Thursday, September 1, 2011

Psalm 110 & 19 - Jesus as King, Priest, and Messiah

LINK/BACKGROUND:

Psalm 110 - This is a prophetic psalm. It is alluded to or quoted more in the New Testament than any other psalm (110:1 at least 25 times and 110:4 another five times). It is quoted by Jesus in Matthew 22:43; 26:64, Mark 12:36, and Luke 20:42. It is also quoted by Peter in Acts 2:33-35. Another important quote is in Hebrews 1:13. David prophesied about the Messiah (Acts 2:30; 2 Samuel 23:2). He stated that Jesus was not only a king but a priest forever. This is a claim that no other Jewish king could make (110:4; 2 Chronicles 26:16-23, Zechariah 6:12-13). 

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

The reference to the "order of Melchizedek" refers to a story we read in Genesis 14:18 (Hebrews 7:1). Melchizedek was the king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the Most High God.  No priest descended from Aaron was also a king. In addition, the Aaronic priest was not eternal (Hebrews 7:21-26, 28). Since Jesus was not from the line of Aaron, His priesthood was like the king/priest position of Melchizedek. The writer emphasized four times that Melchizedek was a type of Christ (Hebrews 5:6; 6:20; 7:17, 21). 

Psalm 19 
“Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more seriously reflection concentrates upon them: the starry heaven above me and the moral law within me.”   
German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)  on Psalm 19 in Critique of Practical Reason, p. 2.
REFLECTION

I have been listening to Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis. What he says on Psalm 19, takes my breath away:
I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world. Most readers will remember its structure; six verses about Nature, five about the Law, and four of personal prayer. The actual words supply no logical connection between the first and second movements. In this way its technique resembles that of the most modern poetry. A modern poet would pass with similar abruptness from one theme to another and leave you to find out the connecting link for yourself. But then he would possibly be doing this quite deliberately; he might have, though he chose to conceal, a perfectly clear and conscious link in his own mind which he could express to you in logical prose if he wanted to. I doubt if the ancient poet was like that. I think he felt, effortlessly and without reflecting on it, so close a connection, indeed (for his imagination) such an identity, between his first theme and his second that he passed from one to the other without realising that he had made any transition. First he thinks of the sky; how, day after day, the pageantry we see there shows us the splendour of its Creator. Then he thinks of the sun, the bridal joyousness of its rising, the unimaginable speed of its daily voyage from east to west. Finally, of its heat; not of course the mild heats of our climate but the cloudless, blinding, tyrannous rays hammering the hills, searching every cranny. The key phrase on which the whole poem depends is "there is nothing hid from the heat thereof". It pierces everywhere with its strong, clean ardour. Then at once, in verse 7 he is talking of something else, which hardly seems to him something else because it is so like the all-piercing, all-detecting sunshine. The Law is "undefiled", the Law gives light, it is clean and everlasting, it is "sweet". No on can improve on this and nothing can more fully admit us to the old Jewish feeling about the Law; luminous, severe, disinfectant, exultant. One hardly needs to add that this poet is wholly free from self-righteousness and the last section is concerned with his "secret faults". As he has felt the sun, perhaps in the desert, searching him out in every nook of shade where he attempted to hide from it, so he feels the Law searching out all the hiding-places of his soul. (p.53-55) 
Isn't that beautiful? (It took me a long time to grasp C.S. Lewis and his writings on faith, but it was well-worth the effort.) 

APPLICATION/PRAYER

Allow God to search out all the "hiding-places" of your soul as you pray through both of these Psalms.
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