Pt 2, 5/1/17

Psalm 45, A Psalm of Victory

Manner of Warfare

We see that Psalm 45 is a direct reference to the Messiah and fits in well with Peter's statement in Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

In vv. 1, 2, that the Psalmist had a glimpse of the redemptive work of Christ, and his exaltation over all things.

In vv. 3-5, the King he rides forth from his exalted position as Lord of lords, and King of kings to conquer the world.

The warfare of this Conquering King.

V. 3 To me, this is where the action starts, as the King goes forth to battle.

It seems today that the King is losing ground. It seems that His army is retreating in fear and defeat in the face of humanism. Humanism has infiltrated everywhere, and very few seem concerned about advancing the cause of the KING in the face of humanism’s opposition. Rather than Christian religious leaders offering the Biblical message of victory over the world, flesh and the devil, many are simply offering “fire insurance policies”; a false hope of heaven. They will be surprised when they hear “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Mat 7) He must be both Lord and Christ to the Redeemed. (Acts 2:36) “for whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” He must be both Lord and Master, or there is no hope for eternity. (Jn 13:13, 14. See http://www.biblicalexaminer.org/Com/2Peter%202.html#Lordship%20Sal)

Vv. 3ff. The King is coming straight from His exaltation at the right hand of His Father, where He was placed after conquering the greatest enemy of all---death. Now the Psalmist desires to see Him gird Himself with His sword, and use it to conquer His enemies.

Thy sword...

Is this a sword which cuts the multitudes to pieces and sheds lots of blood?
Is He charging into battle, as Constantine did, on a white horse and killing people by the thousands, all under the sign of a cross?

I think not. Such a bloody warfare is not in the character of this King of peace and righteousness. David was withheld from building a Temple to the God of Peace, for he was a “bloody man”.

Look at the carvings of the Assyrian kings who subdued their enemies: they have their foot on the heads of their conquered enemies. Christ’s enemies shall be placed under his footstool.

How does this Conquering King here go forth into battle?
How does He subdue His enemies before Himself?
Is the cry here "Submit to My authority or off comes your head," as the Queen of Hearts did in Alice in Wonderland? Or as the Muhammadans do today as they wage an
all out war against the King? (Ps 2)
Is His method of conquering here like we think of a king going to battle as David should have been doing when he got into trouble with Bathsheba? (II Sam. 2)

What does the Son of David use to conquer His enemies?

Though Jonathan Edwards’1741 message “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God” had no effect on his own congregation, it brought about a great “slaying” when preached in Enfield, Connecticut. The subduing of sinners was not due to the eloquence of Edwards as he read his sermon, but was due to the work of the Spirit, as He subdued a whole community of sinners to the King with the Sword of the Spirit.

One must always keep in mind that these Old Testament authors wrote from their perspective according to the world in which they lived. When they wrote of warfare, they only knew of one type of warfare---a literal, two-edged sword which shed much blood.

Again, we must go elsewhere in Scripture to interpret Scripture, for no Scripture is of private interpretation. One of the clearest Old Testament reference to this sword is in

Isaiah 49:1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. 2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; 3 And said unto me, Thou [art] my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

The Father made the Son’s mouth like a sharp sword.

V. 3, the psalmist saw a King with a sword on His thigh going forth to conquer His enemies. In v. 5, His enemies fell before Him. Of course, they could only see this in the light of their understanding. They understood how Joshua went into Canaan and how David conquered his enemies, but they could only see a dim shadow of the New Testament workings of grace that conquers the hardest of His enemies.

We have to go into the New Testament to get a clear picture of this sword of which the Old Testament prophets only saw a glimpse. Even though Isaiah had a good glimpse of this sword when he compared the Mouth of the Lord to a sharp sword, he still did not see it clearly.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things [are] naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

This is the sword of the exalted King under the New Covenant. It is the Word of God which causes the multitudes to fall before the Kin of Glory; that is, subdued under His footstool.

Three times in the Revelation of the Lord Jesus it speaks of the Sword of His Mouth as a bloody sword, 2:16. 19:15, 21.

Isaiah 1:20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
Revelation 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God, 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

To take the above, particularly 19:21, literally will leave King Jesus riding on a literal white horse with a literal sword proceeding from his mouth which sheds the literal blood of his enemies. A terrible and bloody mess. Is this the King of Peace?

"Why should the sword of the Spirit lie still, like a weapon hung up in an armory: it is sharp and strong, both for cutting and piercing: O that the divine power of Jesus were put forth to use it against error. The words before us represent our great king as urged to arm himself for battle, by placing his sword where it is ready for use." (Spurgeon, Treasury, 317.)

First, we see that the King is exalted to the place of all power and authority because of His perfect obedience.
Second, we see that from His exalted position He goes to battle. How does He use this sword?

1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

This is not talking of the manner of delivering the word of God, preaching. Rather, this is referring to the message, the word of God. The world considers the Word of God foolish. But notice what it is! The spoken Word is the wisdom and power of God.

V. 3.

The Psalmist desire for the King to put on His sword and conquer his enemies. The desire of His people is that the King would “ride prosperously.”

This Sword is the Word of God preached by men, and used by the Spirit of God to subdue those who were at one time enemies of God, and were outside the covenant.

22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.(Ezekiel 34, 37:26, Heb 13:20)

This word of God is the power of God. It is not the power of God to every one; it is the power of God to the ones he has chosen,

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where [is] the wise? where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

It is the power of God only to those who the Lord has seen fit to call to himself, and according to His good pleasure. To the rest, it is foolishness.

Thus, the power of God is the sword, but not a sword as the prophets of old saw, nor as we think of a sword. The power of God is the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God which proceeds out of His mouth.

1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building.

Here we see the saints going forth to battle under the leadership of the Captain of the Lord's host. He alone is the True Conqueror;
He alone is the True Champion;
He alone is the Head of His Church, which is His army, and equips them for battle. (Ez 37&c.)

As this army goes into battle against the gates of hell armed with what has been provided for them on the cross, and the word of God, the gates of even hell itself will not prevail against this army,

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

His saints go forth armed with faith and a clear conscience which enables them to war a good warfare. They use the sword and armour provided by the KING, and His Spirit does the rest.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (His army’s armour is listed in vv. 12-18, 1 Thes 5:8)

There is no reason for the sword to hang in the armory. It is to be taken up by the King's people and used to advance against the hordes of hell.

We need to be reminded that our power against the enemy lies in the skillful use of this Sword, the Word of God, not in any reasoning ability other than reasoning out of the scriptures;

Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

Nor is there conquoring power in numbers, which is why the people of God are urged many times to continually study the word of God, which is our weapon. (And of course, prayer is required to give power, understanding and wisdom to properly uses what has been provided.)

When men try to argue for God using "scientific facts" and “vain traditions”, the battle is lost before it is begun. Our power over the enemy lies in our skillful use of His Sword. Read "Justin's Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew (140 A.D.). His argument is almost exclusively an argument using scripture, which is the source of our might and power. Here is the advance of the KING. "For to grid on the sword is to prepare for battle". As soon as He was exalted in Psalms 45, He puts on his sword.

1 Samuel 2:1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. 2 [There is] none holy as the LORD: for [there is] none beside thee: neither [is there] any rock like our God. 3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let [not] arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD [is] a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. 4 The bows of the mighty men [are] broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. 5 [They that were] full have hired out themselves for bread; and [they that were] hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. 6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. 8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them. 9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. 10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

Notice that as soon as David became king over all of the covenant people, he went to battle, 2 Sam. 5:6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. 7 Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.

As soon as the King ascended to the Right hand of the Father, He went to war against the enemy of all righteousness. The King of Psalms 45 could have used His power to come charging into this world on a white horse as the Jews expected, ridding to victory with the battle cry "Repent or perish, death by the sword," as do the Mohammeds. “Confess Allah, or die an horrible death.” But our King did not choose that method,

John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

He chose to use people. As people use the Sword of the Spirit -- the Word of God -- then our King moves into action.