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The Davidic Psalms 2

D. Imprecatory Psalms – Psalm 35, 109, 140.

What is an imprecatory psalm? The easiest way to explain it would be to say that it is the opposite of asking God to bless someone. In other words, it is asking God to destroy your enemies. Most Christians are uncomfortable with these psalms, because we think of Christ’s mercy and His command to love our enemies, and that seems to stand in conflict with the attitude that David expresses multiple times in the Psalms. Yet I do not believe there is any genuine conflict between what Christ commands and what David prays for here. But we must examine some examples in order for me to submit my case.

Let us begin with Psalm 35.
Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me!
Take hold of shield and buckler
and rise for my help!
Draw the spear and javelin
against my pursuers!
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation!” (Psalm 35:1-3).
David gets right to the point, no beating around the bush, in asking God to fight against those who are fighting him. But what is interesting is in the third verse, where David views God acting in this manner as being identical to God saving David. There is a very real sense in which this is the case. The enemies of God’s people do need to be opposed by God, or else we will be overwhelmed by them. Thus, it is right and proper to ask God to intervene.

David now asks for some specific help:
Let them be put to shame and dishonor
who seek after my life!
Let them be turned back and disappointed
who devise evil against me!
Let them be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the LORD driving them away!
Let their way be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the LORD pursuing them! (Psalm 35:4-6).
These are all the opposite of blessings. What David asks for is akin to a curse upon the enemies. And if we wonder why he asks for such, he tells us:
For without cause they hid their net for me;
without cause they dug a pit for my life.
Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it!
And let the net that he hid ensnare him;
let him fall into it—to his destruction! (Psalm 35:7-8).
Once again, David protests that he is innocent and is being unjustly attacked by his enemies. What is interesting here is that David, in essence, is asking that God bring the evil that his enemies intend against David back upon their head. This is the sense in which most imprecatory psalms play out. The idea is that the pit that someone digs for another is the pit that he falls into himself. This brings out the sense of justice, for it applies similarly to the maxim “an eye for an eye” (which we already discussed meant the punishment should fit the crime) and, indeed, it also fits the idea of restitution. When a man stole a sheep, he had to pay back the sheep as well as losing one from his own flock. In a similar manner, what David asks for here is that those who intend harm against him be harmed instead, in a measure equal to that with which they intended to harm David.

Thus, what David prays for is not gratuitous cursing, but commensurate. And if God does do as David requests, what would be his response?
Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD,
exulting in his salvation.
All my bones shall say,
“O LORD, who is like you,
delivering the poor
from him who is too strong for him,
the poor and needy from him who robs him?” (Psalm 35:9-10).
It is easy for us to overlook the fact that David is suffering real harm when he cries out this imprecatory psalm. Thus, God fighting against his enemies would be genuine help for David, such that his very bones would cry out in relief. David goes on to explain some of what he has been facing:
Malicious witnesses rise up;
they ask me of things that I do not know.
They repay me evil for good;
my soul is bereft.
But I, when they were sick—
I wore sackcloth;
I afflicted myself with fasting;
I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother;
as one who laments his mother,
I bowed down in mourning.

But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered;
they gathered together against me;
wretches whom I did not know
tore at me without ceasing;
like profane mockers at a feast,
they gnash at me with their teeth (Psalm 35:11-16).
David treated his enemies with kindness, praying for them when they were sick, grieving with them as a friend or brother. Yet, they in return rejoiced as his trials and mocked him. They lied about him and caused him all the more misery. This is who David had to deal with, and this is why he asked God to intervene. Nor had this been a momentary thing, for David cries out:
How long, O Lord, will you look on?
Rescue me from their destruction,
my precious life from the lions!
I will thank you in the great congregation;
in the mighty throng I will praise you (Psalm 35:17-18).
Once again, we see God’s timing does not always fit what we want. We often face trials for a long time—long enough for us to cry out, “How long, O Lord?” David felt that way too, and promises that he will praise God when God does act.

David also asks for the following:
Let not those rejoice over me
who are wrongfully my foes,
and let not those wink the eye
who hate me without cause.
For they do not speak peace,
but against those who are quiet in the land
they devise words of deceit.
They open wide their mouths against me;
they say, “Aha, Aha!
Our eyes have seen it!” (Psalm 35:19-21).
When we suffer, our sufferings are enough in and of themselves, but almost always added to it comes the rejoicing of our foes. This makes it all the more unbearable for us. What David speaks of is common to us all—we have each experienced it at some point. And, indeed, sometimes the mockery of others is worse than the trials we are facing.

But David knows that God, while acting slowly, is not unaware of what is going on: “You have seen, O LORD; be not silent! O Lord, be not far from me!” (verse 22). Again, notice the difference in the word “LORD” and “Lord” here. David is addressing God both by His Holy Name, YHWH, and by the title of Sovereign adonai. And what is more, he knows that God is looking on. Why does God remain silent then? David implores God to act!

This is part of why I love the psalms so much. They are real. David is expressing exactly what I have often felt. And thus, he ends the psalm with a desire I’ve felt as well:
Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication,
for my cause, my God and my Lord!
Vindicate me, O LORD, my God,
according to your righteousness,
and let them not rejoice over me!
Let them not say in their hearts,
“Aha, our heart’s desire!”
Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”

Let them be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who rejoice at my calamity!
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
who magnify themselves against me!

Let those who delight in my righteousness
shout for joy and be glad
and say evermore,
“Great is the LORD,
who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
and of your praise all the day long (Psalm 35:23-28).
David knows that God could act, but that God has not yet acted. Thus, he implores God to “Awake!” Now it is obvious that David knows God is not truly sleeping, because he has already pointed out that God has seen what was going on and is remaining silent. So David’s request here is that God actually do something to help. He wants vindication. He wants his enemies to not be able to mock him, but instead to be put to shame for their treatment of David.

None of these things is wrong of David to ask for, and by extension we can take comfort knowing that we are right in asking God for the same thing when we are facing foes. That does not mean God will necessarily answer our prayers, at least the way we think He might, but it is certainly not sinful of David to pray this way. What his foes were doing was, indeed, wrong. And it is right to ask God to intervene and make His justice known. It is okay to plead with God and request He act when He has been silent and unmoving. It is not sinful for us to ask God to “awake” as long as we realize that He was never literally sleeping.

Psalm 109 continues along a similar theme, beginning: “Be not silent, O God of my praise!” And why would David fear God is silent? Again:
For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
They encircle me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
In return for my love they accuse me,
but I give myself to prayer.
So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love (Psalm 109:2-5).
Once again, David is faced with liars who are accusing him of all sorts of things, repaying his good with evil. What is David’s response to this?
Appoint a wicked man against him;
let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him come forth guilty;
let his prayer be counted as sin!
May his days be few;
may another take his office!
May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow!
May his children wander about and beg,
seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!
May the creditor seize all that he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!
Let there be none to extend kindness to him,
nor any to pity his fatherless children!
May his posterity be cut off;
may his name be blotted out in the second generation!
May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD,
and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out!
Let them be before the LORD continually,
that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth! (Psalm 109:6-15).
How many of us could pray this way today? Does this not seem harsh? Doesn’t it seem unforgiving? David is literally asking that God appoint a wicked man against his enemies!

And the thing is, God has done just that sort of thing in the past. We know that God is sovereign over evil just as much as He is over good. David clearly recognized this as well, which is why he asked God to appoint the wicked man.

This can be very difficult for us to understand, having been raised in a Christian culture where our desire is to forgive first. But again, I point out that David does nothing wrong here. He is, in fact, asking God to use evil in an appropriate manner. Again, he is not asking for gratuitous evil, but for evil to be used against itself. In a sense, David is asking God to redeem evil, for we see the reason why:
For he did not remember to show kindness,
but pursued the poor and needy
and the brokenhearted, to put them to death.
He loved to curse; let curses come upon him!
He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!
He clothed himself with cursing as his coat;
may it soak into his body like water,
like oil into his bones!
May it be like a garment that he wraps around him,
like a belt that he puts on every day!
May this be the reward of my accusers from the LORD,
of those who speak evil against my life! (Psalm 109:16-20).
Again, David is asking for nothing more than that the evil that a man plots be directed against that man instead of against an innocent victim. If a man loves to curse, then let him be cursed! If he hates blessings, let blessing be far away. Thus, David is asking for the evildoer to get his just desserts, to reap what he has sown. But what about David, in comparison?
But you, O GOD my Lord,
deal on my behalf for your name’s sake;
because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!
For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is stricken within me.
I am gone like a shadow at evening;
I am shaken off like a locust.
My knees are weak through fasting;
my body has become gaunt, with no fat.
I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they wag their heads (Psalm 109:21-25).
David first asks that God deal with him ‘for your name’s sake.” David knows that he cannot ground God’s actions in his own righteousness, but he must seek mercy on the basis of the Name of God. “Because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!” he begs. He then shows how much he has already suffered for the sake of God, and how he has become such an object of scorn.
Help me, O LORD my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love!
Let them know that this is your hand;
you, O LORD, have done it!
Let them curse, but you will bless!
They arise and are put to shame, but your servant will be glad!
May my accusers be clothed with dishonor;
may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a cloak! (Psalm 109:26-29).
It is for that reason that David asks for help. And more than that, he wants his enemies to know that “this is your hand.” He wants God to be glorified as the one how has done it. The result, if that happens, is David’s promise:
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy one,
to save him from those who condemn his soul to death (Psalm 109:30-31).
David will give thanks and praise God if he is delivered. Again, David’s words come across very harshly to us these days, but his views are legitimate. They are not condemned by Scripture. Rather, they fit in with much of the rest of what we have read so far. It is not David who is speaking “out of step” with what God has revealed so far, but rather it is us who do so.

We will take a look at Psalm 140 for our final imprecatory psalm. We’ve already established the pattern of imprecatory psalms, so let me quote the whole thing first and look at it at a more global level:
Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men;
preserve me from violent men,
who plan evil things in their heart
and stir up wars continually.
They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s,
and under their lips is the venom of asps.

Guard me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
preserve me from violent men,
who have planned to trip up my feet.
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net;
beside the way they have set snares for me.

I say to the LORD, You are my God;
give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
O LORD, my Lord, the strength of my salvation,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked;
do not further their evil plot, or they will be exalted!

As for the head of those who surround me,
let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
Let burning coals fall upon them!
Let them be cast into fire,
into miry pits, no more to rise!
Let not the slanderer be established in the land;
let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!

I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
and will execute justice for the needy.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall dwell in your presence (Psalm 140).
So once again, we see that the psalm begins with David being oppressed by violent, evil men. These men plan evil constantly. David first asks that God preserves him from their traps and snares, then asks that God ignores the desires of the wicked and frustrate their evil plots, lest they be exalted. He then asks for “burning coals” to fall upon them so they are torn down and not established in the land. And David concludes by saying that God will be on the side of the afflicted and will give justice to the needy, so that the righteous give thanks to Him and dwell with Him.

So again, the pattern is clear: when evil men oppress us, it is well and right for us to pray to God that He first protect us, but that He also use the evil plans men devise against them, so that it is as if burning coals are heaped upon their heads. There is nothing wrong with asking God to do so, and there is nothing wrong with God in fact carrying out that judgment. If we avoid talking of imprecatory psalms, we are cutting ourselves off from a very important aspect of who God is.

And that, perhaps, is the most important part I want to emphasize here. David wrote imprecatory psalms precisely because he could see how important justice was to God, and he could see the injustice that evil men carried out against the lowly, weak, and innocent people—including against David himself. This rightly provoked David to anger, and it was not a sinful anger. His was an anger rooted in justice and righteousness, the same type of anger that God Himself displays against evil.

For make no mistake, while God is a forgiving God He also is a righteous God, and at the end of the day there will come a reckoning. Those who have done evil will be faced with the results of their evil. Those who know they must turn to God will be saved by His mercy, however. But the imprecatory psalms exist, in part, for us to remember who God is, His zeal for His righteousness, and the fact that God could strike at any moment, and justly so.

E. Prophetic Psalms – Psalm 2, 22, 110.

We now turn to our final category of psalms, the prophetic psalms. To be fair, some of the psalms we already looked at have had some elements of prophecy. But I’m going to look at three psalms in particular, from the perspective of one who does not yet know how Christ came to fulfill them. They will function as a bit of foreshadowing as we continue.

We begin with Psalm 2. One thing I will point out before we being is that many of the prophetic psalms were known to be Messianic for quite some time before Jesus was born, but not all of them are clear as to whether or not David himself knew it was prophetic. In the case of Psalm 2, it is clear that even he knew it was Messianic, for it refers to the LORD’s “Anointed” in verse 2 (Messiah means “Anointed”).

In any case, let us look in detail:
Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:1-3).
David asks the obvious question: why is it that people rage and plot when they know it is in vain? They set themselves up against God and His Messiah, yet they know that they will lose. For who can thwart God? Indeed, for all their raging:
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill” (Psalm 2:4-6).
God literally laughs at the impotent raging of mankind. He holds those who seek to overthrow Him “in derision.” Yet He will also act in anger toward them, and He will accomplish His ends. God’s sovereignty is supreme.

David then gives one of the clearest prophecies about who the Messiah would be:
I will tell of the decree:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:7-9).
The Messiah would be the very Son of God, and all nations of the earth will be given to Him. This would have drastic consequences for the world, as one might expect:
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psalm 2:10-12).
The Messiah will rule over all the earth. Of that, there is no doubt. Therefore, wise kings and rules would know they must serve the LORD. It is interesting that David here plays with the relationship between the LORD and His Son, in that serving the LORD is equivalent to kissing the Son. (Kissing, in those times, meant to be favorable toward someone, as only friends would kiss each other—and indeed, it specified close friendship.)

Before continuing, there is one other thing to note about the Messiah. “His wrath is quickly kindled.” This is not something we typically think of, but the words are quite clear here. The nations have an opportunity to serve the Son in friendship, but if they do not do so they will perish, for the Son’s wrath is quick to kindle. We ignore this prophecy at our own peril.

Let us look at Psalm 22 now. It is one of those prophetic psalms where we are not sure if David knew he was prophesying as he wrote it. When we look back on it from the events of the cross, it is obvious that it is prophetic however. Indeed, Jesus quoted the very opening line of this psalm while He was on the cross, in part I believe so that we would examine the psalm more fully. It is not possible to do it justice without knowing what will come to pass, but for now I want to try to limit myself to the mindset of our hypothetical time traveler who is unaware of Christ.

The psalm begins:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest (Psalm 22:1-2).
Even without knowing about Christ, the despair evident in these lines is clear. Why has God abandoned His Messiah? Everyone of us has felt abandoned by God at one time or another, but knowing that this is prophetic helps us realize that no matter how abandoned we have felt, we’ve never truly experienced the actual aspect of being forsaken. After all, as God had promised to Joshua: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Even when it seems like He has, no one—other than His Messiah—has ever truthfully been able to say he has been forsaken of God.

Does the fact that the Messiah will be forsaken mean that God is not a good God? No:
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame (Psalm 22:3-5).
God has, indeed, saved His people time and again. All who trusted in God were rescued when they cried out. But this was not to be for the Messiah:
But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” (Psalm 22:6-8).
These words ring with sadness and despair, and yet this is what would happen to the Messiah. He would be treated as a worm, not a man. He would be mocked by all who saw Him. Indeed, they would torment Him for His faith in God, mocking Him for not being saved when God had saved so many through Him before.
Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help (Psalm 22:9-11).
Verse 10 is one of the reasons why I think David perhaps knew this was a prophetic psalm, for he said in Psalm 51 that he was conceived in iniquity, yet here says “from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” Furthermore, I think we see predicted for us that the Messiah would be born without the taint of Original Sin, that all other human beings have had to endure.

The trials of the Messiah are just beginning however:
Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.

For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots (Psalm 22:12-18).
Again, the foreshadowing here is quite striking. The Messiah is surrounded by enemies, described both as bulls and as roaring lions and then later as dogs. Bashan (where the bulls are from) is the same land where King Og was located, whom Israel defeated in Numbers 21, but I don’t think this has any particular relevance or symbology, other than the fact that the bulls in the area were considered large and fat.

More importantly is the fact that the Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced and his garments would be divided by the casting of lots. This is quite a specific prophecy of what is to come. The odds of this just randomly happening are so remote as to be impossible.
But you, O LORD, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen! (Psalm 22:19-21).
Even at this point, however, the Messiah still refuses to give up His faith in God. God can deliver and rescue Him from the “power of the dog” and “the mouth of the lion” and the “horns of the wild oxen.” As a result:
I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him (Psalm 22:22-24).
Despite all that the Messiah endures, He still proclaims the Name of the LORD to His brothers, and asks that they all praise God! And even at this point, the Messiah proclaims that God “has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted.” So clearly, He differentiates between what the bulls, dogs, lions, and like are doing to Him and what God is doing. While God has forsaken Him, God has not despised Him. Indeed:
From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
May your hearts live forever! (Psalm 22:25-26).
The Messiah’s praise will come from directly from God. His torment will be worth it in the end, for:
All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
For kingship belongs to the LORD,
and he rules over the nations.

All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it (Psalm 22:27-31).
So the psalm that starts so dark and bleak ends with a promise: every part of Earth will turn to the LORD because of what the Messiah endured. And this is certain, because God is sovereign: “For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.” Every generation will be told this, forevermore.

Again, we cannot be certain how much of this David understood, but it was clear that he knew some of what would happen. The Messiah would be tortured and tormented, but God would ultimately vindicate Him, and through the process the entire Earth would be saved.

Psalm 110 is the final prophetic psalm we will examine, although there are so many more that could be looked at. I have chosen this one for a specific reason, found in the first verse:

“The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’”

We have commented several times on the capitalizations and what they mean. What this verse is literally saying is: “YHWH said to my adonai” yet throughout God has been called both YHWH and adonai. How is it possible that they are now referring to two different beings?

This psalm is clearly about the Messiah, and by this opening sentence David is asserting that the Messiah is both distinct from God in some sense, and yet identified with God in another sense. While it would not be until the New Testament that we can get a full development of the Trinity to make sense of this, it is a mistake to believe the Old Testament does not foreshadow the Trinity at all, for this is one place where it clearly does.

We continue with the prophesy about the Messiah:
The LORD sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:2-4).
The Messiah is first described as a “mighty scepter.” This ought to bring to mind the blessing Jacob gave to his sons in Genesis 49, where Jacob said: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples” (Genesis 49:10). Thus, the Messiah is predicted to be from the tribe of Judah.

But this could be seen as problematic, because the LORD also says to the Messiah “You are a priest forever.” But all priests were from the tribe of Levi. That is why God continued: “after the order of Melchizedek.”

Melchizedek was the “random” priest from Salem that Abraham gave a tithe to in Genesis 14. Genesis 14:18 even says “He was priest of God Most High”, and this before Levi was ever born. This is how the Messiah could both be from the lineage of Judah and still a priest, and the implications of the priestly order of Melchizedek will be explained even further when we get the book of Hebrews in the New Testament.

Psalm 110 ends this way:
The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head (Psalm 110:5-7).
It is quite clear that much of what we read here is not something we think of the Messiah doing. We don’t think “he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath” for we do not think of Him as being wrathful. But this is now the second prophecy warning of His wrath (remember Psalm 2?). We also see that the Messiah will “execute judgment among the nations.”

Again, this is odd for David to have written as being done by the Messiah, because judgment was something that only God would do. Thus, the only way for this to be legitimate is if the Messiah is also divine. Yet David clearly knew that the Messiah was distinct from YHWH too.

Did David fully understand the Trinity? I don’t think it likely. But he knew what God had revealed here, and had thus seems to have had some grasp of it.

F. Conclusion

We have now examined several different types of psalms that David wrote. There is a lot to unpack, and I wish I had more time to go through every single psalm. Still, what we have examined is sufficient for us to conclude a few things about the nature of God.

First, God is a holy, righteous, and just God. He is sovereign over all that will happen. He is even able to bring evil upon those who seek to be evil towards His people. He deserves praise and glory.

Secondly, we have learned that we are able to petition God for help. We can do so by being open and honest about our afflictions. We can tell Him that He seems to be far away and not listening, and we are not sinning against Him to do so. We can express ourselves before Him and ask for what we desire, all while giving thanks for what He has already given and praising Him for His steadfast love.

Thirdly, we have learned that each of us sins, but that God literally removes sin completely from us (as far as the east is from the west). He does so not by directly removing the sin as such, but by not counting it as iniquity, while He does count our faith as righteousness. While there is still much that needs to be developed along those lines for us to fully understand how salvation works, the kernel is there, and it is not different from what it will be in the New Testament. God is consistent throughout all time.

Fourthly, we have learned that it is okay and just for us to pray imprecatory psalms against our enemies, as long as our prayers are not seeking gratuitous evil against our foes. Rather, the proper way of praying imprecatory psalms is that we pray the evil that our enemies would set upon us instead redounds to their own head.

Finally, we learned a lot about who the Messiah would be. He would rule the nations. He mocks them for trying to thwart His plan. At the same time, He will suffer and His hands and feet will be pierced. His clothing will be gambled away. And we have learned that while He is distinct from God, He also is rightly viewed as divine for He has attributes that only belong to God, thus giving us the first taste of the Trinity. So David’s psalms are not only beautifully written, but they are rich and deep with theology.

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