Weds 22nd March - Psalm 110
Of David. A psalm.
1 The Lord says to my lord:[a]
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
3 Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.[b]
4 The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
- Psalm 110:1 Or Lord
- Psalm 110:3 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
- Psalm 110:5 Or My lord is at your right hand, Lord
- Psalm 110:7 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
Meditation on Psalm 110
This psalm is one of those Priest-King psalms. Other examples are Psalms 2; 45 and 72.
It is related to the life and rule of a king of Israel.
It may have been used when David and the following Davidic kings were crowned in Jerusalem.
This psalm is quoted more frequently in the New Testament than any other psalm.
Matthew and Mark record Jesus using this opening verse in Matthew 22:43-35; Mark 12:36-37 in answer to a question from the Pharisees.
Peter quoted it when he preached on the Day of Pentecost – Acts 2:34-35.
Paul referred to it when he was explaining the rule and dominion of Jesus the Messiah – 1 Corinthians 15:25.
In Hebrews 1:13 the writer is referring to the superiority of Jesus the Messiah over any angel.
In Hebrews 10:13 the writer is also explaining the rule and dominion of Jesus the Messiah.
Spurgeon sums it all up in this explanation. ‘How condescending on Jehovah’s part to permit a mortal ear to hear and a human pen to record His secret converse with His co-equal Son, herein made public for the refreshing of His people’.
What a fascinating start to this psalm. It would be fascinating as a start of any psalm or any other chapter in the Bible.
Some translations don’t separate out the different interpretations of ‘the Lord’. This means that the opening sentence is ‘the Lord said to the Lord.’
Let’s unpack that phrase as in the original – ‘the LORD (Yahweh – the name of the covenant making and keeping God of Israel) said to my Lord (Adonai – superior to David)…’
Here is a prophetic voice looking ahead to the coming Messiah. Whilst David is the king of Israel he is inferior to the one who is seated at God’s right hand.
We know that David won many battles as a warrior-king.
We know that David’s enemies were well and truly defeated as if the king walked over them.
We know that David’s reign was extended as he won his many battles.
We know that David’s armies were willing to go with him into battle.
All this looks forward to Jesus. Having died on the cross, been buried and coming back to life, He is now at the right hand of God, as if God said to Him, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
We know that the Kingdom of Jesus is being extended as people come to faith in Him.
We know that He is the ruler of the nations.
We know that as people are coming to faith they are joining the Lord’s army and taking His message of salvation around the globe.
Then suddenly, in verse 4, we are back listening to the voice of the LORD (Yahweh).
This time we move away from royalty to the priesthood. But not to any priesthood. No, to the priesthood of Melchizedek. Come back to Genesis 14:18-20. Melchizedek was both King of Salem and Priest of God Most High. David, King of Israel, was a descendant of Melchizedek and Jesus is a descendant of David.
Just as the beginning of this psalm is a prophecy looking forward to Jesus so we come back to the prophecy that looks forward to Jesus becoming our great High Priest.
The writer to the Hebrews spends some time thinking about this priesthood – Hebrews 6:19-8:13.
Just as the Lord is seated at the right hand of God as King, so he is at the right and of God as Priest.
And, says the psalmist, He will be victorious over all those who are His enemies – Verses 5-6.
He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
He is the Judge who will have the final say over all the nations and all the peoples.
As He goes into battle He will be refreshed.
As He goes into battle He will lift His head up high – He is the all-conquering King.
As Poole says, ‘He shall be delivered from all His sorrows and sufferings and exalted to great glory and joy.’
In 1982 Wendy Churchill wrote the following hymn which seems to sum up this psalm
Jesus Is King and I will extol Him
Give Him the glory, and honour His Name.
He reigns on high, enthroned In the Heavens
Word of the Father, exalted for us
We have a hope that Is steadfast and certain
Gone through the Curtain and touching the throne
We have a Priest who Is there Interceding
Pouring His grace on our lives day by day
We come to Him, our Priest and Apostle
Clothed In His glory and bearing His Name
Laying our lives with gladness before Him
Filled with His Spirit we worship the King.