He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. He will drink from a brook beside way; therefore he will lift up his head. Psalm 110:6-7
Certainly not a psalm that will find its way into worship very often, the psalter includes oracles such as this as Israel looked forward to the coming of the Messianic King-Priest. The imagery of bloodshed and the defeat of enemies make modern ears cringe, living as we do in the era of the Prince of Peace. This is a clue to our reading though, as the spirit-inspired psalmist points forward to the True King.
Psalm 110 is the most quoted of the psalms in the New Testament. As the Pharisees made a feeble attempt to trap Him with trick questions, Christ responded with a question that they could not answer. Saying that David must be the father of the Christ, Jesus confronts them with the very words of David in the first verse of the psalm. They are quieted. Including the gospel parallels to this event, the psalm is quoted or alluded to 27 times. It is the greatest of the Messianic psalms.
You see, what is often read as words for the coronation of an earthly, human king are were, in fact, David extolling the coming of The Son. The Messiah’s followers will offer their lives as living sacrifices (Rom 12:1). The four stanzas divided in the NIV point to four aspects of the Lordship of Christ: His might reign (v1), His spiritual reign (vv. 2-3), His priestly reign (v4) and His judicial reign (vv. 5-7). Here in the season of Advent, as we ponder the babe in the manger, we gain a new perspective of all that was anticipated from the innocent child.
And we worship Him from the distance of time.
Grace and peace to you..
image by Andy Grellmann