A very warm welcome and greetings once again from the Payne household.
We are going to continue this morning in our series in the Psalms of David. Now 2 weeks ago I had the pleasure of sharing with you from the Psalm 73, arguably not one of the Psalms of David but rather a Psalm who’s authorship was attributed to Asaph, a worship leader, who wrote a Psalm to David. I realise that I was playing a little “fast and loose” with the series title, but felt that the message in the Psalm was worth the risk.
The Psalm focused on adopting a God-orientated perspective on life. You see Asaph had become distracted by the fortune and prosperity of the wicked and he had started to doubt his dedication to God, he had even gone as far as believing that living a life following God had been in vain. It is only when he enters the presence of God that his perspective is changed and he sees the futility of his thinking. The long term prospects of the wicked are not good, ultimately the wicked will see destruction and God and his people will triumph.
The purpose of this Psalm was to identify our doubt, to acknowledge our need to change our perspective, to acknowledge that we cannot do this ourselves, and to rely solely on Him.
This message, of course, is not isolated! Rather it is the repeating central theme within all of scripture. This is at the heart of our salvation story. And so Psalm 73 served as a reminder, a wake up call of sorts.
Why? Why does God choose to repeat this message over, and over again?
Well the reason is buried here in Psalm 73, and I am not sure if I emphasised this point enough. Adopting a God-orientated perspective is not something we can do under our own steam. You see in our fallen state, it is not that we just don’t know, but rather in our wickedness we actively suppress the truth.Romans 1:18
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness
Nor is it that this God-orientated perspective is a destination that we arrive at once we are saved. The things of God need to be revealed to us continuously.
An example of this is when Jesus on the day of his resurrection appears to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The disciples were discussing the events of the last couple of days. Jesus questions them and it is clear that although they have all the facts the head to heart journey hasn’t yet taken place. And he chastises them.Luke 24:25
“How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
Jesus then spends time unpacking the scriptures, which point to Christ, to them… their response...
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Again later that same evening he appears to the disciples in the upper room and says:
“This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
You see the understanding of the scriptures is through revelation only
And so this morning, with this in mind, I would like you to open your bibles to Psalm 110.
It is my earnest prayer this morning that collectively our understanding may be opened to see the things concerning Christ in this precious psalm, and that the Holy Spirit who inspired them will help us to interpret them and apply them with power to our hearts.
Now before I read the Psalm you will be pleased to note that the authorship of this psalm is in no doubt! Right here at the beginning, right under the title, boldly stated is the author “Of David. A psalm”
Not only that but no other psalm in scripture is so emphatically endorsed by other scripture as Psalm 110 (14 times it is quoted). Not only do Peter & Paul and the author of Hebrews make the identification, but it is Christ himself who confirms David as the author. Recorded both in Matthew 22 & Mark 12, Jesus makes two points; David is the author; and David is inspired by the Holy Spirit, when he called his son (descendent) his Lord.
Nor is the subject of the psalm under any doubt. Although it is fair to argue that the readers would have not necessarily known that the psalm was about Jesus. Jesus himself makes the connection.
As Jesus taught in the temple court just days before his crucifixion, He makes a subtle and yet undeniable announcement. With a crowd gathered round him, Jesus asks a question about the Psalm and before the discussion is over this is clear: Jesus lays claim to Psalm 110, and that the Psalm is about Him.
The authorship of the Psalm and its subject are clear.
So what is it that is so special about this Psalm, why is it the most quoted, what is it about the psalm that the entire book, Hebrews, expounds upon it. Well that's what we are going to find out this morning, so let's read together.
READ PSALM 110
So this Psalm is what we refer to as a Messianic psalm or a psalm about the Messiah.
Messianic Psalms are psalms that speak, in some way, to either the person or the work of Jesus. It could be a single verse or a paragraph, or in this case the whole thing.
Psalm 110 is a messianic psalm, because it describes a coming and victorious King. A king who will be exalted to a place of honour, who will be given sovereignty and who will defeat all His enemies.
The psalm itself is 7 verses long, and can be broken up into two parts. The first (v1-3, 5-7) speaks to Jesus our Victorious King - Our great Hope. The second is a single verse (v4) that speaks to Christ our Eternal Priest - Our great assurance.
And so this morning we are going to look at these two blessed representations of Christ
However before we launch into and unpack these two parts there is a rather strange opening sentence that requires some investigation.
The Lord says to my lord
At first glance this does not make sense. David was the King of Israel, an all conquering king of great military prowess, surely there is no other person who holds a higher position than himself. So who would he refer to as Lord? To whom would he swear fealty?
This is the same question that Jesus poses to the crowd in the temple courtyard.Matthew 22:41-45
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David,” they replied.
43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,
45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”
Of course the answer to Jesus' question is that David, the greatest king the Israel nation has known, is acknowledging the Messiah as God and King.
So we have a situation where David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, pens the psalm as though he is overhearing a conversation between God the Father (the LORD) and God the Son (the Lord).
And in this conversation the Father is making these great declarations about who the Son will be and what he will accomplish.
This is not second hand information, it is as though David is a fly on the wall of the very throne room in heaven itself.
The Victorious King | Our Great Hope
The King’s Position (v1)
And so as he overhears this conversation God the Father issues two commands, the first is to sit, and the second is to rule. Each of these commands are clear and complete. The first in v1 establishes Christ in the place of honour and asserts His position.
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
For someone in a position of high rank to put someone at their right hand was to give them equal honour with themself. They were recognising that this person was of equal dignity and authority.
In ancient culture this place of honour was not necessarily granted as a right of birth nor directly from birth, but rather once something had been accomplished.
When the Father tells the son to sit at His right hand, he is telling him that once His work on the cross is complete, He will sit down in a place of honour and authority.
As emphatically as man rejected Christ, so does the Father exalt Him.Mark 16:19
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
The King’s Rule (v2)
The second command comes in v2 where God the Father instructs the Son and gives Him full rule and reign.
2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
God the Father, the Supreme Being; the Creator and Ruler of all that is; the Self-existent One who is perfect in power, goodness, and wisdom. The one that has complete authority places his son, Jesus Christ at his right hand and in so doing gives Him all authority, recognising his Kingship.
While the fullness of His reign isn’t yet visible or seen by all, it is certain. He now reigns and will forever reign with majesty and might.
What does this mean? This means that Christ is already reigning and ruling at the right hand of God, and that his enemies have been permitted to remain for a time while God continues His work of Redemption.
A day is coming where God will subdue all His enemies and Christ’s victory will be seen by all, but until such time his enemies will remain. However, because the enemies of God remain should not cause us to be discouraged. It does not diminish his power and authority nor his complete victory on the cross… rather immense relief, why? It is because of this period of Grace that we have come to salvation!
The King’s People (v3)
I don’t know about you but I am getting old! I know it may not seem like it… because I am so young at heart, but it is true. When I was young, aches and pains would disappear overnight, magically healing themselves while I slept. Now it seems as though those aches and pains have had a party over night and a couple of friends have joined them. I hear via the grapevine that this only gets worse!
In verse 3 we read a verse full of symbolism the Psalm describes what is likely the day of resurrection when the King’s power and authority are fully revealed to all, and we as believers full of vigour, and fully sanctified will join him.
All the aches and pains, all the fatigue is gone, Ali will be like a young man once again...
We look forward to the day when we will stand with our king, but although we must wait we must not be idle. Rather we are called to live lives in full allegiance with him, to live lives that honour him!Colossians 3:1-4
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
The King’s Judgement and Victory (v5-7)
V5-7 then in vivid language describes the wrath of God, and that both God the Father and Son will destroy all those that oppose him.
What a terrible day it will be, how sobering is this description of God’s judgement
Crush, Judge, heaping up the dead… Christ the Warrior
And yet what great comfort and hope we have knowing that Christ will be victorious.
We do not revel in the destruction of the wicked, rather it is our desire, as it is Christ, that all will repent and avoid God’s judgement, and yet we can take great comfort knowing that there is no one who can oppose Him! The victory is assured! What HOPE we have in Christ.
Our Great Assurance | Jesus the Eternal Priest (v4)
Verse 4 then brings us to the center and the climax of the Psalm. And the verse begins with God making a divine oath.
4 The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
Why does he do this, for his sake? No, for ours! Although a short verse the significance of it must not be missed and God doubles down in a way and provides us with a sure assurance.
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
There are only three scriptures that speak of Melchizedek:
Genesis | historically
Psalm | prophetically
Hebrews | doctrinally
Historically he suddenly appears, blesses Abraham in the name of the Most High God, and then disappears just as suddenly. Although we do not know much about him, we know that he was both king and priest at the same time.
Why is this significant? You see these were two separate offices, and as far as man is concerned, God separated the two.
Uzziah, in his pride, tried to bring the two together and perform the role of both priest and king, and, for his troubles, God smote him with leprosy.
The role of both Priest and King were to be reserved solely for the Messiah.
You see, to know that Jesus is the sovereign King who will silence and subdue his enemies is only good news if we are right with God.
The role of the priest in the old testament was to intercede on our behalf. Make sacrifices and to burn incense to make offerings that would atone for our sin. The problem was that the role of the priest and the offerings that they made were temporary. They did not last.
1 Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. 4 And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.
5 In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.”[a]
6 And he says in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”[b]
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
What this verse clearly lays out for us is that Jesus doesn’t come only as a Great King, which he surely is, but also as a perfect, final priest that is in a position to bring us into a right relationship with God. He intercedes on our behalf before the very throne of God.
The psalm ends in v7 with a picture of a warrior reaching a valley where there is small stream of water, and he drinks from the waters and is refreshed… and as he drinks he lifts up his head
If one is disheartened, or distraught we hang our heads low… the distress we are feeling can be seen physically in the way we carry ourselves!
As we have considered the psalm this morning, as the Holy Spirit has opened the scriptures and instructed us, we should have grown in hope and assurance.
Hope because the King is on His throne and He will come in victory.
Assurance because we have a priest through whom we can draw near to God, both now and forever more.