DAY 3: THE GLORY OF THE LORD ACCORDING TO KING DAVID
Yòn khi Lōng wu yōn ndhi lōng Dauda sat
Mhiship | Psalm 110
The Lord says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
– Psalm 110:1
Psalm 110 is triumphant! It has the aura of royalty, and in it, King David speaks poetically about the authority of royalty to ably rule a dynasty and about the wielded power of royalty to conquer the enemies of the kingdom. But Matthew makes clear (Matthew 22:41–46) that in Psalm 110, David speaks not primarily of himself but rather heralds the coming of Jesus the Christ, one accredited by God, to the sinful world of humanity to redeem it in victory (cf. Acts 2:22–24). Luke, too, confirms Jesus’s royalty. He reported the angel as affirming that Jesus would be great, that God would give Him the throne of His father David, that He would rule over the house of Jacob forever, and that His kingdom would never end (Luke 1:32–33).
So what can we learn from David’s royal psalm about the Jesus who came and will come again? Let’s answer that question by considering the sceptre imagery that David employs in Psalm 110:2.
A sceptre is an ornamental staff or rod that represents royalty, kingly power, and authority. It is usually carried by kings or queens at ceremonies. In Africa, the sceptre is carried by the lōng: the traditional ruler, chief, king, or the emir. It invests the person who carries it with sovereignty and royal authority. Such a symbol of authority demands veneration of the throne and the person seated on it by subjects as a mark of respect and honour. In Psalm 110, the Lord’s sceptre sent forth from Zion represents two great benefits to those under its rule—and therefore under the rule of Jesus.
The Sceptre is Adorned with Power as Victor in Battle
The act of sitting David’s Lord at the “right hand” of the Lord places Him in the position of authority, power, dominion, and victory over His enemies. That’s what the “right hand” in the Scriptures symbolizes. Indeed, verses 5–6 of Psalm 110 describe the complete victory that will be won from that place at the right hand. This prefigures Christ’s victory on the cross to defeat sin (John 10:17–18). During Advent, Christians reflect on how God graciously forgave their sins and adorns them, according to Apostle Paul, as His bride through the death and resurrection of
Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1–19; 1 Timothy 3:15). Jesus had said prior to His passion, death, resurrection, and ascension, in response to Peter’s confession, that He would build His church and no power, physical or spiritual, will prevail against it (Matthew 16:13–19). Christ will always lead His people in a triumphal procession as conquerors in Him, through Him, and with Him (Isaiah 60:11; 2 Corinthians 2:14).
Christians should call to mind during Advent, and always as they live, that in Christ, God has given to them the spiritual power to become victorious in their spiritual battles against all kinds of enemies, just as He granted to David power to fight
and defeat his physical enemies. God will always fight on behalf of His people, as He did for the Jews in Susa (Esther 4:1–17; 8:1–17), one day bringing justice and righteousness to all of His reign. This is especially reassuring for Christians who live
amidst corruption, a bad economy, and the activities of terrorists and kidnappers, as is the case in Nigeria.
The Sceptre is a Blessed Presence in the Midst of His People
Psalm 110 also depicts the reign of this one who goes out with Yahweh’s sceptre (verse 2) as a reign and rule in which the people delight! They willingly offer their services to this ruler (verse 3), grateful for His benevolent power in their midst.
The period of Advent reminds all Christians around the world about God’s presence and protective power over them as their Father and Shepherd. Jesus assured His church concerning His continuous abiding presence when He promised to be with them always to the close of the age (Matthew 28:20b). Although we all live in a troubling world, our hope in the incomparable power and abiding presence of our God is never failing. Therefore, we can confidently say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
REV DR JOEL KAMSEN TIHITSHAK BIWUL
Jos Plateau, Nigeria
The Reverend Dr Joel Biwul is a Langham–published author who currently serves as a Professor of Old and Pastoral Theology at ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS) in Jos Plateau, Nigeria, and a Research Fellow at Stellenbosch University in South Africa