3rd June 2011

Safe At God’s Loving Right Hand

“The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand…’”
Psalm 110:1 (NIV UK)

Did David understand what he was writing about when he wrote Psalm 110?

This was the scripture that Martin Luther said was “worthy to be set in a frame of gold and diamonds”. It is only a few verses but it is full of messianic hope and significance, and, through a metaphor, gives us an insight into the relationship between the Father and the Son.

The metaphor is to do with how ancient people regarded the importance of the right hand. In biblical times the right hand symbolized power, honour and strength. To sit at the right hand of a king was a privileged position. It meant that the king trusted you and shared his authority with you. We talk of “a right hand man”, meaning someone upon whom we rely completely to carry out instructions.

David declares that the LORD (Hebrew “Yahweh”) says to David’s Lord (Hebrew “Adonai”) to sit in the trusted position of shared authority, the “right hand”. What could this mean? It is when we get to the New Testament that it becomes clearer. The book of Hebrews, in referring to this verse, explains that God did not share his authority with the angels, but that the resurrected Jesus ascended and “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:3, 13). The verse is also quoted by the Spirit-filled Peter in his first Pentecost sermon. He links it to Jesus: “Exalted to the right hand of God…God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:33,36). Later Peter wrote that Jesus “has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand – with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him” (1 Peter 3:22).

Paul saw this relationship of mutual trust between the Father and the Son as a source of encouragement to believers. Jesus “is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” and therefore “nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:34, 39).

Maybe David understood more than we think. One thing is for certain for those who are in Christ, says Paul: we are safe because “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

Thank you, Father, for including us in Christ Jesus who is at your right hand forevermore.

Study by James Henderson

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