Anticipations of the New Covenant in Psalm 141

[The following notes are from a journal entry. If you agree, cool. If you don’t, cool – but let  me know why :)]

Psalm 141

O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me!
Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
keep watch over the door of my lips!
Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
and let me not eat of their delicacies!

Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;
let my head not refuse it.

Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.

When their judges are thrown over the cliff,
then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant.
As when one plows and breaks up the earth,
so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.

But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me
and from the snares of evildoers!
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by safely.

(English Standard Version)

Anticipating the New Covenant

What is striking about David’s words in verse 2 is the fact that he is likening his prayer and worship to the official functions of the priests. David is, essentially, asking that his prayer and worship be counted as equal to the prescribed ceremonial rites given by the Lord to Aaron and all of those who would constitute the priestly caste of Israel who stood before God as federal representatives of God’s people. David is not saying that such ceremonies are unimportant. Rather, he is showing the importance of these rites by asking the Lord to make his own actions equal to them. However, he is also, simultaneously, I think, pointing us forward to the time when all who are in Christ will be called priests, who will offer to God prayers as incense and the lifting of our hands as the evening sacrifice through the true Sacrifice, Jesus Christ, who lives to intercede for His people. David is, by the simile, a priest before God, for whom the prescribed ceremonial rites do not apply. David does not need incense, but only his petition and faith in the fact that God is listening to him. David does not need a sacrifice, for he has access to the Father through the Son, the True Substitute, and can, therefore, offer his body as a “living sacrifice.”[1] Likewise we, after the manner of David, are priests to God[2] who are called to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, our prayers as incense before the throne of grace, to love one another and give ourselves up for the sake our brethren as Christ offered Himself up to God as a “fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,”[3] and can be, as Paul was, “poured out as a drink offering.”[4]

Through Christ, whose blood we have been washed in, we are now priests before God.

Amen.

-h.


[1] Cf. Ro 12:1

[2] Cf. 1 Peter 2:9; Rev 1:5-6

[3] Cf. Eph 5:1-2

[4] Cf. 2 Tim 4:6

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