Psalm 85. Who’s On First? What’s On Second?


Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 85. (MsgB)

Love and Truth meet in the street,
Right Living and Whole Living embrace and kiss!
Truth sprouts green from the ground,
Right Living pours down from the skies!
Oh yes! God gives Goodness and Beauty;
Our land responds with Bounty and Blessing.
Right Living strides out before Him,
And clears a path for His passage.


Back in the day, comedians Lou Costello and Bud Abbott had a classic standup routine that poked fun at the interesting nicknames given to so many baseball players. Brothers Dizzy and Daffy Dean, Babe Ruth, Pee Wee Reese and Casey Stengel were just a few of the well-known players with memorable monikers. So when Abbott and Costello wrote their now-famous skit called ‘Who’s on First? What’s on Second,’ audiences roared. Seems we all enjoy the fun surrounding times when everyday folks like us get royally confused in our day-to-day conversations!

Eugene Peterson’s unique translation of verses 10 through 13 in Psalm 85 in his Message Bible makes me reminisce of that famed Abbot and Costello skit. Giving proper names to inanimate objects such as Love, Truth, Right Living, and more at first seems strange to our ears. But now that I think about it, I wonder if Peterson just might be onto something good here with his approach.

What if you and I, for example, began seeing Love and Truth as actual friends we invite into our lives? What if I began looking at Right Living and Whole Living as close comrades I joined up with each day as I headed off to work?

And then there’s Goodness and Beauty. Two long-time associates of God who are assigned by the Almighty to join those down here who are actually smart enough to ask. And don’t forget Bounty and Blessing. Two business partners who have worked together in God’s corporation for years. These guys are worth getting to know. Especially if you’re fortunate enough to have them pay you a personal visit from time to time.

So what do you say, Lou?

Who’s on first?

Love.

That leaves Truth on second.

Right Living and Whole Living cover shortstop and third.

Goodness and Beauty are in left and center field.

Bounty’s in right, and Blessing is the catcher.

The pitcher, you say?

That would be Yahweh, right?

Now, you’re getting it Bud. Now you’re getting it.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

My prayer: Father, thank You for Your eight dear friends: Love, Truth, Right Living, Whole Living, Goodness, Beauty, Bounty and Blessing. Forgive me for overlooking them or treating them as lifeless objects. I choose today, Lord, to invite all of Your friends over to my house so we can truly get to know each other much better. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: How might my appreciation of these eight God-friends improve if I began treating them more as living beings rather than dry, crusty words? What might it look like for me to take these excellent, praiseworthy gifts from God and begin to ‘think about such things’?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?


Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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