What do the Psalms look to? What is the theme that courses its way through psalm after psalm? What gives the Psalms their meaning and depth?
Well, the thing that the Psalms point to again and again isn’t a “thing” at all. No, it’s a person, and his name is Jesus. It’s not as though some of the psalms are Messianic — all of the psalms point to the person and work of the Savior in some way!
Consider Psalm 27:2,
When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
You can’t help but think of the cross when you read these words. There was a dramatic moment in time when evil men advanced against Christ. It was a moment of jealous injustice. It seemed unthinkable that this could actually happen to the Messiah. Yet, this horrible moment wasn’t outside of the sovereign plan of the God of grace.
Looking Forward to the Cross
What seemed like the darkest moment in all of human history was, in fact, a bright and shining moment of redemptive love. What seemed like a sad moment of defeat was, in fact, a moment of eternal victory. Psalm 27 looks forward to the cross and captures what happens there, which is recorded in the New Testament. Here are two examples:
Peter’s first sermon, in Acts 2:23–24:
this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
Paul’s words about the cross from Colossians 2:14–15:
. . . by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
The Enemy's Ultimate Stumbling
Doesn’t Psalm 27 predict exactly what these passages look back to and say about the cross? These words, “When my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall,” mirror Paul’s words, “He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
You see, the cross wasn’t an unexpected moment outside the plan of God in which Jesus faced temporary defeat. On the contrary, it was the ultimate moment of stumbling for the forces of darkness. In what looked like the enemy’s time of triumph, he was actually being dealt his ultimate defeat. From the moment of the fall of Adam and Eve, the enemy was destined to stumble at the cross.
You need to understand that your hope right now is rooted in the fact that there was no possibility that Jesus would be defeated. Peter makes it clear that the outcome had been determined before the foundations of the earth had been put in place. God had controlled the forces of nature and written the events of human history to bring the promised Messiah, the sacrificial Lamb, the hope of the world, to this point.
Where Your Life Is Found
The hope of the universe, yes, your hope rested on this moment. Yet, there was no doubt his moment of suffering would be the universe’s moment of victory and freedom. This circumstance of death would be a triumph of eternal life. It was destined to be; it would not be Christ, but the enemy, who would stumble and fall.
Remember that in the stumbling of the enemy your life and hope is to be found — and then filled with deep appreciation for God's sovereign redeeming grace.
The enemy stumbled at the cross so that your hope would never stumble and fall. If you have hope in Christ, you have, hope right here, right now, that is guaranteed and sure.