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Theology

Psalm 45 and Jesus

This is a love psalm for a royal wedding. The king is praised for his appearance and speech (v. 2), his military power (v. 3), and his work of justice (vv. 4-5). The psalm turns to God in verses 6-9 where God is praised because his throne is the perfect throne. God’s throne is “forever and ever” and he rules with “uprightness” because he “loved righteousness and hated wickedness” (vv. 6-7a).

The pslamist then says something strange. He says that God has anointed the God mentioned in v. 6. It’s evident to the reader that this is dealing with more than a mere human king. Hebrews 1 tells us that this Psalm is ultimately about Jesus, the true Davidic king (Hebrews 1:8-9). Hebrews 1:8 says that God says to the Son (who is God) that it is his throne that lasts forever and ever. He is the one who rules his kingdom with perfection and justice. He is the one who takes a beautiful daughter to himself as his bride, the church, who is led to her king with “joy and gladness.”

Jesus’ name is the one that will be “remembered in all generations,” and he is the only king whom “nations will praise…forever and ever” (v. 17). For he is the true and better King of Israel, the only one whose speech, power, and justice is peerless.

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Life Theology

Jesus: The Greater David

Jesus isn’t just the greater Moses. He is also the greater David. In Psalm 78, the psalmist is reflecting on Israel’s rebellion against God after they were saved from slavery in Egypt. God was so gracious to his people despite their unfaithfulness. “Yet,” the psalmist wrote, “they sinned still more against him” (vv. 17, 40, 56).

Later in the Psalm, the writer tells us that he chose a shepherd from the tribe of Judah to lead his people back to God. This shepherd is David. The psalmist tells us:

He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand (vv. 70-72).

You might be thinking, “David had an upright heart?! What about that whole Bathsheba and Uriah thing? That wasn’t so upright!” And you would be right. Of course David had his moral failures. He was human. And that’s the point: as great as David was as shepherd-king of Israel, he still fell short of the perfection that God’s people needed.

That’s where Jesus comes in. In John 10, he said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (v. 11).  In saying this, Jesus claims to be the long awaited heir of David who would lead God’s people perfectly. He would be the ultimate shepherd-king who would never have a moral failure or a bad thought toward his flock.

When we read the Old Testament, we cannot look for examples in men like David and Moses. We need to see them as imperfect men who could never fully be what God’s people needed.  They should not inspire us to be better people. They should leave us longing to be saved by the greater Man who did and said all that God wanted with complete perfection.

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Life

Christmas Points to the Second Coming

We get so excited about Christmas, and that is good.  Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).  He came to save his people from sin (Matt. 1:21).  Without Jesus’ first coming, we wouldn’t know God in such an intimate, real, and personal way.

Still, how much more excited should we be that Jesus is actually coming back?  He is going to return to establish his reign and rule on the earth in a way never before seen.  He is going to come as a conquering King and General.  He’s going to come with a vengeance and a sword (Rev. 19:13-16).

Christmas is good, but without the promise of a second coming, we would be left hopeless.  We’d be saved, yes, but from what?  Jesus is coming to judge, and he is coming back to save those who are eagerly waiting for him (Heb. 9:28).  No second coming, no ultimate saving.  Without the second coming, our salvation would be a vague fog of wishful thinking.  This is akin to salvation in the Old Testament.  If there was no promise of a coming Messiah to the people of Israel, all of their laws, rituals, and traditions would have been null and void.  Jesus gave the law substance.  Today, he gives our salvation substance by promising he will return (see Acts 1:6-11).

Thank God for Christmas, but thank him just as much, if not more, for the second coming that will complete the redemption and salvation that God has worked in you.

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Theology

Remember: Just Because They are in the Bible Doesn’t Mean We Should be Like Them

The judges are a great sign of God’s grace.  But they are not an adequate solution to the problems of Israel.  They are a fairly motley crowd who are certainly not models of godly living.  Jephthah kills his own daughter, and Samson is a womanizing thug.  We miss the point if we try to turn them into great heroes for the Sunday-school class to emulate.  While praising God for the deliverance he achieved through them, we should be longing for a better leader, who will bring about a lasting solution to the problem of Israel’s sin; we should be longing for a king. 

– Vaughn Roberts, God’s Big Picture, p. 80