GETTING THE MESSAGE/Psalm 21
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 6:00 PM
C.S Lewis, the Oxford professor and Christian apologist, once said: “Christianity is the story of how the rightful King has landed.” There is a lot to explain behind such a general statement, yet it helpfully summarizes there was a need in this world to set things right, and one person was appointed unto that end. That person is the Lord Jesus Christ, and psalm 21 is about his kingship.
Psalm 21 doesn’t give us exhaustive details of Christ’s kingship but important principles to hold on to. One is the certainty of his victory. The strength behind the victory of Christ is in the divine power behind his mission. Verse 1 says: “O Lord the king rejoices in your strength. How great is his joy in the victories you give.”
David was Israel’s greatest king. Most of his time and attention was devoted to war against enemies on all sides of Israel. His success and safety was attributed to the Lord’s strength. This psalm looks beyond David to a king greater than David, who would defeat foes common to all mankind. This king’s reign would be forever and ever (verse 4). Again, the psalm is a prophecy looking forward to the work of Christ.
Verse two reads: “You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips.” The desire of Christ’s heart was to reveal God to men. Life is to know God. We cannot know God when we are dead. So Christ came to conquer death. He did this on the cross. In John 17 before he went to the cross, Jesus prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
It is very obvious the life Christ gives is inseparably connected to a realization of the glory of his work in salvation. Verse three states that after his victory he was welcomed “with rich blessings and a crown of pure gold was placed upon his head.” Verse 5 continues, “Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.”
I once watched a speaker giving honor to a coach who died soon after her coaching career ended. He was not a good speaker, and he droned on and on about the coach’s legacy. He spoke in generalities and specifics, i.e. she was great…she won this many titles, and so forth. It was boring enough that unless you had some type of a connection you were inclined to change the channel. Yet as he listed not only incredible coaching achievements, but also all of her work done in the community and for her players, you could not help but admiring the coach and seeing her from a new perspective.
The bible goes on and on about the glory of Christ in his salvation work. All that is written in Scripture points in some way to his legacy, his name. Nevertheless, we do not change and get a new perspective by hearing these accolades piled up about Christ. It isn’t the same for us as hearing about the accomplishments of a coach. We pass over it and think little of it until we see what we are saved from by his work; when we get a personal interest. Only then does our perspective of Christ change.
Verses 8-12 speak of the wrath of God on his enemies. The language used of hot wrath and fire consuming those who oppose God is language of devastation, complete destruction. You must consider what Christ saves you from. When someone dies, we see the corruption of the flesh. We protect ourselves from the decomposition of the body not only for sanitary reasons but also from the horror of it. The bible speaks of sin as corruption of the soul, literally eating away like death does to a body. It isn’t an innocent affliction. God’s righteous anger is against it.
You cannot live with it. Yet it is in you. And you know it. You diminish it the best you can in your thoughts and even actions, but it is there… persistent and deadly. Only Christ saves you from it. He does it by a cleansing work on the cross, His own death, the righteous king defeating the ultimate enemy. His cleansing work is freely given to whoever believes. He earned the crown of gold, and your accolades if you belong to him.