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Let us think of beautiful things.
Psalm 21 is SUCH.
At first, one might see the Shepherd, as usual in pursuit of his OWN Shepherd, a practice which, if followed to the Lord, would transform many nations should their leaders do and show the wisdom of this.
Then they might not in some cases, be skulking about with progressively rapacious leaders intent on disrupting for their preference, various nations, threatening, cannily intimidating or roaring for advantage, aggregating power for dispersion, disruption and corruption of others in a world long shaky in stability (in its better times). Indeed, now it is growing near to losing sight of any more of it, as if this were a trifle compared with successful mass murder, killing of kids with rockets and less selective invasions here and there.
But in Psalm 21 there is more of the concept of being kept from violent dispersion, from the fruits of hatred and and the exploits of the mighty.
Indeed, David is found here asking for life of the Lord, and He gave him length of days for ever and ever (21:4), and this not as a political exercise, but as a personal enduement. He loves life; wants it; has no limit to his appetite for it, knows where to look for such life, and looks!
As quite often in the Psalm, the scene moves and merges from David to his promised descendent, the Messiah, come from heaven (Psalm 40) with a prepared body, to pay for the sins of His own people and being resurrected when this is done by sinners making Him a sacrifice (as planned in heaven), rising from the dead (as in Psalm 16), to show how in love and grace, power and precision, God is able to disperse and dispense with man's most pernicious pit, and deserved enemy, death itself. It is looking down the sequence till one day, in one family, there comes the incarnate God, and in human form it is He who will die to pay ransom to justice for the sins of man, so that those who receive it, can be free from the mortgage, by man unpayable, but due, on the soul. That is not the least reason why sin is a snare: it not only spoils but cannot by man be paid for.
It is here that the distinctive individuality and uniqueness of the Messiah begins to appear during David's musing. It is parallel in the next Psalm 22, where what never happened to David is described minutely, the crucifixion foretold to come, and that for a loving ground and reason. Prepared in heart by much suffering from his youth, as also treachery, hatred, envy and violent assault, he readily transcribes the vision, and prepares for it in Psalm 21, the earlier neighbour of the great Psalm of suffering.. Here he speaks of the total judgment on all his bitter enemies and such is not the case with David, who though often delivered, is not perfect, nor are all who ever turn against him, always wrong - though normally wrong, for he was an excellent king, despite some rather rare falls.
We now turn to the Messiah in his vision, one amongst the 21 one such Messianic Psalms, and find that not only has David found life for ever and ever, but we are merging now into his famous descendent on the human side, who is MOST BLESSED for ever and ever, just as in Psalm 45 and Psalm 72, the latter showing Him ruling the earth with grace and kindness, mercy and truth. The spiritual phalanx of those against the Lord, after millenia of liberty to speak and slay and mass murder, comes to its very due end. Freedom having shown the nature of man, the infections of spirit and pathology of soul for so long, it is due for replacement by a rule which has truth at its heart, justice at its helm, kindness in its spirit, concern in its witness and care in its ways, that of the Lord personally, as promised in Ezekiel 34 so very clearly, in Hosea 13:14 and Isaiah 11.
Just after this Psalm 21, that of blessing, at once come the famed words,
"My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me!"
In this way, the two phases stressed by Christ in speaking to the disciples, His suffering and the glory which is to follow (Luke 24:26), come side by side, at the end of Psalm 21, at the start of 22. The latter then shows in excruciating detail the style of suffering and the remorselessness of taunting by those who, not understanding what they do, do it exceedingly well! Coming through this horror experience where a non-sinner sent as Saviour bears the sin of many, we come to 22:21, with its great three words. Having said earlier, You have brought Me to the dust of death, and cried to the God who sent Him on this mission, He now declares:
"YOU HAVE ANSWERED ME! "
The joy of man, that God answers prayer, through many testings, for His own people (not some clique but those who have come through sin to salvation by this very sacrifice, duly accepted), can now come even to the Saviour, even amidst His travails, because the grandeur of horror in penalty-bearing, is now complete, and as it was to be, so in detail it came to pass.
Thus these two Psalms, 21 and 22 come as a sequence from the eternal blessedness despite onset and assault, to the epitome of exaction, the wonderland of oppression, the height of unfeeling disdain and contempt, provided with irony like poisoned flowers. There we find now the total of 21 Messianic Psalms, adding 21 to the list in Bulletin 5.
However, only one Messiah is needed, and He has come, Isaiah filling out much more about Him in advance of His coming, as in 7, 9, 22, 28-29, 35, 40, 42, 49, 50, 52-55, 59, 61, 66; while Daniel foretells the date of His death in this sacrificial format, in 9:24-27, as indicated in such Chapters on this site as Christ the Citadel Ch. 2.
That the ever popular Psalm 23 comes after both of these, Psalm 21-22, provides a glow of wonder in the progression - the power and the glory amidst supplication without pomp, but with entreaty, followed by the profundity of the pit in the wonder of the sacrifice and the willing wonder it showed in the willingness of suffer of the Messiah, leading on to Psalm 23, with its wonderful depiction of shepherding, not shoving, grace not gut force, contented peace, not fracturing fouls, the faith of the believer, not the belly-aching of the irreconcilable, and the quiet assurance that sees the goodness of the Lord, allied to mercy, as an inheritance.
Surely Psalm 21 in its sequence, is a lovely item in the divine depictions.