Psalm 110 sings confidence: Israel’s God upholds Israel’s king.
This royal psalm celebrates the king as the one anointed to rule and empowered to vanquish all of Israel’s enemies.
This famous psalm also seeds the tradition that understands God’s anointed one to be “prophet, priest and king.”
Living in The Story takes a second look at this important psalm and how it nurtures Christianity’s prophetic imagination.
The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Much of our Bible assumes a violent culture in the ancient world of its origins. Armies and battles, victories and defeats, walled cities and calls to arms defined daily life for many of these nations and their inhabitants.
For Israel, Yahweh God became the quintessential warrior god.
From the Lord’s overwhelming defeat of the army of Egypt to the conquering of the Promised Land to the the establishing of David’s monarchy, God was seen as One who went before them in battle to save and secure Israel.
The LORD sends out from Zion your mighty scepter: Rule in the midst of your foes…
From the womb of the morning, like dew, your youth will come to you.
In the imagination of Israel, Zion was God the King’s ultimate dwelling place: the holy throne situated in the highest heavenlies.
Thus everything built in the Temple signified and symbolized these invisible heavenly realities.
Even though Israel often used the words “Zion” and “Jerusalem” interchangeably, the city and the Temple were always and only physical metaphors that pointed to the spiritual unseen-ness of God’s presence in Zion.
Psalm 110 sees Yahweh the King as the Source of an eternal divine authority that establishes Israel’s kings with a consequent divine authority.
(Jump to the New Testament and recall that Luke also used Psalm 110 as a basis for his Christology of kingship. In Acts 2, Peter’s Pentecost sermon sees the Risen Christ as heir to David’s throne: The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right handuntil I make your enemies your footstool.”)
But here is a twist: along with kingship, the psalmist of 110 claims Israel’s kingly leader also is a priest.
Continue reading “Psalm 110 (another look)”