| 76 Sermons on the Old Testament
Yes, I am here in response to your request that I write you a sermon for those people who may be interested in learning more about the Gospel which I really preached when on earth -- a Gospel designed to show man the Way to Immortality through possession of the Father's Love through prayer and the resultant transformation of man's soul from a human soul to one possessed of the essence of God and hence Divine.
In my last sermon I showed how Hosea, the great prophet of Israel, saw punishment approaching as a result of the iniquities and moral degradation to which the Northern Kingdom had descended. But I have also said that Hosea was not right in thinking that it was the Father who was bringing the punishment for sin, for the Father does not punish.
In my last writing I have shown how Hosea, through personal sorrow, learned that as man loved with a human love, so did the Father love with a Divine Love, and that this love meant that God sought the return of His erring children, at this period of civilization, His chosen people Israel. It meant that while this return had been made by Israel itself, on free will, yet God would make an effort to teach or educate His children, so that Israel would love the Father. It meant that the lessons in the education might be accompanied by unpleasant experiences.
I wish to turn now from the discussion of the earlier Psalms, and open the books of the Prophets. Here is where we have the essence of what is most noble in the Jewish religion, in that it elevates religion to a sublime cult of righteousness, ethical conduct and morality, not only for the nation, but for the individual. To a considerable degree, they go hand and hand with, stimulated and motivated, the laws of the Pentateuch, the legal instruments that provide the practical application of the standards set up by the Prophets.
The 23rd. Psalm is the one that is best loved and remembered of all the odd 150 psalms that we possess, before mention is made of those which have been brought to light through the recent Dead Sea Scroll discoveries. It is the one that is most concise, most poetic, most inspirational, and this means not only for the Hebrew people, but for all others where the Old Testament is a part of religious heritage.
In this sermon I wish to speak to you about David's attitude towards Temple sacrifices. There are many expressions in the Psalms indicating that David did not look with favor on them, and there are just as many statements to the contrary: that David whole-heartedly supported the Temple sacrifices. Many writers there are, and have been, who believe David never wrote verses either for or against them, and that their presence proves that David never wrote these Psalms, or any other.
I wish now to discuss Psalm 18, which also appears in Second Samuel Chapter 22, under the title "David's song of deliverance." The writer affirms that "the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul."
In my last sermon I have indicated briefly from some of the psalms how David really regretted that justice under his administration was something which had not been achieved with success because the efforts of establishing a strong kingdom had withdrawn his energies from the domestic issues.