Daily Gospel: 5/18/11 - Psalm 18 & Jesus' Reign

As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
foreigners came cringing to me.
Foreigners lost heart
and came trembling out of their fortresses.
 - Psalm 18:44-45

This post is going to be a little strange. How in the world does one see gospel truth in the verses above?

When I was reading Psalm 18 last night and came to these verses, I immediately focused on the words "obeyed" and "foreigners". Before David describes the response of the foreign nations around Israel to his deliverance from Saul and all his enemies (see the title of the Psalm), he speaks of how he has brought destruction to his enemies. He "pursued [his] enemies and overtook them" and "beat them like fine dust" and "cast them out like the mire of the streets". Those are powerful words describing David's actions towards his enemies. Naturally, David did not literally pulverize his opponents to dust physically or throw them into the street like sewage in a bucket, but we can get a poetic sense of the severity with which David's enemies were dealt.

How does this relate to the gospel?

Jesus triumphed over death, sin, and Satan, as many have preached. Indeed, these are all true. Additionally, if all the words of the scriptures testify of Jesus, and they do according to Jesus who said so on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24), then this psalm must somehow point to Christ.

I am far from an expert on prophecy, OT/NT connections, and writing exegetically in general, but let me offer some thoughts.
  • Jesus was a descendant of David and ultimately the climatic figure in that royal line. Jesus is the recipient of God's steadfast love because he is the anointed one - the Messiah (Ps. 18:50).
  • If foreign nations came to David with trembling fear after hearing of his conquests, how much more should we revere and fear Jesus, who had a far greater conquest than David, a conquest over death itself?
  • Just as foreigners came to David in trembling fear, so will people from every nation come to Jesus because of his blood by which they are ransomed (Rev. 5:9).
  • David tells of how he will sing praises to the LORD "among the nations" (Ps. 18:49). Jesus is the divine King who calls people from every tribe to himself in joyful worship (Rev. 7:9).

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