A king naturally holds a position of honor—he is the king. It is clear, however, in the Hebrew Bible that the honor of the king is entirely dependent upon God, for he is the one who chooses who is to be king. He is the one who chose Saul and gave him the kingdom (1 Samuel 10). When Saul disobeyed, God dishonored him and took the kingdom and gave it to another more honorable than Saul. David never forgot that the blessing of being king over God’s people was a gift of God.
O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices, and in your salvation how greatly he exults! You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold upon his head. He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever and ever. His glory is great through your salvation; splendor and majesty you bestow on him. For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved (Psalm 21:1-7).
It is God who gives the king his heart’s desire (v. 2). God is the one who sets a crown of fine gold upon his head (v. 3). God is the one who sets him up as king. It is through God’s salvation that the glory of the king is great, for God is the one who gives him splendor and majesty.
God will exalt his king over all his enemies and give him great glory. “I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.¹ His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine” (Psalm 132:17-18). The enemies of the king are shamed, but the king himself is honored with a shining crown.
God promised David that his descendants would reign over his people and that one would come whose kingdom would not end. “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son” (2 Samuel 7:12-14).
In Psalm 2 we see that the Lord’s anointed (the Messiah) is to be greater than all the kings for they are commanded to “kiss the Son” (Psalm 2:11), that is, pay homage to him and honor him as the king who reigns over them. It is to the Messiah that God says, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession” (Psalm 2:7-8). God’s king (the Messiah) was never to only rule over the tiny sliver of land in Palestine. He was (and is!) to rule the whole world.
We know that the Son of David, and thus the Son of God, is Jesus Christ.² He was declared the Son of God many times in the Injil: at his birth (Luke 1:32-33), his baptism (Matthew 3:17), his transfiguration (Matthew 17:5) and ultimately at his resurrection (Romans 1:3-4). He is the King of Kings, the one who has been given all authority in heaven and earth, the one who has been highly exalted and given a name above all names (Philippians 2:9-11). He is the one who fully triumphs over his enemies so that David says, “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool’” (Psalm 110:1).
What greater honor is there than sitting at the right hand of the LORD? What greater honor is there than having all your enemies disgraced before you so that they become the thing upon which you set your feet? As God’s king, the Messiah, our master Jesus is given the greatest honor.
1. The Hebrew word translated as “anointed” is māšîach (Messiah or Christ). It is the same root as the Arabic messiH.
2. Let me say again, as I have elsewhere, that the idea of God having sex with Mary to produce a child is blasphemy.
Read the other posts in this series:
Part 1, “Introduction”
Part 2, “What Are Honor and Shame?”
Part 3, “The Honor of Man”
Part 4, “The Shame of Sin”
Part 5, “The Honor of the King (God’s Anointed One)”
Part 6, “Honor Comes through the Shaming of Your Enemies”
Part 7, “Honor, Shame and Salvation”
Part 8, “Honor through the Shame of the Messiah”
Part 9, “We Need More than a Messiah”
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