Sunday, April 23, 2006


jIH DichDaq ghobe' taH vIp vo' wa'maHmey vo' SaDmey vo' ghotpu 'Iv ghaj cher themselves Daq jIH Daq Hoch retlh.

I will not be afraid of tens of thousands of people who have set themselves against me on every side. Psalm 3:6

(click for podcast version)

not 'ebwIj ja' - never tell me the odds!

So said a certain Corellian pilot long ago, in a galaxy far, far away. And that sentiment might well express a certain Klingon bravado, as well as David's confidence in this Psalm.

Granted, usually the Klingon attitude is one of cunning and SELF-reliance, as expressed in the familiar proverb:

qaStaHvIS wa' ram loS
SaD Hugh SIjlaH
qetbogh loD

Four thousand throats
may be cut in one night
by a running man.

SaD - thousand - is the Klingon word to consider in this verse. It's a huge number, at least when considering pitting one's efforts against a thousand - or wa'maHmey vo' SaDmey - TENS of thousands. While it isn't clear that it is a literal number - the Hebrew word rbabah (reb-aw-baw') may be translated as many, million, or, ten thousand - it IS clear that what faced David was an enemy that, practically speaking, was impossible to overcome.

Klingon too, did not originally have a word for "thousand." In fact early Klingons only had a three-based numbering system. Counting was 1, 2, 3, 3+1, 3+2 and so on. The decimal system we're familiar was only adopted to conform with more widespread galactic practices. So for a Klingon as well - "tens of thousands" of an enemy force may just be a way of describing insurmountable odds.

As I've noted before a Klingon proverb exists to describe their response to "insurmountable odds" : reH 'eb tu'lu' - there is always a chance. In other words, never give up.

But what is the source of that confidence? It's one thing to be self-assured, but another to be unrealistic. Spurgeon notes about this Psalm:

Observe that [David] does not attempt to under estimate the number or wisdom of his enemies. He reckons them at tens of thousands, and he views them as cunning huntsmen chasing him with cruel skill.

It's key for believers to rely on fellowship with one another. David could look back at his life, from facing Goliath and on, to see how God had delivered him. Through scripture, and the lives of other believers, we can connect to the history we all share, of a God who makes - AND KEEPS - promises.

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is a vital resource in understanding this. There we read of men and women of faith and how they triumphed.

who, through faith subdued kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, grew mighty in war, and caused foreign armies to flee. (33-34)

Though the author doesn't sugar-coat things:

Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Others were tried by mocking and scourging .... (35-36)

The Bible shows us that David, and countless faithful have perservered through faith - in the face of impossible odds - as an example and model for us. Hebrews chapter 12 makes that clear for us:

Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us... [Heb 12:1]

As Han told C3PO:

not 'ebwIj ja' - never tell me the odds!

He's right - the odds DON'T matter. For no matter what happens, no matter how many thousands we face, God will be there when we trust in him.

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