What Can I Do For You

There’s a post about that Dylan song at Right Wing Bob:

The lectionary followed by many churches today would have featured Paul, from Romans, chapter 7, including these lines:

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

[…]

For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

The Dylan reference that St. Paul is making there is in that question, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” It’s from Bob’s song, What Can I Do For You?. In Bob’s usage, he is referring to man generally, and he sings, “Who would deliver him from the death he’s bound to die?”

The verse that contains this line features a veritably wonderful scriptural progression, when you think about it. The whole verse goes:

Soon as a man is born, you know the sparks begin to fly,
He gets wise in his own eyes and he’s made to believe a lie.
Who would deliver him from the death he’s bound to die?
Well, You’ve done it all and there’s no more anyone can pretend to do.
What can I do for You?

“Soon as a man is born, you know the sparks begin to fly” — that is Job, chapter 5, verse 7. In context:

Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;

Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:

The next line of Bob’s verse is the wonderful, “He gets wise in his own eyes and he’s made to believe a lie.”

Scripture contains multiple references to the trap that becoming wise in one’s own eyes constitutes. It might be called an underlying theme of the whole business. You can find it in Proverbs, chapter 3, verse 7: “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” And also in Proverbs, chapter 12, verse 15: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” It comes up again in Isaiah, chapter 5, verse 21: “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” And there are other verses in the Bible saying the same thing.

So, having described the quandary inherent in being born and the lethal traps set for man, Dylan’s song presents that question as also asked by Paul, “Who would deliver him from the death he’s bound to die?”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s