110 A PSALM OF DAVID.
1 The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
2 The LORD sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
3 Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
4 The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”
5 The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
6 He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
7 He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head (ESV).
This is the greatest Messianic Psalm! There is no king in ancient Israel whom this Psalm could reference. “The linkage of king and priest would have been impossible to reconcile in ancient Israel because these offices were taken from different tribes” (D. Estes, Psalms 73-150 NAC, 2019).
Kings came from the tribe/line of Judah and Priests were from the line of Aaron, the Levites. I have to agree with Boice, the Messiah being a king and priest would have been “a novel and probably shocking idea to the Jews…because kingly and priestly functions were never united in a single person in Israel” (Psalms 107-150: An Expositional Commentary, 2005).
Again, in Israel, no king could be a priest. No priest could be a king. “The reason for having a balance of governmental power is obvious: Human beings cannot be trusted with excessive or uncheckable power” (Boice). God took the distinction between king and priest so seriously that He punished Uzziah, the king of Judah, with leprosy when he tried to offer the Lord incense in the part of the temple where only priests were permitted to enter (2 Chron 26:16-23).
Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18 is called “King of Salem,” which means “king of peace” and “priest of God Most High.” Melchizedek is of a different order, where king and priest are united, with no beginning and no end. Melchizedek is a type of Christ but he is not the Christ. Only in Jesus Christ are the offices of King and Priest forever, eternally united.
This humbles me beyond measure. Psalm 110 is the most frequently cited Old Testament passage in the New Testament. Psalm 110:1 is the most quoted verse. Jesus uses verse 1 to question the religious leaders in regards to whose Son is the Messiah (Matt 22:44-45; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:42-43). Hebrews 6:20-8:13 expounds on Melchizedek and Jesus, the High Priest of the new and better covenant.
“As the people of God appropriate Psalm 110 as their own song, their hearts are prompted to cry out, ‘Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!’ (Rev 22:20). This blessed hope sustains them when so much in the world today is so wrong” (Estes). I am so thankful that Psalm 110 helps us to not lose sight of who Jesus is and what He does even in the midst of geopolitics, the coronavirus pandemic, locust invasions, etc.
Triune God, thank You for preserving Your Word. Lord God, may we cling to You and Your Word in the midst of all that is happening in the world right now. Lord God, help us to keep our eyes fixed on You. Help us to live wisely. Prepare us for what we will face. Thank You, Jesus, that You are fully God and fully Man. Thank You, Jesus, that You are our King. May Your peace rule in our hearts like an umpire, calling balls and strikes. Jesus, may we never forget that You are our Priest and that You want us to partner with You in reconciling people to God. Lord, may we never take our salvation for granted. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.