Note from Kathy: In the sidebar, I have added an article on bible reading and the link to Megan Hill’s wonderful book on prayer.
This is the 3rd psalm of David in book five and it shows us the redemptive plan of god, and even the whole meaning of the kingship. Most of it is about a victorious king who God, himself, seats at His right hand. He promises to subject the king’s enemies to him that they will be no more than a footstool. (soldiers would put their feet on the neck of the defeated).
Jesus draws our attention to a detail in this text that we might otherwise overlook. It is so important that the three Synoptic gospels record His statement (Matt. 22:41-46).
The first Lord is God, using His covenant name, Yahweh, usually rendered LORD in our English translations. The second Lord is someone whom David calls “my Lord.”. Who is David’s Lord? That is Jesus question to the teachers of the law who were trying to trap him. Since this Lord is a king, and presumably a descendent of David, Jesus knows that David would not call one of his descendants “my Lord”. The teachers cannot answer Jesus second question.
Jesus and the apostles understood the meaning of the text. It is used by Peter in his Pentecost sermon to prove the superiority of Christ over David. (Acts 2:33-35). Act 2:34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, Act 2:35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ Act 2:36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Psalm 110 prophesies a priest-king as well as looking forward to a divine Christ. In the O T , no king of God’s people was allowed to function as a priest. This only occurred in pagan nations. Remember King Uzziah was punished with leprosy when he offered incense on the alter in the Holy Place. (2 Chron. 26). Heb 1:3 alludes to 110:1. Heb 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Hebrews 2:17 identifies Jesus as the High Priest of His people. Heb 2:17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Christ’s work as the high priest is not confined to the cross, but he still prays for us from his heavenly throne. (Heb 4:14-16) Heb 4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Since Jesus is not descended from Aaron or Levi, he is not qualified to take up the traditional priesthood. Heb. 5:4-6 shows Jesus was appointed by God. The writer of Hebrews also argues from Psalm 110 that the new priesthood of Christ is superior to the old Jewish priesthood. Abraham gave tithes to and received a blessing from Melchizedek which showed he was superior to Abraham and all his offspring, indicating Christ is the superior priest (Heb 7:1-10).
The first oracle (a divine communication or revelation), “sit at my right hand”, refers to Christ’s kingship as he is now seated at the right hand of the Father (acts 2:34-35) above all authorities and powers (Eph. 1:20-21). Eph 1:20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, Eph 1:21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
Christ is reigning from a position of honor until all his enemies are under his feet (1 Cor. 15:25. 1Co 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 1Co 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When Jesus comes again, his armies of heaven will follow him dressed in white linen. (Rev. 19:14)
The second oracle, “you are a priest” is also noted in the N T. Psalm 110:5-6 connects this priestshood with the conquest of enemies, which is a reminder that Jesus’ work as our priest cannot be separated from the defeat of all his enemies. His victory gives us confidence in our victory.
According to its title, David wrote Psalm 51 in response to his sin with Bathsheba a:1-14nd God had sent Nathan the prophet to confront him. David not only committed adultery, but arranged for the murder of her husband, Uriah, in order to cover up his sin. Read the story in 2 Samuel 12.
Psalm 51 shows us how we should react to our sin. We have to see the reality of our sin and then repent, turning from sin and turning to God. Sinclair Ferguson says” Faith cannot exist where there is no repentance…I cannot come to Christ in faith without turning from sin in repentance…They are two sides of the same coin of belonging to Jesus.
We see three nouns used to present different aspects of sin.
- Cross a boundary, or break a rule (we have all violated God’s law.
- Means perversion or corruption (our desires are offensive as well as our actions)
- To fall short or miss the mark Paul says this applies to all of us Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
We see after repentance David desires to walk with God. Psa 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psa 51:11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
He indicates that our blessings are restored by repentance.
Repentance is not something we do only to become Christians for the first time. Nor is it only for Christians who have serious sin in their life. Repentance is the mode in which Christians humbly live their entire lives. Sinclair Ferguson says “repentance is characteristic of the whole life, not the action of a single moment….Salvation means we are actually being saved”.
Christ in Psalm 51
How can we relate this psalm about individual sin to Christ? How could he pray a psalm of confession when he had not sin? He can pray this psalm as our representative and priest before our holy God. As our priest, he did not offer sacrifices but offered himself as our sacrifice to God. Heb 9:12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. In John 17 Christ prays for those who will believe in the future. Joh 17:9
Although he was sinless, he became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21) Because Jesus is our substitute and takes our place it is appropriate for him to confess our sins as he bears them in his sacrificial death. In being answerable for our guilt, he has confessed and repented on our behalf. He knows our sin, because our sin has become his sin as he bears our sin on the cross. He knew sin had to be dealt with in relationship to the Father and that his perfect life and sacrifice would be the way that sinful man would be justified before God.
We can be thankful that Christ himself has confessed our sins and has taken our sins as his own as he hung upon the cross.