Psalm 110: A Psalm of Our Priest and King

Do me a favor and please read Psalm 110.

What greater words would a king want to hear from his prophet? That the battle and war that stands before him will be mighty and victorious. That they will have troops upon troops ready to fight. Like dew upon the morning (vs 3) they will be so numerous that you cannot count them. What better words than to hear that the Lord will go before you and make all your enemies your footstool? What better words than to hear that the Lord is on your side and that he fights, wins, and is for you? David could not have heard better words.

We don’t know much about this psalm except for the words we have. There is no context (except for war) and there are no words that lead us to a time and place. But here’s what we DO know

  • This is the MOST QUOTED PSALM in the New Testament. Verse 1 is quoted in Matt 22; Acts 2; 1 Cor 15; Heb 1; Eph 1; Phil 2; Heb 10 and 13.
  • It’s Davidic AND Messianic in that it speaks of the promise to David AND to the fulfillment of Jesus Christ.

This psalm is broken up into 2 short stanzas (1-3, 4-7). Verses 1-3 speak of what the Lord says and does for the KING and then verses 4-7 speak of what the Lord does for himself against the other nations and people AS PRIEST. So for David this would have been reassuring and comforting knowing that the Lord blesses HIM with warriors and fighters (1-3) as well the fact that the lord promises to defeat all nations. For you and I, for a Christian reader, we cannot help but see the gospel in this psalm.

  • Who sits at the Lord’s right hand and has all enemies as their footstool? Jesus (Acts 7:55-56)
  • Who rules in the midst of enemies? Jesus (1 Cor 15:25)
  • Who is both priest and king in the order of Melchizedek? Jesus (Heb 6:20-7:28)
  • Who crushes all kings and judges all nations? Jesus (1 Tim 6:15)

So here’s my question: Why does this psalm matter? Why does this matter to you and I and why does this psalm matter as a whole?

Most commentators agree that while this is a “psalm of David” this is NOT a psalm of David. This is a promise to David about God’s work. So while the prophet made this declaration to his “lord” (David) this isn’t about David…this is about the Messiah, Jesus Christ. And THAT is why this matters. David may have been a king but he was not the perfect Priest-King. That belongs to Jesus Christ. This psalm may have been given to David but it is clearly about the Messiah and his return (Zech 14:1-15; Rev 19:11-21).

So why does this matter? Because everything we do is for our King. Because our whole lives are lived in response to His commands and the fact that he reigns over all things. Because all of our hope lays upon his lap, the throne he rules from, the scepter he holds, the crown he wears, the judgment he brings, and the destruction of death by life that he gives. This psalm is everything to us because it reminds us that everything is in and upon him.

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