Reading through the Bible together
Many serious Bible students think of this Psalm as an “oath of office.” It was apparently written for the purpose of giving the king of Israel an oath to take when he took office. The Psalm’s byline says, “Of David,” so possibly David wrote it as an oath of office for himself but, more likely, he wrote it later in life as an oath for other kings who would follow him as kings of Israel.
“What business did he have of writing an oath of office?” you ask. “He wasn’t exactly the most greatest of leaders!”
True. I once heard John Stott quote this brief rhyme:
King David and King Solomon lived many, many lives
With many, many concubines and many, many wives
But when old age overtook them, with many, many qualms
King Solomon wrote the Proverbs and King David wrote the Psalms!
So maybe it was written in his later years—because of the regrets and misgivings over all of his mistakes as a leader—that drove David to write an oath of office for the kings of Israel. I don’t know. But what I do know is that this oath of office is worth copying and placing next to your nameplate or on your desk or at your bedside table.
It could be titled, “Stand and Deliver,” for that is the pattern it follows. It is divided into three simple sections. The first one is just one verse long and is simply the introduction. But then there follow two more sections. The first of those two sections could be entitled, Stand! And the second section could be entitled, Deliver! The first section is characterized by the words, “I will.” And the second is characterized by the actions that live out the realities of what was vowed.
Make the words of this Psalm the commitment of my life today. Amen.
Loma Linda, University Church