The mighty sceptre

Psalm 110

This note was originally published on Sunday 28 May 2017.
The Lord is at your right hand.
Psalm 110.5 (NIV)

Prepare

How comfortable are you reading about God crushing his enemies, piling up their dead, judging them for their sin? Why do you react like you do?

Read

Psalm 110

Explore

As a child I was impressed with the power of God. I loved to read about the creation, Jesus walking on water and calming the storm, Elijah calling down the fire from heaven, the coming of the Holy Spirit.

In Psalm 110, David prophesies about the Messiah, as Jesus makes clear (Matthew 22:44). He looks forward to the day when God will defeat his enemies once and for all. David was a warrior king; perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the image he uses for this victory is a human battlefield: troops ready to die for their commander (v 3), the bodies of the dead piled up high (v 6).

Often people shy away from the ‘spirit of hatred which strikes us... like the heat from a furnace’* in some of the psalms. Yet which of us can truthfully say we don’t feel these emotions too – even those of us who have never faced the fierce heat of battle?

Ultimately, such psalms remind us that God’s ‘mighty sceptre’ will one day rule supreme, that in Jesus all God’s enemies – including death itself – lie crushed and defeated. That power, which raised Jesus from the dead, is given to all who believe (Ephesians 1.19-20).

* CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (London: Fount Paperbacks, 1998), 17.

Respond

What enemies are you facing right now? Are you able to stand firm against them, in God’s strength?