Morning Light – August 23rd, 2016

ml_2016Today: [Psalm 110-112] Melchisedek and the Fear of the Lord. Psalms 110-112 speaks of the Melchisedek priesthood and the fear of the Lord. The priesthood of Melchisedek is considered a very obscure topic in contemporary Christianity and very little spoken of. This is however the priesthood that was conferred upon Jesus by the Father. It is also the priesthood that you and I as believers partake of. We are not serving God after a Levitical order but after an order that is without beginning and without end.
[Psa 110:1-7 KJV] 1 [[A Psalm of David.]] The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 3 Thy people [shall be] willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. 4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. 5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. 6 He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill [the places] with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. 7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
Psalm 110 is a Messianic psalm that has been set to music by many composers including Handel, Mozart and Vivaldi. While both Christians and Jews translate this psalm similarly – they interpret it quite differently. The Jews see it as a natural king over Israel battling against the nations – Christians see this psalm as speaking of Jesus Himself, as the son of God sitting literally at the right hand of majesty on high.
The first verse is hotly disputed by Jewish scholars because they refuse to see Jesus as “Lord” to whom the “Lord God” was speaking. The psalm is in truth God the Father speaking over God the Son. We see here then the declarative discourse between the Father and the Son whereby the magna carta of the legitimacy of Christ’s rule over all the earth is established. Jewish authorities also dilute if not completely remove the reference to Melchisedek preferring not to acknowledge any priesthood but that which originated in Levi.
The Melchisedek priesthood began in the mention of the Melchisedek who was king of Salem that Abraham gave the tenth of the spoil to. Melchisedek was described as the priest of the Most High God and the only priesthood sanctioned by God before the time of Moses. The writer of Hebrews in Heb. 7:9 shows that the Levitical priesthood was lower than the Melchisedek priesthood because Levi was in Abraham’s loins at the time that Abraham gave the tithe to Melchisedek. When Jesus is spoken of as the high priest of our profession it is referring to the Melchisedek and not the Levitical priesthood. This priesthood is also what is referred to as the priesthood of the believer that we share with Christ (Rev. 1:6; Rev. 5:10).
[Psa 111:1-10 KJV] 1 Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with [my] whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and [in] the congregation. 2 The works of the LORD [are] great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. 3 His work [is] honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. 4 He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD [is] gracious and full of compassion. 5 He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant. 6 He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. 7 The works of his hands [are] verity and judgment; all his commandments [are] sure. 8 They stand fast for ever and ever, [and are] done in truth and uprightness. 9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend [is] his name. 10 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do [his commandments]: his praise endureth for ever.
Read in the original Hebrew you would see that the first letter of each phrase of Psalm 111 begins with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet (in order) – making it an acrostic psalm. Judaism recites this psalm during the celebration of Rosh Hashana. It conveys seven great themes of Christian worship. It invokes worship of God for:
His great works (v. 2)
His righteousness that endures forever (v. 3)
His Grace and Compassion (v. 4).
His Provision for His People (v. 5).
His Judgments that Stand forever (v. 7).
His redemption sent to Us in Christ (v. 9)
His fear that is the beginning of Wisdom (v.10)
When verse 3 speaks of the righteousness of God that endures forever we are reminded that His righteousness is not ensconced in a moral code or religious order. 1 Cor. 1:30 tells us our righteousness is a person – and His name is Jesus:
[1Co 1:30 KJV] 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
This means that we are seen as righteous before God and eligible for the kingdom because of who Jesus is and what Jesus did for us not who we are or what we can do for ourselves. Who Jesus is and what He did eclipses our own sinfulness in our persons. Who Jesus is and what He did erases the marks of sin against us in the court of heaven. He is our advocate offering the record of His sacrifice on the cross as proof that our sins have already been paid for. Out of our relationship with Him and Lord and Savior our sins are expiated and we stand whole and clean before God without accusation against us.
Likewise the fear of the Lord spoken of in verse 10 is more than human reverence. Isaiah 11:1-2 tells us that the fear of the Lord is one of the 7 Spirits of God:
[Isa 11:1-2 KJV] 1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
Notice that v. 10 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and that by comparison the fear of the Lord is mentioned last of the 7 Spirits of God. This presents the 7 Spirits of God almost as a ladder whereby we reach up to the Fear of the Lord firstly and then ascend in our understanding of all the attributes of God most significantly first mentioned in the list the Spirit of the Lord Himself.
[Psa 112:1-10 KJV] 1 Praise ye the LORD. Blessed [is] the man [that] feareth the LORD, [that] delighteth greatly in his commandments. 2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches [shall be] in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. 4 Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: [he is] gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. 5 A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. 6 Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. 7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. 8 His heart [is] established, he shall not be afraid, until he see [his desire] upon his enemies. 9 He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. 10 The wicked shall see [it], and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.
Psalm 112 continues the theme of the fear of the Lord. The person that fears the Lord delights in God’s commandments. The commandments of God for the New Testament believer point us to the word of God as our guide and the Spirit of God who speaks in our own heart on a continual basis. It is promised in Isaiah that the salvation of God in Christ would bring the Comforter to us that would guide us even in day to day life by His voice:
[Isa 30:21 KJV] 21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
The psalm affirms that when we walk in the fear of the Lord that:
Our seed will be mighty in the earth and the generations after us will be blessed (v. 2).
Wealth and riches will be in our house and our righteousness will endure forever (v. 3).
God will be our light in darkness and show us His grace and mercy (v. 4).
We will have the favor of God and He will give us discretion in all our ways (v. 5).
We will be unmovable (v. 6).
We will not be afraid of evil tidings (v. 7).
We will not be afraid but will see our enemies turned back (v. 8).
We will give to the poor and find honor in the midst of our peers (v. 9).
Our lives and the blessing of God upon us will be a vexation to the wicked and they shall be reproved for their ways (v. 10).
Of all the attributes of God that have impact upon our lives on this side of eternity – the fear of the Lord is the foundation stone of it all. The fear of the Lord is not the kind of fear that makes you flee in terror. The fear of the Lord causes you to run TO Him and not away from Him. We run TO the Lord in our failure and shortcomings knowing that He is a just God to whom we delight and long to give an account of ourselves to find refuge from the ravages of a sin-contaminated world.

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