Hero and King
A Psalm by David.
1 YHWH says to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet.”
2 YHWH will send forth the rod of your strength out of Zion.
Rule in the midst of your enemies.
3 Your people offer themselves willingly in the day of your power, in holy array.
Out of the womb of the morning, you have the dew of your youth.
4 YHWH has sworn, and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
5 The Lord is at your right hand.
He will crush kings in the day of his wrath.
6 He will judge among the nations.
He will heap up dead bodies.
He will crush the ruler of the whole earth.
7 He will drink of the brook in the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.
World English Bible
Who is your hero? How is this person your leader?
Do you or does the man in your life wear a watch? The practice of men wearing watches dates back to the mid-1920's. Mega movie star, Rudolph Valentino, wore a watch on screen, and, thus, began a trend and an industry. Before Valentino premiered the time piece on his wrist, watches were considered a woman’s fashion statement. But, because he was considered a cultural icon, Valentino changed a perception almost over night.
We’ve all had heroes, people we admire for their looks, their personality, or their character. These people represent something to us. They set the pace of culture, government, even style. Because they define a direction for us, we follow. We are drawn to them for their qualities.
When do we make them our heroes? Many times, an event sets them above the rest; that event resonates with us, for it reveals the qualities that connect with us. In ancient Israel, the coronation ceremony acted as that event. It was an event that defined the leader and his relationship with his subjects. He became the nation; his will was law, his judgment was absolute, his worship was the people’s religion. The king rallied the people, and the people rallied around the king.
Psalm 110 was a royal psalm. Many scholars believe it was part of the coronation ceremony for the Davidic kings. It can be divided into five parts:
1. God’s invitation to rule (110:1).
2. The power God gave to the king over his people (110:2-3). Notice the sign of the king (the royal scepter) was a gift from God, despite a rule in the midst of enemies. The scepter also defined the covenant the people had with the king. The people would come to the king on Zion and offer themselves; the young would freely give themselves for military or civic duty in the name of the king and the nation.
3. The declaration of the king as the nation’s worship leader (110:4). The title “priest in the order of Melchizedek” was an ancient title for the king of Jerusalem that preceded David’s conquest of the city. Melchizedek was the priest-king of Salem in Genesis 14; he offered sacrifice for Abraham to the “Most High God.” Since Melchizedek had no origin or destiny in the passage, this title referred to an eternal status. In other words, the king who bore this title was in line of kings that would last forever. (It is interesting that the Hasomonean kings used this title against the Zadokite family who controlled the high priest position until the Maccabeean revolution in 165 BC.)
4. The obligations God will perform for the king as part of the Davidic covenant (110:5-6). God would lead the king against his enemies (the idolatrous nations) with judgment on the “Day of YHWH.” On that day, enemies would be subdued, and their kings would be dethroned.
5. The final ritual of the coronation (110:7). The king drank from the life-giving water given to him by God (from the spring of Gidon, the water supply for Jerusalem), then assumed his stature as the monarch (“lifts up his head”).
Notice the flow of Psalm hooks with God’s invitation and declaration for the king; the king’s power depends upon God’s providence.
With the destruction of the nation and the exile in Babylon, the psalm lost its immediate connection. Some used the psalm in Messianic terms. Clearly, the early Church used Psalm 110 in connection with Jesus of Nazareth; 110:1 was quoted in Matthew 22:44; 26:64; Acts 2:34-35; 1 Corinthians 15:25; Hebrews 1:13; 10:13. For Christians, the royal psalm foreshadowed the reign of the Messiah.
Heroes. We all need someone to emulate and to point the way. Christ is our hero, our Lord, our King. He is the one who deserves our praise and loyalty. He dedicates himself to us and we follow him.
How do you declare Jesus as King? How do you pledge your loyalty to him?