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Lord, High Priest, and Coming King

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Psalms 107–110

The Psalms greatly enrich our worship of the Lord. They remind us to be thankful for the many times and ways God has delivered us and for bringing us to the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our God, our King, and our Great High Priest.


Lord, High Priest, and Coming King

Psalms 107–110


We have arrived on our Wisdom Journey at the last of the five books in the Psalms.

This final section of Psalms includes what we would call congregational hymns. Many of them would be recited and sung during Jewish festivals. In fact, some of them are sung to this day.

Now in this last section of Psalms, the covenant name of God—Jehovah, or Yahweh—is used 236 times. Your English translation will most often translate it “Lord” in all capital letters. This is the name that emphasizes the personal commitment of the Lord to His covenant promises to Israel.

Now Psalm 107 opens Book Five, and it follows a pattern that repeats itself several times. We see this pattern in verses 4-8.

First, there is some sort of crisis. In verses 4-5 we read, “Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.” The crisis here is that they are homeless and hungry. Second, the psalm moves on to a cry for help. Verse 6 says, “They cried to the Lord in their trouble.”

Third, following their crisis and their cry, they experience the Lord’s comfort. Again, in verse 6: “He delivered them from their distress.” Following the Lord’s deliverance, there is a fourth element in this pattern, and we can call it confession. Note verse 8: “Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!”

So, there is the pattern: a crisis, a cry for help, comfort from the Lord, and a confession of thanksgiving. This pattern is repeated in different contexts throughout this psalm—by those falsely imprisoned, by foolish sinners who come to their senses, and by those facing dangerous circumstances beyond their control.

Here is the timeless application for us: It doesn’t matter what your crisis might be today; cry out to the Lord about it. Don’t hold back. Bring all the details out into the open, and let Him know all about your trouble. And then trust Him, knowing He has a plan to get you through it and out to the other side.

Now Psalm 108 has an interesting twist. David actually repeats the last five verses of Psalm 57 to begin Psalm 108; then he uses the last six verses of Psalm 60 to finish Psalm 108. So, David is repeating lyrics he has previously penned and sung.

We have already dealt with his earlier psalms in our Wisdom Journey. But I want to note here that by doing this, David is essentially saying, “The truth of the Bible doesn’t go out of date. What I sang about earlier is still true today.”

The power and relevancy of Scripture does not fade over time; it doesn’t get stale or have to be taken off the shelf. All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), so the principles it teaches are timeless. Here in Psalm 108 David is effectively saying, “Hey, let’s sing those truths again.”

Now in Psalm 109 the tone immediately changes. The composer is King David, and he is rather upset and frustrated. He writes here in verses 1-2:

Be not silent, O God of my praise! For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues.

Evidently someone is attacking David’s reputation. In verses 6 through 19 the singular pronoun—“he” or “him”—is used thirty-two different times.

So, there is someone somewhere who is causing David a trainload of trouble. And throughout these verses, David calls down judgment against this person. This is one of those imprecatory psalms we have covered in our past studies. David is taking the same stand against the wicked as the Lord Himself takes. David isn’t being vengeful; he is personally representing God’s law and attempting to honor God’s reputation.                                                                                           

Beloved, this psalm teaches the timeless principle that believers who are falsely accused must rest their case with God. So, if you are experiencing right now some false accusation, commit your reputation to the Lord. Vengeance and your vindication belong to the Lord. Leave it in His hands and just continue doing the right thing.

Now with that, we arrive at Psalm 110, which is quoted or alluded to twenty-five different times in the New Testament—more than any other psalm. The reformer Martin Luther described Psalm 110 as “the main psalm of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ.”[1] Why? Because it celebrates Jesus as King, High Priest, and Conqueror.

First, in this psalm we see Jesus as our King. The psalm begins, “The Lord [Jehovah] says to my Lord [Adonai], ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool’” (verse 1).

Now understand that here the Lord is speaking to the Lord! In other words, God the Father is speaking to God the Son. How do we know that? Because a thousand years later, Jesus is going to quote this verse to declare to the religious leaders of His day that He is the “Lord” of Psalm 110 (Matthew 22:41-46). He is the one who will sit on the throne at the right hand of God the Father.

Well, you can understand why Jesus created a stir with this kind of application to Himself. Did the religious leaders get the fact that Jesus was claiming to be God’s Son?  You better believe it.

In fact, over in Johnin the John 10:33, Jesus asks the religious leaders why they want to stone Him to death, and they answer, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

They got it! In fact, the rest of this psalm applies to Jesus. Verse 2 says He is going to receive the royal scepter and rule from Zion—from Jerusalem—in His coming kingdom. Verse 3 says the people will “offer themselves freely on the day of [His] power.” That is, when Jesus comes to establish His throne, those who believe in Him will worship Him.

There is no question about it—David is declaring that our Savior is King!

Second, in verse 4 we see Jesus as High Priest:

The Lord [Jehovah] has sworn and will not change his mind, “You [Adonai—Jesus] are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”

In Genesis 14 Melchizedek appears as the king and priest in Salem, the city that would become Jerusalem. “Salem” is from shalom, meaning “peace.” This is the city of peace. The coming Messiah will be according to “the order of Melchizedek”—that type of leader. Like Melchizedek, Jesus will be the King and Priest ruling one day in Jerusalem—only in a much greater and glorious manner.

In fact, according to Hebrews 5:10, God has designated the Lord as our “high priest.” In other words, He represents us to God the Father, and He represents God the Father to us. He is, 1 Timothy 2:5 says, the only mediator between God and mankind. And that is why we are not praying to other priests and we are not praying to the saints or to Mary. We pray to and through our one Mediator, the Lord Jesus, God the Son. He is our eternal High Priest.

Third, this great King and High Priest is the final Conqueror.

In verses 5-6, David writes:

The Lord . . . will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. He will execute judgment among the nations … . . he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth.

So in this psalm, written a thousand years before the Lord Jesus arrived—before God the Son took on flesh—David predicted His ultimate victory and His coming glorious kingdom. So, let’s celebrate today that Jesus is Adonai—our divine Lord—and our eternal High Priest and soon-coming, conquering King.

[1] F. B. Meyer, Through the Bible Day by Day: A Devotional Commentary, vol. 3 (American Sunday School Union, 1914), 134.

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