Framed

Published with Permission

Written by Mark Hamby

www.lamplighter.net

www.TOSMagazine.Com

 

Language is important to God. Yet, many drift through life without any real dialogue with a God Who desires to be personal.

Gene Edward Veith, author of Reading Between the Lines, writes:

We can never know anyone intimately by simply being in that person’s presence. We need to have a conversation in order to share our thoughts and our personalities. By the same token, we need a conversation with God—a two-way conversation through language—in order to know Him on a personal basis. Just as human beings address God by means of language through prayer, God addresses human beings by means of language in the pages of Scripture. Prayer and Bible reading are central to a personal relationship with God.

 To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at one of the ways God communicates with us. In Psalm 117 we have what is called a framing device, where the opening and closing lines are identical—“Praise the Lord” and “Praise the Lord.” In Psalm 118 we have a similar framing with these words: “O give thanks unto the Lord.” The beauty of God’s Word becomes even more expressive and lovely when our eyes are open to the larger framing with Psalms 135 and Psalm 136 being a mirror image of 117 and 118. See in the diagram below how these verses mirror each other:

Psalm 117:1                               O praise the Lord

Psalm 117:2                     Praise ye the Lord

Psalm 118:1            O give thanks unto the Lord

Psalm 118:29                    O give thanks unto the Lord

Psalm 135:1            Praise ye the Lord

Psalm 135:21                    Praise ye the Lord

Psalm 136:1            O give thanks unto the Lord

Psalm 136:26        O give thanks unto the God of heaven

This intentional framing design is one of the ways that God communicates His love to us. It’s not just what He says, but how He says it. There is beauty and art even in the form of His words. At the center of God’s Word is found one of the most remarkable truths given to man, but first let’s take a closer look at Psalm 117 and 118 compared with Psalm 135 and 136. As you can see in the chart above, we have an artistic framing technique of communication.

When I first came upon this unique feature, I wondered what the purpose was for the framing. Then it occurred to me that frames highlight and accentuate what is being framed. Psalms 117–118 and 135–136 frame Psalm 119 and the Ascent Psalms 120–134. A closer look at these framed Psalms shows that they are divided into two parts: Psalm 119, which focuses on the Word of God, and Psalms 120 through 134, which are the fifteen Ascent Psalms. These two central themes, the Word of God and Ascending to the Presence of God, are framed and highlighted as the centerpiece of the Bible.

God has framed a unique, artistic, and unforgettable truth as the literal center of the Bible. Traditionally, scholars have argued that both Psalm 117 and Psalm 118 are at the center. However, they have missed the fact that this larger framed structure is not only the centerpiece of the Scriptures but also conveys what may be the most important truth ever given to man!

What is this truth? In Psalm 119, we see 172 references to the Word of God. That would be like Jesus saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto you” 172 times! God is stressing that the Word of God, emphasized in Psalm 119, is extremely important. The next framed section, known as the 15 Ascent Psalms, focuses on songs that were to be sung on the fifteen steps of the Temple, prior to entering the presence of God.

Those who possess the greatest and most lasting joy and fulfillment in life pursue God’s presence through the light and lamp of His Word. If there was one thing that I could do differently I would take one year with each of my children and focus solely on reading through the Word of God. My reasoning is due to Deuteronomy 17, where God commands that before a new king begins his duties, he must write out every Word of God and read it daily so that he will not forget. I believe that if we became more intimately connected with the Word of God and the God of the Word, we would experience the treasures of what is promised in Psalm 119 and the fifteen Ascent Psalms. What are those promises? Like all treasure, it is waiting to be found. Enjoy a framed section of God’s “artwork” below:

117:1                     O praise the Lord

Psalm 117:2            Praise ye the Lord

Psalm 118:1            O give thanks unto the Lord

Psalm 118:29                    O give thanks unto the Lord

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