Introduction to the Messianic Psalms - Part 2
R. Catchpole, London
Editor’s Comment: Please note that this article is Part 2 of an introduction to these Psalms. Part 1 was published in the February issue of the magazine.
The Messianic Psalms in the ministry of Christ
The value of these Psalms in their testimony to the Lord Jesus is seen not only in the way that the Holy Spirit is careful to quote and interpret passages from them in the New Testament in reference to Christ but is equally seen in the way that Christ Himself took them up in His ministry and teaching. Though this list is not exhaustive, consider how, in answer to the displeasure of the chief priests at the crying of the children in the temple, the Lord said, ‘have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?’ Matt. 21. 16; Ps. 8. 2. In applying the lesson of the parable of the wicked husbandmen, He said, ‘Did ye never read in the scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes’, Matt. 21. 42; Ps. 118. 22-23. In contending with the Pharisees, He asked, ‘How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying. The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool?’ Matt. 22. 43-44; Ps. 110. 1. In His lament over Jerusalem, He said, ‘Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord’, Matt. 23. 39; Ps. 118. 26. His cry ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ Matt. 27. 46; Ps. 22. 1.
The Messianic Psalms and communications between the Father and the Son
It is instructive to note how, in some of these Psalms, we are privileged to ‘listen-in’ to conversations between the Father and the Son. In Psalm 102 verses 25-27, the reader would think initially that we are listening to the psalmist addressing Jehovah, ‘Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the works of thy hands . . . they shall be changed; But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end’. But, when these verses are quoted in Hebrews chapter 1, we find that we are listening to the Father addressing the Son. Other passages will readily come to mind: ‘Unto the Son he saith: Thy throne O God is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity’, Heb. 1. 8-9; Ps. 45. 6-7. ‘He that said unto him Thou art my Son this day have I begotten thee’, Heb. 5. 5; Ps. 2. 7; ‘Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchizedec’, Heb. 5. 10; Ps. 110. 4. Equally, we listen to the Son addressing the Father: ‘When he cometh into the world he saith . . . Lo I come . . . to do thy will, O God’, Heb. 10. 5-9; Ps. 40. 6-8. What a privilege to be introduced to conversations within the Godhead; what a privilege to have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
The Messianic Psalms and the believer
The Lord said, ‘Search the scriptures . . . they are they which testify of me’, John 5. 39. These Psalms make an important contribution to the testimony of the scriptures to Christ. To neglect the study of them cannot but leave the believer poorer in His appreciation of Christ.
A study of these Psalms will help and enhance our prayers and praise. Have we forgotten how Peter and John, having returned to their own company, with one accord lifted up their voice in prayer to God, quoting and applying the words of Psalm 2, Acts 4. 23-28?
A knowledge of these Psalms has practical implications also. As an example, we could take the writer’s exhortation in Hebrews chapter 13 verse 13, ‘Let us go forth . . . unto him without the camp bearing his reproach’. An exhortation that is certainly expanded when we refer to Psalm 69 where, some five times, we find the word ‘reproach’. Each time it comes in a different context, the Psalm indicating why and how men reproached our Lord, and, thus, what going forth to Christ in the day of His rejection will involve.