your performance of this duty will be, that you shall be delivered from the guilt of all your sins and the perplexities of all your troubles.

Moi: Verse 7,8 – I have found such rest, peace and satisfaction in your forgiving and faithful love, o God, that I cannot help but invite and encourage others who feel the same distresses of soul to join me. Let all God’s people believe that God is a God who loves to forgive and who purposes to save and to restore. D not give up. Don’t let despair flood your soul. Don’t turn to other remedies to deal with your feelings of guilt and shame. Hope in the Lord. I can give testimony to the fact that whatever your distress may be, that the redemption that God offers is so bountiful, plentiful and unsearchable, that you will shall be, as you cry out to God, delivered from the guilt of all your sins and the perplexities of all your troubles.