This week, we’re slowing down the pace a bit to focus in on the first events David does after he is established as king by the twelve tribes. Next week, we’ll see what happens once David is enthroned. There’s great anticipation building here because we’re finally about to see God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule.
Pay attention to the progression of these psalms: Psalm 102 – The Lord is enthroned and reigns forever. Psalm 103 – The Lord is a King who desires to be in relationship with his people, so he redeemed them and showed them steadfast love. Psalm 104 – The Lord is very great and numerous are his works! His glory must endure forever! This progression is similar to how New Testament believers speak in light of God’s final work of redemption through Jesus.
What we read briefly in Samuel is expounded in more detail in Chronicles. The differences matter because each author is telling the story from a different perspective for a different audience. Here are a few brief implications: In 2 Sam. 5:12, David understands his role as a servant – his kingdom is for the sake of his people Israel. In 1 Chron. 11-12, you see each of the twelve tribes unite around David as King because the Lord of hosts was with him.
Seeing how the twelve tribes united around David yesterday, how does this psalm shed more light on it? The tribes often quarreled with each other under the judges, but now, they are united together under one king. The precious oil on the head is the blessing of God, here described as plentifully dispensed and running down Aaron’s (the first high priest’s) beard even to the collar of his robe. The second comparison of verse 3 is like the dew of Mt. Hermon. Mt. Hermon is in the far north of Israel and its dew would “bless” the whole land of Israel – including Mt. Zion – as it ran from the “head” of the country southward, down the mountain streams, into the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River throughout the land.
Both of these are psalms about God’s covenant faithfulness and his “loyal, steadfast, covenant love.” These psalms have a clear-eyed view of both Israel’s own sin and God’s unflinching faithfulness. It’s important for the people of God to remember the biblical storyline – because knowing what story we’re in helps us know how to act. The application of this passage is given to us in 107:43 – “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.” As people who live on this side of the cross and resurrection, who have seen the fulfillment of the New Covenant.
The tribes are united around King David, now all that’s left is for the king to establish proper worship by bringing the Ark of the Covenant to the place where God determined to make his name known. The account of Uzzah in chapter 13 is well-known for its shock value, but it’s also very important to read this in connection with chapter 15 – where we learn why God “broke out” against Uzzah. They pushed it on a cart and did not carry it according to the rule, according to the word of the Lord. If that seems trite, then we probably need to consider more deeply the holiness of God.
These are psalms that describe God as King. Psalm 2 gives a clear articulation of how God relates to the King of Israel – like a Father to a Son. In that context, pay attention to how God rules and reigns because that’s a picture of how the kings should reign – and it’s ultimately an indictment against the Old Testament kings because they fail to reign that way. These psalms leave us hoping for a True and Better King who will one day rule God’s people. It’s no coincidence Jesus bursts onto the scene of the New Testament talking about the kingdom of God. Our application question comes from Psalm 68:19.
Upon first glance, this might seem like a random assortment of psalms, but you’ll notice how they fit together if you read carefully. Psalm 89 is written by Ethan the Ezrahite, who is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 15:19, which we read on Thursday. In 1 Chronicles 16:41, there were several guys “expressly named” to give thanks to the Lord because of his steadfast love. Keep your eyes open for that theme in these psalms. Psalm 96 should sound very similar to what David sang in 1 Chron. 16:8-36. Our applications are from Psalm 101:3-4.