On many occasions we’ve reminded you to remember everyone that is present in and around the Biblical text. There are often actors in the foreground, living out a scene in real history; there are also actors offstage who are visible to those onstage but not always evident in the text – like when Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt were vying for supremacy. There is the LORD, the primary actor and subject of the Bible. There are writers, who write with purpose and point of view. And there is the audience, to whom the composition is written and to whom an author takes a posture of informing, encouraging, or persuading. These “characters,” if you will, are always present, but shift between foreground, background, and offstage positions.
I mention all this to call attention to the importance of the congregation in the Psalms. Though many Psalms are composed from a personal aspect – as though we’re eavesdropping on a moment of prayer between a worshipper and his God – they often intimate that their expected audience is public. There is a model of leadership here: the Psalmist declares “I will give thanks to you, O LORD… I will sing praises to You among the nations,” and expects the harp and lyre to awake. When he calls, “Praise the LORD!” today, he gives thanks “in the company of the upright, in the congregation.”
With all this in mind, there’s one Psalm today that stands out as unique. Pay attention to the details of Psalm 110: The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” The words we use for “Lord” are not interchangeable. You’ll remember that the capitalized LORD is how English Bibles represent “Yahweh” – the name of Israel’s God. The lowercase version of Lord translates as an earthly ruler or master. So the author is sharing that “Yahweh, the Most High God,” said to my master, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Listen further: “The LORD sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!” To whom is the writer speaking? The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Remember him? The king and priest of Genesis 14? What is the writer talking about? What is the purpose of this Psalm? Who, or what is being celebrated? And where does the congregation fit in here? Read Psalm 110 thoroughly, and map the words in your mind.
Our verses for this week are Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalms 108 through 112. Now let’s read it!
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.