Song for a King

[Originally posted by geoff thompson on 26 May 2013]

Today’s faithful daily read is a meditation, from Psalm 120

Do you ‘experience’ the psalms? Do you think of them as a spiritual songbook, building in theological hope and emotion? The Psalms’, nickname is  ‘hymn book of the 2nd temple’. 

The psalms are not a random collection. There is purpose to their compilation.

There are 5 books to the psalms, each ending with a doxology of praise. The first two books are predominantly psalms of David reflecting the journey, aspirations and agonies of the shepherd-king (1-41; 42-72). The third (73-89) are predominantly from Solomon’s era which carry a growing sense of the kingdom starting to lose the high ground of David’s reign. The fourth book (90-106) seems to return to David’s themes, and the fifth (107-150)… well, the fifth book begins with the ‘songs of ascent’ (coronation songs). The hymnbook finishes on a mountain-top high of praise.

So here, following Ps 119 (the longest psalm) comes a Psalm only 5 verses long!

Imagine David using this psalm. He is God’s ruler, his enemies surround him.

Imagine the Messiah using this psalm. He is the Prince of Peace, speaking the gospel of peace but he is blasphemed and perjured. God will vindicate him.

How do you read this psalm? As God’s faithful servant, weary in a hostile world?

This psalm is included in the ‘Ascent collection’ because even the king suffers on the way to his throne. The king who once suffered, now reigns. He keeps us, and guards our reputations.

Jesus is on his throne.

Have a good day of rest, Geoff.

Bonhoeffer’s reflection of the Psalms: ‘Who prays the Psalter? David (Solomon, Asaph, etc.) prays. Christ prays. We pray. We who pray are, first of all, the whole community of faith in which alone the entire richness of the Psalter can be prayed. But those who pray are also, finally, all individuals insofar as they have a part in Christ and in their congregation and share in the praying of their prayer’