Hope for Then and Now (4)
The LORD said to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” Psalm 110.1
A continuing struggle
Our living hope is strengthened as we look back at Jesus, during the time of His incarnation, and look up at Him, exalted in glory. But we also need to look ahead to see what we expect Jesus to be doing now, in these last days, as we await the full revelation of our living hope.
And for this, we will look further at Psalm 110. Here we find an overview of the work of King Jesus as He rules from the right hand of God, and this can help us in thinking about what lies ahead for us as we continue to seek His Kingdom and righteousness.
From His place at the right hand of God, Jesus extends His scepter of righteousness (Ps. 45.6), declaring His intention of furthering the eternal decree of God unto the restoration of the world for God’s pleasure and glory (Ps. 110.2). He is commanded to rule even in the midst of His enemies, to take the fight, as it were, to the very gates of those who oppose Him.
Jesus carries on this struggle through His people (v. 3), who offer themselves freely to Him, day by day, to be used for His purposes in seeking the progress of His rule on the ground as it is in heaven. The people who know their King go forth, clothed in the righteousness of God’s Law, and in the power of His Spirit, to bring the refreshing and renewing grace and truth of Christ to the whole world (v. 3).
Meanwhile, our King intercedes for us, representing and working for our interests according to the promises of God in line with His eternal decree (v. 4).
An advancing Kingdom
The King brings His rule to the kings of the earth, as His people wield the Sword of the Spirit, bringing the light of truth and grace to every person on earth (vv. 5, 6; cf. Ps. 149.6-9; 2 Cor. 4.15). The Kingdom of God grows like a vast mountain (Dan. 2.44, 45), filling the world with the Presence and fragrance of Jesus, increasing in righteousness without end (Is. 9.6, 7), and bringing the Good News of living hope to the ends of the earth. The hope that is within us, vibrantly lived and vigorously proclaimed, excites others to ask a reason for that hope, that they, too, might come with us to the living hope of Jesus (1 Pet. 3.15).
In the process, Jesus overthrows the work of the devil and brings the light of truth into the darkness of unbelief (1 Jn. 2.8). Even those who do not believe in Him, indeed, even those who despise Him, will find it to be in their best interests to conform to His advancing reign and glory, though their eternal disposition will not be altered by such half-hearted works of feigned obedience (Ps. 66.3; 81.15).
The Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, abounding in living hope and proclaiming that hope to the world, grows and increases in presence, power, and influence in these last days, as people from every nation, tribe, and tongue “stream up” to the mountain of the Lord’s house, seeking the hope they see in us, and to which we bear ready witness (Mic. 4.1-8; 1 Pet. 3.13-15).
When all is done and every enemy has been subdued, King Jesus will refresh Himself with His people beside the waters of life, and lift up His head and theirs in joy (Ps. 110.6, 7; cf. Rev. 21).
The nature of the struggle
In the book of Psalms, the Lord’s struggle against the rebellious people of the earth is described in military terms. This was necessary for the time in which these psalms were given because the Spirit of God had not yet been sent, and military conquest was the only means for subduing those who opposed the Lord and His people.
But we must read these psalms more broadly, in the light of the Spirit’s coming and the spiritual warfare in which we are incessantly engaged (Eph. 6.10-20). How, in that light, does God the Father subdue the enemies of King Jesus, and what is our part in this struggle?
First, the Lord in the psalms calls us to pray against the wickedness and rebellion of the enemies of our King (cf. Pss. 3, 72, 137, etc.). Second, the Lord uses His Word to shield His people from the lies of an unbelieving age (Ps. 12) and to fit them with wisdom and understanding (Pss. 19, 119). Third, Christ our King deploys His angels to act on behalf of His people as they struggle for the progress of His rule (Pss. 35, 91, 149).
The Lord overcomes His enemies by converting many of them so that they come to trust in Him (Ps. 107), and by shaming others so that they seek Him (Ps. 83.16). Frequently, when His people gain a controlling interest in the affairs of men and nations, the work of restoring to uprightness the world which Jesus has reconciled by His death and resurrection will make significant, visible, and lasting progress.
Make no mistake about it: The enemies of Christ are fleeing before Him in this Kingdom age (Ps. 48.4-8). The Light of Truth has dawned, and the darkness is being driven back increasingly, over all the earth (1 Jn. 2.8). It is part of our living hope to see ahead to the progress of Christ’s Kingdom on earth, culminating in His glorious return, and in our being taken home with Him to the new heavens and new earth.
And that Kingdom progress begins within each one of us, and through us into the people, places, things, and situations of our daily lives. By looking ahead to the coming of Christ’s Kingdom, we strengthen the hope that focuses all our affections on Him, so that all our springs of life joy are in Jesus alone (Ps. 87.7).
1. Putting Christ’s enemies under His feet doesn’t necessarily mean destroying them. Meditate on Romans 5.10. How did Christ put you under His feet?
2. Read Psalm 107. With which aspects of these various “testimonies” can you identify? Why?
3. Meditate on 1 Peter 3.15. What is the believer’s role in being used of King Jesus to put His enemies under His feet? How does this work out in your own life?
Next steps – Preparation: What evidence do you see that God is putting the enemies of Christ under His feet? How is He doing this in your life?
T. M. Moore
Focusing on Jesus
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.