Ep.237: Psalm 110: Who’s In Charge Here?

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.

In Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, General Macbeth’s wife encourages him to stage a coup, murder King Duncan, and take the Scottish throne. During Macbeth’s brief, paranoid, and murderous rule, she is the power behind the throne. 

If we ask, “Who was the power behind the throne of Israel?”, Psalm 110 gives this answer:
  The Lord said to my master,
      “Sit at my right hand
          until I make your enemies
          a footstool for your feet”.
  The Lord will extend your mighty sceptre from Zion, saying,
      “Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
    Arrayed in holy splendour,
        your young men will come to you
        like dew from the morning’s womb (vv. 1-3). 

The Lord Jehovah is clearly the power behind the throne of Israel. Don’t look for a General and Lady Macbeth fiasco, with a manipulative partner inciting rebellion. No, this is the almighty God of the universe inviting the king of Israel to sit at his right hand and participate in God’s rule of the whole world. 

Modern scholarship classifies this as a royal psalm, probably written by a court poet or composer, in praise of the king of Israel. But the New Testament interprets this psalm as speaking in King David’s voice. David’s comment, “The Lord (God) said to my master” prompts the question, “David wasn’t a slave to anyone. Who is this person he calls his master?” 

In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees were waiting for a Messiah who would have King David in his family tree. Jesus quoted Psalm 110 and asked the Pharisees, “Who is this person, King David’s master, who God invites to sit at his right hand? You think it is the Messiah, but the Messiah is David’s son, not his master. How can he be greater than David?” The Pharisees were stumped.  (See Mat 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44). 

Psalm 110 also references Melchizedek, a king and priest of Jerusalem in Abraham’s time. He blessed Abraham and served him bread and wine. Abraham responded by tithing his spoils of war to Melchizedek. The Book of Hebrews interprets this as applicable to Jesus, the Messiah, quoting our psalm:
    The Lord has sworn
        and will not change his mind:
      “You are a priest forever,
        in the order of Melchizedek.”  

Let’s pray. 

Our father, we can’t imagine you saying to modern world leaders, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” That seems to be an offer reserved for Old Testament characters like King David, or perhaps for his son, the Messiah.

Like Israel, we wait for a Messiah who will set the world right, shatter the heads of evil rulers, and bring justice and peace. We also look for a forever priest in the line of Melchizedek, a king of righteousness, who will come in holy splendor wearing the bright dew of morning (v. 3). 

All praise to you, our father. All praise to Christ who sits at your right hand, waiting for you to make his enemies his footstool. All praise to the Holy Spirit who broods over the world, calling us to truth and righteousness. All praise to you, triune God, as you reign forever in glory. 

Amen.

I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.