Today’s reading: Psalms 108-114.
King David wrote Psalm 110 about 1000 BC. How do we know he wrote it? Jesus said so (Matthew 22:41-46). In these seven verses David looked all the way back to Genesis and an enigmatic contemporary of Abraham named Melchizedek, and all the way forward to Revelation when Jesus will return to rule on earth.
The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:1-4
These verses are said to be the Old Testament verses most often quoted in the New Testament. Jesus quoted them to emphasize that the Messiah would not only be a son of David but also the son of God (the religious leaders of his day couldn’t accept that). Peter quoted them to prove that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 2:34-35). The writer of Hebrews quoted them to prove the surpassing excellency of Jesus (Hebrews 1:13).
To understand its meaning better, let’s take a look at the opening verse.
- “The LORD” translated from Jehovah
- “says” from a word that means the prophetic voice of God
- “to my Lord” from the root word for Adonai, meaning master or ruler or God
The opening verse could be stated, “Jehovah proclaims prophetically to my Lord and master, my king and God.” God proclaims that the coming Messiah will rule like a king, conquering all his enemies, and intercede for his people like a priest, removing their sin so that they can enter God’s presence. He is not a priest in the line of Aaron, whose work ended with the destruction of the temple, but in the order of Melchizedek, who was king and priest long before Aaron lived and whose priestly office had no known beginning or end.
It’s fitting that this proclamation comes near the middle of the Bible, looking back to its beginning and forward to its conclusion, and showing that God’s plan has always been in place. Beyond its theology, however, it’s important for you and me practically.
- We need to remember that Jesus now sits at the right hand of God where he intercedes for us daily. There is no problem that we cannot take to him.
- We need to remember that God will intervene to ensure that Jesus is victorious over his enemies. There is no peril that will overcome us or him.
“Therefore shall he lift up the head.” His own head shall be lifted high in victory, and his people, in him, shall be upraised also. When he passed this way before, he was burdened and had stern work laid upon him; but in his second advent he will win an easy victory; aforetime he was the man of sorrows, but when he comes a second time his head will be lifted in triumph. Let his saints rejoice with him. “Lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” C.H. Spurgeon
Image by Lawrence OP on Flickr, CC by-nc 2.0