2007-01-06 - Lifting Up
Psalm 110:7, "He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head."
This Psalm is Messianic from start to finish. This seventh verse respects the means by which Christ would obtain His kingdom. Those means are by his suffering and resurrection. It might not seem at first blush that this verse is about the sufferings and resurrection of Christ, but taken in the light of the whole Psalm, and with a little investigation as to the use of language in this verse I think it will become clear.
The idea of the brook in this verse is a little difficult in the Hebrew. The Hebrew word here can mean either a raging torrent of water or a gentle stream. In Psalm 18:5 the use of this word designates "floods of ungodliness." However, in Psalm 36:8 this same word is used to express the "river of divine pleasures." There is certainly a varied use of this word. We could take this word as expressing either the sufferings that Christ would undergo, or the refreshments He experienced in His earthly ministry. They could be either waters of affliction or of comfort. Regardless of which way we interpret the use of this word "brook," it expresses an aspect of what Christ experienced. Maybe, depending upon the emphasis we would like to use we could understand it one way on one day, and another way on another day, since both are true. I am indebted to the work of George Horne for the understanding of the above.
Other commentators tend to take this verse in a military manner. Namely, like a soldier, Christ would endure hardship, but would be refreshed, "beside the way." David Dickson writes, "Whatever a good soldier doeth or suffereth in his warfare against, and in pursuit of his enemies, Christ did and suffered in pursuing his enemies in his own person, and shall do and suffer in his mystical body." I am not sure this is as helpful in understanding the Messianic aspects of this verse beyond that which was given above, but several commentators do take the verse in this light. As with all of Scripture we cannot rip this verse from the context of the overall passage, which in this case is the entire Psalm. The Psalm is really one thought and to examine a part of it, we really have to consider the whole. This is a good general rule in Biblical interpretation.
The last part of this verse is a glorious prophetic utterance that respects the exaltation of Christ. After His sufferings and afflictions Christ is lifted up. We, of course, see this in His resurrection from the dead and His ascension to glory. This brings the Psalm to a close as a unit because His being lifted up is the first thing this Psalm speak of in verse 1. Verse 1 is quoted in Hebrews 1:13, and referenced in Hebrews 10:13, and here this Psalm ends with the lifting up of Christ.
The issue here is are we living our lives as if Christ really was lifted up? Are we living in such a manner that demonstrates we understand, believe, and trust that this life is more than about earthly concerns? If Christ is lifted up, we also, as His followers will one day be lifted up with Him. It is a great and glorious promise to all the faithful in Jesus Christ. He has been, Philippians 2:9, "highly exalted," and one day, 2:10, "every knee shall bow." That day is coming and we would be wise to live in a manner so as not to be ashamed on that great day.
Soli Deo Gloria,