Book Notes: Theophan’s Commentary on Psalm 118: verses 117-118

Psalm 118Psalm 118:
A Commentary
by Saint Theophan the Recluse

by Saint John of Kronstadt Press, 2014

VERSE 117:
Help me and I shall be saved;
and I will meditate on Thy statutes continually.

He feels the need of continuous aid, as he doesn’t know when the enemy will attack.
Hope does not set aside prayer.

Attack by the enemies will never find unaware the one who hopes and prays in hope;
they dare not even come close to him.
Hopeful prayer covers the soul with a certain protective screen;
therefore the enemies do not see where to aim their arrows.
p. 258

Prayer as a protective screen against the enemy? Neat image that should speak to a lot, in a time of many scifi movies!

Keep talking to God in prayer, so the enemy won’t attack you, just as burglars don’t dare come in if they hear conversation in the house.

One who prays is like a bird, soaring high in the air,
neither to be captured by net, nor reached by an arrow.
p. 259

But if the birds gets down, enticed by some earthly seeds/pleasure, it will get caught.

VERSE 118:
Thou has set at naught all that depart from Thy statutes,
for unrighteous is their inward thought.

The support comes here from reflecting on what happens to those who depart from His statutesThat goes again the suggestion of the enemy that sin is nothing.

Then the author goes through several punishments: out of Eden, Noah, Lot’s wife, Pharaoh, Babylonian captivity, etc.

We can sin in deeds and thoughts: unrighteous is their inward thought.

This is a difficult chapter. It’s hard to keep the balance between a loving and merciful God, and the idea of punishment, of a God that would be changing depending if we are good or bad. This chapter sounds more like Western spirituality.

Any reflection on these quotes?

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