Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Sep 1 2019 - Psalm 110 – Sit at my right hand

This wonderful psalm of David is one of the most quoted psalms in the New Testament. David had been chosen and anointed by God to be king over God's people. He had been raised up from the lowly position of caring for his father's sheep on the hillsides of Judea to be enthroned in a royal palace in Jerusalem. God had given him notable victories over his enemies, starting with his single-handed felling of Goliath, the Philistine giant from Gath. But in this psalm, David looks beyond his own kingship to set his sights on a greater king and a greater and more final victory.

When Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes bombarded him with questions, seeking to trip him up and discredit him in the eyes of the people. By his wise answers Jesus took the wind out of their sails before turning the tables on them with a question of his own. He asked:

Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:

The Lord said to my Lord:
    "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."

David himself calls him “Lord”. How then can he be his son? (Mark 12:35-37)

Jesus' question posed a riddle that the Jewish leaders could not (or would not), unravel. Jesus was making it clear that David, speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, was pointing beyond his own kingship to that of a far greater king to come. He was speaking of the coming Messiah as one whom David himself would acknowledge as Lord. This great king, David's greater Son, would sit at the right hand of God – the right hand of Yahweh – until all his enemies submit to him. He would defeat not only the Philistines; he would crush all of the powers of darkness.

On the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter quotes from this psalm. He argues that king David died and was buried and his tomb is there in Jerusalem for anyone to visit. But:

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

"The Lord said to my Lord:
    ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’"

Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. (Acts 2:32-36)

This psalm is a Messianic psalm in which David speaks prophetically of the Lord Jesus. He is the one whose kingdom will be extended from Jerusalem to Judea, to Samaria and into all the world. Every knee will at last bow to him and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. This is the purpose for which he has poured out his Spirit on the world.

We might add that the writer of the letter to the Hebrews makes much of the unceasing priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus, "in the order of Melchizedek", quoting this psalm (see Hebrews 5-7).

Father God, we thank you for our exalted Saviour whom we gladly own as Lord. We thank you that having offered himself as a full and perfect sacrifice for our sins, he is now exalted to your right hand in the heavens where he never ceases to intercede for us. Thank you risen Saviour that you have given us your Spirit that we might continue the work of making you known. Fill us with your Spirit so that we, like Peter, may faithfully bear witness to your risen power and be used to draw many others to own you as Lord. 

Peter Misselbrook