Thursday, October 6, 2016

Delighting in the King

I was reading Psalm 61 recently and noticed the flow of David’s poetry.  He begins by crying out to God while remembering His faithfulness, security of care, and blessings.  What follows next, though, intrigued me because David suddenly shifts from first person to third:
You will prolong the king’s life,
    His years as many generations.
He shall abide before God forever.
    Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!  (Ps 61:6-7)
Suddenly, it seems that David is no longer considering his own circumstances solely but wishes to pray for his royal house according to God’s promise of a never-ending lineage on the throne.  Theodore of Mopsuestia reflected on the passage this way:
You will grant us everything, and once more You will give us a gentle king, whom You will also make long-lived (a reference not to the person but to the position)—in other words, For a long time you will bring us under our own kings.  You will give him length of life to abide forever.… While You will provide [mercy and truth] in Your characteristic goodness, it would be a blessed thing for him also to give evidence of some disposition of his own in his regard for You, not losing hope in You, and seeking this from You.
One cannot help but wonder if David was thinking forward to a time when the everlasting Son of David would sit on His throne.  Theodoret of Cyrus picks up this thought nicely:
Now, at that time [the king] was ruling over them; but all the words of the inspired composition do not apply to him. … Instead, they apply to the One who out of great lovingkindness came of his line according to the flesh, as he himself knew.  Of Him, you see, were realized the words of the inspired composition.  He had no beginning to His days, nor will He experience an end.  I mean, even if He became a human being and accepted death for our sake, nevertheless “He was in the beginning, and was with God, and was God.” … Do you see that the One who accepted cross and death for our sake has also an unending kingship insofar as He coexists with the Father?
Yes, our Lord Jesus coexists with the Father, yet notice that the Father is requested to prepare mercy and truth to preserve Him.  There is an active bond of love in the Godhead that transcends understanding, and we are given the blessing of seeing that worked out through the Word.  The fullness of such matters are to great for us, but we are given a measure to look in awe at what things God has made known in part.  And we delight in them, as David wrote in the last verse of the psalm:
So I will sing praise to Your name forever,
    That I may daily perform my vows.
Worship is not an end in itself.  There is work to be done in the strength He supplies through His gifts as we gather together.  May we go out reinvigorated to the task of serving our neighbor.

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