Monday, January 21, 2013

EJ100 #19 Psalm 110:1-7

Today's reading: Psalm 110:1-7.

This psalm is found in the fifth and last book of the psalms; it takes a positive prophetic tone.

The first verse of this psalm is quoted directly three times in the New Testament, and alluded to very obviously in another place. Jesus, Peter, and the writer of Hebrews draw out several implications from this verse:

[Luke 20:41-44] Jesus quotes 110:1 to show the people that the Christ cannot be David's direct son (ie, cannot be Solomon); by inference, the Christ is David's Son by being of his bloodline, yet also being greater than David.

[Acts 2:34-36] Peter says David's Lord ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God, unlike David, who did not ascend to heaven; therefore the people present are to understand that "God has made this Jesus ... both Lord and Christ."

[Hebrews 1:13] God did not say he would raise up an angel to sit at his right hand and have his enemies prostrated below an angel; rather, it was Jesus the Christ who God so raised up.

[Hebrews 10:12-14] Describes the actions of the one priest who waits for the fulfillment of the second half of this verse, having already taken part in the first:
"But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." [Hebrews 10:12-14] 
Jesus is the Christ who was foreshadowed in this psalm.

The author of Hebrews was obviously familiar with psalm 110, because he directly quotes it again (twice!) later in his letter [Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6 and 7:17]. This verse refers to Melchizedek, king of Salem in the time of Abraham.

Who was Melchizedek? I'll let the author of Hebrews provide that information as well, although he was originally written about in the book of Genesis [Genesis 14:18].
"This Melchizedek was king of Salem [later Jerusalem] and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means 'king of righteousness'; then also, 'king of Salem' means 'king of peace.' Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life [according to what we know from the Genesis record], like the Son of God he remains a priest forever." [Hebrews 7:1-3]
The writer goes on to say that Melchizedek was certainly greater than Abraham and Levi. He gives three evidences: Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of his plunder just as the Israelites tithe to the Levitical priests, Melchizedek blessed Abraham, and Levi had yet to be born.

Perfection could not be obtained through the religious acts of the Levitical priesthood. Otherwise there would have been no need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek rather than that of Aaron.

The letter to the Hebrews informs us:
  • Jesus was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek [Hebrews 5:10].
  • Jesus has entered the inner (temple) sanctuary on our behalf; he has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek [Hebrews 6:20].
  • Jesus has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation regarding his ancestry, but "on the basis of the power of an indestructible life" [Hebrews 7:16].
Jesus is the high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek (rather than the Aaronic priesthood) who was foreshadowed in this psalm.

Psalm 110:3 says, "Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendour, your young men will come to you..." That's a big challenge to me. Am I willing to go into battle under the standard of Jesus Christ?

Paul writes about fighting a spiritual war against forces which are not human but spiritual in nature - including the devil himself [Ephesians 6:10-12]. Am I ready for this battle, arrayed in the holy splendour of the battle armour Paul describes in Ephesians 6:13-18?

> Are you ready for this battle? How will you prepare?

Paul wrote to the Corinthians describing the weapons with which I fight this spiritual battle against the devil's schemes:
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." [2 Corinthians 10:3-5]
The last verse from the above passage has been my favourite verse for a long time, one which I return to again and again. I remind myself that I am called to a life that serves the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And Jesus has given me the power, through his Holy Spirit who dwells within me, to demolish strongholds and arguments and pretensions that are antagonistic to that truth. Bring on the power, Jesus!

Why do I love and worship Jesus?
Jesus is not a short-term solution. He is my high priest forever, who has completed his sacrificial act and now sits (rests) at the right hand (the position of 2IC authority), awaiting the completion of the Father's plan to submit everything to him.

Lord Jesus,
I submit myself to you.
I ask that you use me,
through your divine power,
to break down
strongly held wrong beliefs about you,
to debate and render defunct
the arguments of those who defy you,
to expose and destroy
any pretensions of truth that undermine the Truth,
as ever you give me opportunity.

Tomorrow's reading: Psalm 118:1-29.


Anonymous said...

A wonderful prayer in response. Thanks for your posts. Shelley xx

Sharon said...

Thanks, as ever, for your encouragement Shelley.