Theme: Anticipating a Future Day
In this week’s lessons, we are again directed to the privilege of offering to the Lord our worship and our thanks for who he is, for what he has done, and for what he promises to do for his people.
Scripture: Psalm 138:1-8
Earlier in this study I wrote that the psalm is somewhat messianic due to the way it mentions the kings of the earth worshiping God in some future day. That must be the coming day of messianic blessing when the promised king will have come to rule from his throne forever. This is what verses 4 and 5 are describing. I pointed out before that because David is himself a king he is concerned for kings and looks forward to a day when all the rulers of the earth will bow before him who is King of kings and Lord of lords. That day will come, of course. Philippians 2:9-11 tells us that God has given to Jesus “… the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
David is speaking along those lines in this psalm, noting that the end result will be God’s glory. But in David’s case these words are not so much a declaration of what God has done, as in Philippians, or even a prophecy of what he will yet do, but a prayer that the kings of earth might thank God and sing his praises.
How is this to happen? We know it will happen by the sovereign power of God when Jesus Christ returns. It is the day when every knee will be forced to bow before him. But we find something else in the psalm. David says that the kings of the earth will praise God “when they hear the words of [his] mouth” (v. 4). This might mean, “when they hear God himself on the day he thunders from Zion.” But it probably means, “when those who know God declare his words to them.” In other words, the psalm is acknowledging the need for the people of God to be missionaries.
This fits the context of the psalm in which the writer is making a bold confession of God’s love and faithfulness himself. But it is also what makes the psalm especially relevant to us and our time. It is true that God has exalted Jesus, having given him a name that is above every name, and that everyone in heaven and on earth will acknowledge that one day. But in the meantime, our Great Commission is to make God and his gospel known. As Jesus himself said, we are to “make disciples of all nations” until “the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19, 20).
What does David anticipate?
How does David encourage us to be missionaries?
Reflection: Do you take every opportunity you have to witness?
Prayer: Pray for an unbelieving friend to come to know Christ.
Key Point: It is true that God has exalted Jesus, having given him a name that is above every name, and that everyone in heaven and on earth will acknowledge that one day.