[The audio for this week’s evening service is available at Sermon.net, as is a PDF file of the notes for the service. You should be able to download the audio directly with this link, if you prefer (right-click, save link as….) I am speaking at Northern Grace Youth Camp the next week, back in two weeks with another Psalm.]
What is the point of introducing the Psalter with Wisdom and Eschatology? Most people have a sense that the Psalms are intended for worship. This is certainly true, but worship in Israel (in contrast to modern America) is not simply setting a “mood” or generating a “spiritual feeling.” Worship in the Psalms always looks back to what God has done and looks forward to what God will do in the future. The Worshiper therefore stands between these two events and must live on the foundation of the past and the hope of the future.
Since the Psalms were collected some time after the fall of the Israel and Judah, a worshiper using the Psalms looked back to the promises of God to establish his anointed one in Zion, but forward to an ultimate Anointed One who will rule from Zion. Living between the fall of Jerusalem and the future re-establishment of a kingdom to Israel, the worshiper ought to live a life of wisdom, in harmony with God’s created order. This is why so many psalms look back to the Exodus. Just as God has (in the past) rescued his people from Egypt and brought then to the land of their inheritance, he will (in the future) rescue True Israel out of the nations are return them to the Land once again.
For the Church, we live between the death of Jesus and his future return. Jesus’ death on the cross finally dealt with the problem of sin, providing the basis of salvation in the present age. While we can be right with God, we are not yet “in the heavens.” We are adopted into God’s family, but we are not yet with him in glory. Therefore we look forward to the return of Jesus in the future. Like Israel, we live between two “salvation events,” the crucifixion and the consummation of the ages.