I will confess, I enjoyed, ahem... really enjoyed Shakespeare’s works. I loved getting lost in the language, could have done without all the tragedy, but so enjoyed the way things were said. It was romantic, and tragic, funny, but solemn. We of our modern age, have released so many words and phrasings that were truly remarkable expressions; it is part of the reason I study in older translations of the Bible. We have taken so much away from what we read, by making it easy to understand, and God isn’t easy to understand. He tells us that often- our minds cannot contain Him; yet we place Him in newly written books and change His words to reflect our culture, instead of our culture reflecting Him.
For comparison: The 1599 Geneva Text
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wondrously made: marvelous are thy works, and my soul knoweth it well.
15 My bones are not hid from thee, though I was made in a secret place, and fashioned beneath in the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see me, when I was without form: for in thy book were all things written, which in continuance were fashioned, when there was none of them before.
The Message Text
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
The Message text is beautiful- please don’t misunderstand me, but there is something of substance in the 1599 Geneva Text. Kinda of like the older hymns that we have phased out over the years. There will never be a time that How Great Thou Art will not bring a tear to my eye. Written in 1859 as a poem and then turned into a song. We push to make everything more relevant, and nothing is ever enough- this insatiable need to do more, make it better and revitalize it; it’s our enemies way of making us spin our wheels, while we get no where. The goal should be to glorify God, not make it better than someone else’s work. An example of what I am saying would be, instead of me focusing on making I Exalt Thee sound more contemporary for people, I should be saying, God how can You use me singing this song to prompt change in someone else. It ISN’T about the music, or the words- it IS THE PRESENCE of Almighty God.
He makes things appealing to His creation, that may want to become His children. That isn’t for you and me to do! Within the Psalms 139 text above, I am moved by both writings, and while one is definitely a quicker more understood interpretation, it is not the one we should all read as we study the word. It makes it pretty, something to share with a new believer maybe. Someone who is maturing in the faith, needs the meat of the word. Because I can read every study someone else has done, but it won’t change me until I have been affected by it. When I read “For thou has possessed my reins…” I am taken to an entirely different place than “You shaped me inside and out”. It’s completely different to me. Please note the words-to me… no harsh emails needed. We all have a place! 🙂
If you shaped me inside and out, you are telling me you made me. You created my body. When you say- You have possessed my reins- you are telling me that you control me, that you guide me. As a horse would be guided by the gentle tugging of the reins, you guide me that way, kindly- gently, and when I am close to harm you command full attention to those reins. You aren’t sitting by watching me spin from nothing into something in my mothers womb- He is hands on.
It could just be that this is the way I feel Him. The beauty of God is that He makes us individually different, to reach this culture, the world differently. He need the tender, and abrasive, the vocal, and the listener equally. He created those qualities in you, to use them for His glory.
Get lost in the language today of an older text Bible- and if you are lost instead of found in it- forget everything I said, and sit with Him in the peace and tender writing of the Message Text. If you start running to Him, I promise He will do more than meet you in the middle- He will scoop you up in His arms and just sit with you on porch of Heaven.