Elul Meditation: Even Mother and Father

Psalm 27 is read morning and evening throughout this month of Elul and to the end of Sukkot.

Perhaps the most poignant verse in Psalm 27 is vs. 10. It is odd in its surrounding of petitions. Is it an affirmation or a petition?

כּי–אבי ואמּי עזבוני
Ki avi v’imi azavuni
Though my father and mother abandon me
ויי יאספני
v’Adonai ya’as’feini
Adonai will take me in

But, it could also be rendered, “If my father and mother abandon me, may Adonai take me in.”

Vs. 10 is in the midst of a series of petitions:
Hear me, O Lord, when I cry out
Have mercy on me
Do not reject me
Do not push your servant away
Do not forsake or abandon me

Vs. 9 has the same verb for abandon as vs. 10.

So, David says to God, “do not abandon me,” and then speaks of parents abandoning while Adonai will take him in.

The psalm mixes petitions and affirmations throughout, making it hard to know if vs. 10 is affirming that God will not abandon or petitioning that he might not abandon. On one line, David is fearful and needy and on the next he expresses trust.

Either way, if David is hopeful that God will be his last hope or if David affirms that God will be his last hope, when all others fail, the meaning is essentially the same.

No love goes deeper or offers more hope. No love is as deep and unfailing. The love of parents is strong, but the love of the Father is even deeper.

Whether we or David has certainty of God’s unfailing love or if we simply have hope for it, the bottom line is we can depend on no one and no thing like we can God. And the uncertain hope and the certain affirmation of trust depend on our emotions at the time we consider the question. But we know God is unchanging, perfect. Therefore we can read vs. 10 as affirmation and also make it our petition.

Though the deepest human love should fail, God will take us in. We need not be uncertain.


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Bible, Holidays, Judaism, Love, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Elul Meditation: Even Mother and Father

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  2. erinjanes says:

    As I have grown older, my father passed away and my mother is elderly and requires extra care and assistance from me.

    My thoughts on the verse you talk about today is that our parents don’t abandon us intentionally. They grow old. They don’t hear as well, or think as quickly as they did when they were young and raising us. And the role and area of responsibility as parent changes over time.

    Yet the role of God in our lives does not change and his word stands forever.

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