Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 110. (MsgB)
A David Prayer.
God gave His word and He won’t take it back:
You’re the permanent priest, the Melchizedek priest.
I don’t know if you’ve ever really thought about this, but as devoted followers of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, you and I have been assigned quite a unique title in life.
Permanent priests. Priests made in the order of Melchizedek.
Gosh, and I’m not even Catholic!
Now, don’t let this title go to your head, but on the other hand, it is vitally important to God that you and I fully understand this unique role we have been given. In God’s economy, you see, it’s vital that all of us play our parts, not missing out on the fullness of our call and purpose in this life and in the next.
So, let’s go back just a bit in time and review how you and I got this title of permanent priest, made in the order of Melchizedek.
In Genesis 1, we find that God saved His very best work for day six in creation. On that Day (Genesis 1: 26-28), He created man and woman, saying this as He did it:
“Let us make human beings in Our image, make them reflecting Our nature;so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle,and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
Genesis goes on to say:
“God created human beings; He created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them”, (saying)…‘Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.’”
So, indeed, you and I have been assigned quite a high position in the ultimate plans of God! Sadly, as you also know, our ancestors (Adam and Eve), traded down for much less when they decided one day that some apple off a tree looked to be more tasty than this amazing stewardship commission given from God the Almighty. So we fell from grace, but as Psalm 110 clearly states:
God gave His word and He won’t take it back.
So immediately following the debacle in the Garden, where we decided we’d prefer to live our lives independently from God, the Creator-King got right to work on a holy plan of restoration. Several generations after Adam and Eve, God chose a couple of average people off the street, Abraham and Sarah, to become the mom and dad of that restoration project. You can find their story later on in the Book of Genesis. In chapter 14, verse 18-20, we find God sending an earthly king named Melchizedek to Abraham, blessing Abraham’s life and serving as an apparent intermediary between God and Abraham. This text in Genesis doesn’t tell us too much but it does allude to the fact that God used a common man, a king of Salem, to step in between a holy God and an unholy man, Abraham, and serve as a ‘priest of the most high God.’
Keep in mind that a priest is simply a person authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between a human being and his or her god. Priests also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a god according to that deity’s interest or desires.
So by the time we get to the end of Genesis, we see that the God of our Bible has chosen individuals (first Melchizedek, then Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) to serve as priests, working as intermediaries between this world and heaven. In the Book of Exodus, we find men like Moses and Aaron becoming God’s priests to His people. And it’s there God sets up a whole sacrificial system that has at its core, the role of an earthly priest who steps in on behalf of God, serving both Yahweh, the Most High God, and the people of God. As I see it, this priestly role we see developed throughout God’s Word is a simple extension of the Genesis 1 blessing where men and women are commissioned by God to steward this world, blessing God’s creation through the work of our hands.
Psalm 110, the song we’re looking at today, serves as a beautiful intermediary between the Old Testament traditions where God’s people are served by an earthly priest (such as King David and others); and the New Testament revelation that God has now chosen an eternal earthly representative, Jesus of Nazareth, to serve all mankind for all time as God’s holy priest. Over in the Book of Hebrews, we find this New Testament writer gushing with excitement over how Jesus has become God’s forever priest, made in the grainy likeness of the first earthly priest, Melchizedek.
So now, we come to the fun part.
Since you and I are now connected at the hip of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, we have been commissioned by the Lord (see Matthew 28) to go on His behalf serving both God and His creation as good priests. Men and women, set aside by the Father, to go love ‘the hell’ out of this fallen world, serving and giving of our lives in such a way that we become priests or Jesus-sent intermediaries between fallen man and a Holy God!
Yikes! What a responsibility, huh?
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 1st Peter 2: 9
Just think. You and I, as wounded and broken people, loved by God, saved by Grace, and empowered by the Spirit, can go, just like Melchizedek to people of this world, serving them the bread and wine of our Rescuing King. Blessing them with good words and good deeds. Giving them God’s rich blessings and reminding them, just as Melchizedek reminded Abraham, that God is with them, for them, and desires His best for them and their extended family. For His name’s sake.
Gosh. I feel both humbled and honored, don’t you?
My prayer: Father, I’m so amazed at the high calling You have given us as permanent priests, made in the image of God, and serving in the likeness of Melchizedek. Like the King of Salem so long ago, I’m not really important unto myself, but when working on Your behalf, I can become a rich blessing to both You and Your creation. I accept my call today as permanent priest. Now empower me to follow my eternal Priest, Jesus of Nazareth, serving Your world with both His heart of mercy and His hands of healing. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How have I lost the unique call that Martin Luther and the reformers reminded us of, that all of us, as followers of Christ, are priests, serving both God and mankind as intermediaries, offering God’s rich blessings to a broken and wounded world? What might it look like in my life to step up to my role as permanent priest, serving Christ, made in the order of Melchizedek?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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