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Psalm 110 part 1

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A favourite Psalm.
Who has got a favourite Psalm? [P] Psalm 1 is a favourite of John’s. I remember taking Sunday school, the lesson was set on introducing the Psalms. I asked my class of 7-year olds if anyone had a favourite Psalm; expecting a blank response. A little girl said, “Yes, Psalm 90. I love it because it is so depressing.” Well, that knocked the wind out of my sails. A lot of us have a Psalm that is especially precious to us. I do! And I am the last one you would expect to; I mean, me and poetry don’t get on. If I am reading a book and it has a few lines in verse; my eyes sort of glaze over and I skip over to where the prose resumes. Some people really appreciate poetry – Robin writes songs, Dion crafts poems; but poetry just ain’t my thing. So, it shouldn’t be me talking about a Psalm! But, like most of you, I have a favourite Psalm. In fact, there are several: Psalm 73: “Whom have I in heaven besides Thee? And there is none upon the earth that I desire besides Thee …. God is the strength of my life and my portion forever!Psalm 27 was given to me at my baptism: “יהוה is my light and my salvation, whom then shall I fear? …. One thing have I desired of יהוה and that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of יהוה all the days of my life. To behold the beauty of יהוה and to enquire in His temple.” Your favourite Psalm probably reveals something about you and your relationship with God. But the very first Psalm that was “mine” was Psalm 16; and it is still a favourite of mine. I was a little nipper at the time; and I was crook. Mum wasn’t home – I think she was out with Loraine at Girls’ Rally. So, Dad was left at home looking after a sick child. Being a nurse is not really his gifting! So, how do you console a miserable, sick, little boy – maybe I was 6 or 7. Do you give him a cuddle, sing him a song?; no, you preach him a sermon! So, Dad shared Psalm 16 with me! And it became “mine”! It was my special Psalm. There was only one Psalm for me. In fact, back in those days Dad a bit of a reputation for preaching on the Psalms. He would be invited to churches and I would go along with him. This was some years later, and Dad was preaching at Bryndwr Baptist. He got up and asked everyone to turn to the most beloved Psalm. And, of course, all the congregation turned to …. Where? Psalm 23! Well, all the congregation except one. Paul turned to Psalm 16! Psalm 23? What’s that! But without any question, Psalm 23 is by far the most well-known, most beloved, most favourite Psalm. Even non-believers know it. The Sunday School is learning it. But it hasn’t always been so. In New Testament times there were 5 top favourite Psalms that outstripped all others in popularity: [P] – that is the number of times they are either quoted or alluded to in the New Testament. Psalm 2; Psalm 69, Psalm 118; and the two most popular: Psalms 22 and Psalm 110, both alluded to 22 times in the New Testament; Psalm 23 didn’t figure in the popularity stakes. Why were these Psalms so popular? Well, Psalm 22 accurately prophesied Jesus’ crucifixion. But Psalm 110 [P] is quoted more than any other. The New Testament establishes no less than 10 different truths from just the first verse of this Psalm. One other thing about this Psalm: it is universally considered to be Messianic – be you Jew or Gentile, Christian or not; today, throughout rabbinic history, in Jesus’ day, in fact Jesus Himself did. Everyone agrees (and that doesn’t happen often) that this Psalm is talking about the Messiah. You may recall that last time I spoke I said that I had spent too much time in the Old Testament; and here I am in the Psalms. Well, it is my intention to do a little series looking at the New Testament use of this Psalm 110. But before we look at the New Testament interpretation and commentary; we ought to look at the Psalm itself. So, today is just an introduction to this beloved, favourite Psalm. Everyone knows that Psalms are poetry; and the thing about poetry is that it doesn’t just come out and say something – it hints! That may be one reason why I don’t take to it – I mean, if you want to say something just come out and say it! Don’t mess around. You know like Nathaniel: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” A man without guile – plain speaking what you mean. But poetry alludes to stuff, your mental processing has to fill in the substance; so that there is more in the poem than a plain surface reading. So, you are not going to get all that is in this Psalm at one reading in church. You need to go home and read and read and read and read it. Meditate upon it – that’s your homework. Get a feel for the Psalm, absorb it, let its allusions direct the way your thoughts run. There is a danger, that in analysing poetry – we can kill it. It is a bit like explaining a joke – it is no longer funny. We used to have to read books for English at school. Sometimes they weren’t bad; but by the time you had analysed them, noted the themes, seen the symbolism, done character studies, detected the style – you had destroyed it. I don’t want to analyse this Psalm to pieces; what I’m going to do is point out a few allusions that I see in the Psalm as a key; you know the ignition key that gets the car started. Here a few seed points that are in the Psalm that you can pursue in your meditation. But first let’s read the Psalm: [P]
Psalm 110 (NASB95)
A Psalm of David.
1 יהוה says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
2 יהוה will stretch forth Your strong sceptre from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
3 Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew.
4 יהוה has sworn and will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”
5 The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.
6 He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.
7 He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up His head.
What are a few things that this Psalm is talking about?
1. Exaltation: [P] First of all there is “exaltation” – this is something that יהוה decrees [P]יהוה said …” God Himself is going to exalt. What does He decree? [P]Sit at My right hand” – that is the place of honour. And יהוה is supreme! So, that is being told to sit in the place of highest honour. This is exaltation to the highest place! Then it says: [P]יהוה will stretch forth …” this is יהוה placing in rulership (it’s “His sceptre”). God is placing in authority over all. God is exalting. It says: [P]יהוה has sworn and will not change His mind” – He is exalting by His own full authority, with absolute certainty into a position of honour: as spiritual head. It says [P]Lift up His head” – it is speaking of exaltation, placing high above others.
2. Rule [P] Secondly there is “rule” – [P]Your strong sceptre from Zion” – a king has a sceptre, it is a symbol of his authority, his rule. יהוה is going to place His enemies [P]under His feet as a footstool” – being placed under His feet, means in submission. He is King ruling over them. It says: [P]Rule in the midst of your enemies” – it is explicit: “Rule” being King, ruling over those in opposition to you.
3. Opposition [P] And opposition there is! Twice it speaks of “enemies”: [P]enemies as a footstool”; and [P]in the midst of Your enemies”. Later on, it mentions [P]shattering kings” – why were the kings shattered? – because they rose in opposition to the King. But although there is opposition to the rule of the One who יהוה exalted; there is also:
4. Support [P] It speaks of [P]Your people volunteering in the day of Your power” – they came to His aid, assisting Him as He goes forth in might. [P]Your youth are to You as the dew” – the dew refreshes, restores life and vitality to that which is wilting – that is what these young people did for their King. They supported Him. Then there is Divine support: [P]The Lord is at Your right hand” – God Himself is there aiding Him, His right-hand-man, so to speak (though of course He is not a man!) – there shattering the kings that oppose Him. The shattering of kings of course is:
5. Conquest [P] When your [P]enemies are a footstool under your feet” then you have conquered them! They are in utter subjection under you. It speaks of: [P]the day of Your power” – when He goes forth in power, in might and conquers those in opposition to Him. Yes, there is opposition; but the opposition is vanquished, destroyed. The King conquers! [P]He will shatter kings” – they might pretend to rule, but the rulers are shattered! He conquers them. It is a picture of conquest! This is not metaphorical or allegorical – it is pitched battle – the conquest is real and bloody: [P]He will fill them with corpses!” Not only will He shatter kings, He will also: [P]shatter the chief men” – all the mighty, those who claim to be something, to be great – utterly vanquished in a glorious conquest. I hope you are not squeamish as Christians – it is a bloody and vicious battle but the victory, the conquest is overwhelming! Then in stark, and utter contrast, the Psalm talks about:
6. Priesthood [P] It says, speaking of this same king that rules and conquers, that [P]You will be a priest forever” – not only King, but Priest. Not civil and military rule; but a spiritual office – one who comes before God on behalf of people. One who offers sacrifices and gifts. It is a spiritual role and office. No longer are we talking about defeating men; but about coming into the presence of God! He will be a “priest forever” a perpetual priesthood. Of course, the current priesthood was not perpetual nor was it from the royal line – this was a different order of priesthood, it speaks of the [P]order of Melchizedek”. Now where did he get that from?! He is only mentioned briefly, almost incidentally, in the story of Abraham – He was “priest of God most high” Melchizedek was a priest and a king. A priest’s role was to distinguish between the holy and the profane, to sanctify things, make them holy – when it speaks of [P]in holy array” – this is the role of the priest, to make holy.
7. Judgement [P] The Psalm also speaks of “judgement” – this was the role of both kings and priests to pronounce judgement: the king in civil matters, the priest in religious and ritual matters. It says [P]He will judge among the nations”. It also speaks of [P]the day of His wrath” – this is the day when judgement is issued and retribution taken for the wrongs committed. The “day of His wrath” – is Judgement Day! If I were going to hold all things connected together, I would stop there. But there is something else in this Psalm. Here we have this one who is exalted as King to rule; He has opposition but is supported and conquers His enemies. This King is also Priest – and in those dual role judges in both civil and spiritual matters. Somewhat in contrast to this might, is the theme of:
8. Refreshing [P] It speaks of [P]: “the womb of the dawn” – the womb gives birth, new life; the dawn is the beginning of a new day – it is a new fresh start. A new thing, fresh and new. It also speaks of [P]the dew” – Israel goes for months without rain. In the dry parts the dew of the morning is what refreshed the ground. The parched plants would be refreshed by the dew, reinvigorated to last another day as the sun came up. With the same image of being parched we read: [P]He will drink from the brook” – there is a repeated picture of refreshing; being reinvigorated when you are dry, parched, worn out, about to pack it in; but refreshing comes.
Well, I have left just about nothing underlined! There is just one other repeated thing that comes through in this Psalm. No more room for lines, so let’s use circles! Here we go!: [P]יהוה says”; [P]I make”; [P]יהוה will stretch forth”; [P]יהוה has sworn”; [P]He will”; [P]He will”; [P]He will”; [P]He will”; [P]He will”; [P]He will”. Do you get the message?! This Psalm is all about what יהוה and His Messiah do. It is all about what God decrees; He is going to do it. “He will”! (6x). It is assured! It is a Divine plan and purpose that is going to be carried out. So, there are a few things that are in the psalm; I leave it to you to follow through on those allusions. But what is the Psalm talking about? Some people think it is very important to know exactly the context and background, the culture, the setting, what the author was going through; that kind of thing; before you can interpret a passage. That would be the case if we were looking at something written by man, we would want to understand the situation of the man who wrote it; but we are not looking at something written by man! We do not know what the context of this Psalm was! We can guess – but that is all it would be; and our understanding would be based upon a 21st century understanding of 1000 B.C. not as it actually was in 1000 B.C. We would be depending on man’s understanding. And the thing is: the Psalm wasn’t written by man. Yes, David wrote it; but I don’t think that even David himself understood the full implications of what he was writing. Jesus Himself implied that this was the case when He quoted this Psalm. No, David was inspired by the Holy Spirit. [2 Peter 1:20–21 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.] Yes, David wrote it; but He was moved by the Holy Spirit; and he spoke from God! This is God speaking! We can spend a lot of effort in research looking at earthly background but be looking into the wrong thing! I prefer to make things simple. My approach to interpreting Scripture is very simple – I got it from Jesus! He said: [P] [John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these [P] that testify about Me;]. The interpretation is simple! [P] What is Psalm 110 talking about? It’s talking about Jesus! [P] This Psalm is prophetic, it is speaking about Jesus – it is end-times prophecy – just notice how many of the following verses come from Revelation chapter 19 and 20. When you go home and read and meditate upon this Psalm, meditate upon JESUS!
1. Exaltation: [P] Jesus is exalted! Those wonderful verses we know so well tell us: [Philippians 2:9–11 For this reason also, (that is because Jesus willingly lay down His life on the cross) God highly exalted Him, (like we saw in Psalm 110, it is יהוה’s doing! He …) and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, (exalted above all, His supremacy acknowledged by all) to the glory of God the Father.] Jesus is exalted to the highest position, that is at יהוה’s right hand: [Acts 2:33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.] Jesus came to earth, humbled Himself, but then ascended back to that place of supremacy that He had from the foundation of the world: [Mark 16:19 So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.] The highest place; for a little while He was lower but now, He is exalted in glory! Hallelujah! [Hebrews 2:9 But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour,] Jesus is exalted above all! Glory to His Name! Crowned – He is King.
2. Rule [P] Jesus will rule over all! He is King – that is why He came. Standing trial before Pilate Jesus testified: [John 18:37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”] The truth was that He is King. That is how He will return. This Psalm is prophesying the future!: [Revelation 19:16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”] What is the Name that is above all Names? “King of kings and Lord of lords”! He is a King and He rules, sitting upon a throne: [Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.] Why were they fleeing? Because they are opposed to Him, they do not want His rule!
3. Opposition [P] There is opposition to Jesus. [Revelation 19:19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.] And what staggers me, is that Jesus will rule for 1000 years – perfect, righteous, just rule – righteousness, peace joy in the Holy Spirit. Never has there been an administration like it! And then, at the end of that perfect rule …… man will still rebel! In the next chapter: [Revelation 20:7–8 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. ] Myriads opposed to Jesus, after they have experienced perfect righteous just rule! They do not want righteousness and justice; they delight in evil, in deception. So, they make war against Jesus, the Messiah. He goes to war against those these enemies.
4. Support [P] And in that battle Jesus is supported – we read it: “against His army” This is most amazing – Jesus is supported! – I mean He doesn’t need to be supported. Ultimately He will destroy the opposition with the breathe of His coming: [2 Thessalonians 2:8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;] He is God, all powerful! Yet, His saints are with Him. We have the privilege of partaking with Him in victory. He doesn’t need our help, but still He is supported by His army; [Revelation 19:14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.] Now that may be angelic armies; or it may be the saints. But Jesus is supported. Not only in conquering but also in judging and ruling: [Revelation 20:4 Then I saw thrones, (ruling) and they sat on them, (ruling with Jesus) and judgment was given to them. (executing judgement with Jesus) And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. ] – ruling with Jesus – Jesus is supported in His rule. But from the Psalm it you notice that there is both support from men and from יהוה – In verse 3 it is “Your people” and “Your youth”; but in verse 5 it is “the Lord” that is at Your right hand. I will refer to this Divine support a bit later. But Jesus; who could very easily do it without aid, who doesn’t need our support; chooses to do so with it. This is an awesome thing! That we can be involved and share in His Divine purposes!
5. Conquest [P] There is vehement, satanic, opposition to Jesus. But He conquers. He has conquered – He defeated satan, sin and death at Calvary – and He trod that winepress alone. But Jesus will conquer – in the future: [Revelation 19:15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. Revelation 19:18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” ] They are utterly vanquished! In the later rebellion, it is the same: [Revelation 20:9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints (there is the opposition and those supporting Jesus) and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. ] Completely destroyed, absolute conquest! Hallelujah! Don’t give thought to the dualist notion that satan and Jesus are battling out in some near equal battle. None can oppose Jesus – He completely vanquishes all! He came in meekness, but He will return in might!
6. Priesthood [P] In utter contrast to this militaristic picture; is the role of Jesus as Great High Priest. Jesus is both King of kings and the Great High Priest. This was never seen in Israel. Kings and priests came from totally different tribes – this was a different order of priesthood. I intend to look at this in another session but suffice to say; not only is Jesus clearly portrayed as King; He is also clearly portrayed as Priest – the One who represents us before יהוה: [Hebrews 4:14–15 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, (who is He?) Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.] Hebrews 2:17–18 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.]
7. Judgement [P] Jesus will judge the world. [Acts 17:31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”] That is Jesus, isn’t it? [John 5:22 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, John 5:27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.] This takes place at the end: [Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.]
8. Refreshing [P] Undoubtedly this Psalm is about Jesus; but what about this refreshing? The Messiah does not need refreshing, does He? He is God, Almighty who does not get weary! We known that when Jesus was here as a man, that He got tired and hungry. He got fed up, exasperated, with both His disciples and the people. [Matthew 17:17 And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?] But when He comes in power and glory?! The “dew” and “brook” – are water, symbols of the Holy Spirit. [P] And it is the Spirit of God that refreshes [Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,] He empowers and renews us. We get weary form working hard but in Hebrews it speaks of a Sabbath rest: [Hebrews 4:9–10 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.] The Sabbath rest is entered when you cease from your own works. [P] Repeatedly it says in the Gospel of John that Jesus did nothing of His own initiative but only what the Father was doing. Do you remember Jesus at Jacob’s well in Samaria?: [John 4:6 and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.] The disciples went off to get some food to refresh Him; then Jesus spoke to the woman at the well. Then the disciples returned: [John 4:31–34 Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.] Jesus was weary; but was refreshed by doing, not His own will but His Father’s. This is the key to refreshing: 1/ not doing things in your own power but by the power of the Holy Spirit and 2/ Not doing your own will, your own works but the will and works of our Father. If you are weary, in need of refreshing – chances are that you are either not operating in the Spirit, in His power; or you are carrying out you own agenda, not God’s. That’s what ran through this Psalm (remember the circles?) – it was all יהוה’s doing! [Isaiah 50:4-9 The Lord יהוה has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. (it is God’s Word, His will that refreshes) He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. Isaiah 50:5 The Lord יהוה has opened My ear; and I was not disobedient nor did I turn back. (He did His will) … For the Lord יהוה helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed. …. Behold, the Lord יהוה helps Me; Who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; The moth will eat them.] They will wear out but the one operating in the Spirit, doing יהוה’s works will be refreshed. This is the key to the way the Messiah Himself operates; Jesus, there is none like Him! Hallelujah! He is exalted far above all, rules over all, conquers all, is judge over all and who comes before יהוה on our behalf! All glory to His Name!
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