Morning Light – June 24th, 2016: The Wedding Song of Christ

ml_2016Today [Psalm Forty-Five] The Wedding Song of Christ. Psalm 45 is a very different psalm than we have studied thus far in the book of Psalms. It is a psalm composed by David as a celebration of a bride and a bridegroom on their wedding day. It’s deeper meanings speak to us of the Messiah and the bride of Christ. We are betrothed to Christ and in this chapter we see the bride overcome by the beauty and majesty of the bride-groom. She loves him and extols His virtue being prepared to forsake all as we must as well if we are to follow Christ in truth and reality.
[Psa 45:1-17 KJV] 1 [[To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves.]] My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue [is] the pen of a ready writer. 2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. 3 Gird thy sword upon [thy] thigh, O [most] mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. 4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness [and] righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
Psalm 45 is a psalm of a very different character than we have studied thus far. Both Jewish and Christian scholars see it as a messianic psalm, written by David. It is a “song of loves” no doubt intended to be used as part of a marriage celebration. For Jewish culture it is the marriage of the messiah to the Jewish people. To believer we see it as a celebration of the marriage of Christ and his church. One of the first things that will strike you is the similarity it bears in its style and tone with the Song of Solomon. It is a love poem filled with metaphors of love and endearment of the two lovers for one another and celebration of their personal attributes and their coming life together.
Verse 1 declares that the writer is brimming with inspiration to extol the virtues of the king. To say that the tongue is as the pen of a ready writer we must think about ancient writing instruments. There was no ink as we know it. Writing was more like engraving upon wood, stone or clay tablets. Writing was much more work and physical effort than we employ today. The word for “pen” or the phrase “to write” in Hebrew comes from a root word meaning “to sharpen”. Therefore the idea is conveyed as picturing the tongue as a sword or a dagger. This gives us a different and deeper understanding of the idea of the “sword of the Spirit” and pictures of a sword coming out of the mouth of Jesus in John’s vision in Revelations:
[Rev 19:15 KJV] 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
The sword coming out of His mouth speaks to us of the word of God. Psalm 45 tells us then that the writing of scripture is not from a dry, theological motivation but from the passion of a bride and a bridegroom. The very heart of the gospels and all of the scripture is that of the passion and the love of God.
Verse 2 speaks of the beauty of the king and the grace that pours forth from His lips. Now Isaiah 53:2 says that in the natural Jesus was not an attractive man. I know many powerful and anointed ministers that have been rejected by nationally known churches and leaders because they were not pretty enough. I’ve seen worship leaders who were fired because they didn’t have the physical attributes to look beautiful and appealing in front of the cameras. The beauty of the Messiah is not something that would inspire outward vanity. It is the inward beauty found in the grace that flows from His character.
What is grace? The Hebrew word for grace is kindness, favor and mercy. These are the chief attributes that David assigns to the coming messiah. Even John the Baptist didn’t quite get this right. John the Baptist focused on judgment and fire and retribution against the transgressors. When Jesus showed up drinking wine and kissing babies John was scandalized and said “are you he that should come or do I look for another?”. The Greek word for grace means “the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life…” When God influences your heart you become gracious, merciful and kind, not judgmental, harsh or denunciatory. Many Christians need to get this in their understanding.
In verse 3 the sword that the Messiah girds on his thigh is the word of God. It is understood that the sword of the king is protective in its intent. The word of God is not given to us whereby we can slash and cut each other. When the people rejoice to see the king put the sword on his thigh they aren’t expecting him to start hacking away at them – rather at the enemies of the nation and the enemies of God. It is a perverted use of the scriptures for believers to take up the word and begin to denounce and ridicule and harshly criticize others. Satan laughs and delights when we use the word of God intended to destroy him to destroy each other.
5 Thine arrows [are] sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; [whereby] the people fall under thee. 6 Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom [is] a right sceptre. 7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 8 All thy garments [smell] of myrrh, and aloes, [and] cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. 9 Kings’ daughters [were] among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
The arrows of God are the arrows of His word. The sword is for close combat. When the enemy attacks you up front and personally the sword of the word is your defense. Arrows speak of the word of God as keeping your enemy at bay and defeating him before he can get close enough to harm you. In this way we understand that the word of God is a defense and a protection as well.
The scepter of God’s rule in verses 6-7 is described as established in righteousness. The word for righteousness means “right standing” or “to stand upright”. In ancient times when the king’s scepter was used people would be expected to fall to the ground and grovel in fear. God’s idea of a scepter is not to dominate the people but to empower them to stand upright in entitlement and equality – to look the king in the eye because He could be trusted to protect, defend and shield his people from every foe. The biblical idea of rule and ruler were very different than the nations around them. Even today from the standpoint of biblical understanding Jesus said that ruling in the house of God is not about lording over God’s people but rather empowering them to stand before God – treating and respecting them as equals. We need to see more of this between leaders and the people they are responsible for in the church. Pastors are not intended to be sacred celebrities, raise up on a dais of notoriety and separated from the people as though they are unique and to be uniquely revered. Jesus said “suffer the little children”. As leaders we need to be real and we need to be accessible and much as possible.
10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; 11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he [is] thy Lord; and worship thou him. 12 And the daughter of Tyre [shall be there] with a gift; [even] the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour. 13 The king’s daughter [is] all glorious within: her clothing [is] of wrought gold. 14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. 15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace. 16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth. 17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.
Verse 10 represents the counsel of a eunuch preparing the bride to be betrothed to her king. The king’s love is inspired because the bride forgets the past and her own people. The king greatly desires her beauty because she only has eyes for Him. This theme of separation is found in many statements that Jesus makes about those that follow Him.
In the gospel of Luke we find large crowds following Jesus. There are many things about Jesus that provoke the masses to follow Him. He is loving. He is kind. He is forgiving and He is generous. We can and should declare these attributes of who Jesus is. But there is another attribute of Jesus as bridegroom we should bear in mind – He is demanding and He is jealous. He wants all of us or nothing. He doesn’t want a one-night-stand. He isn’t desirous to have a fleeting relationship. He wants not only to be savior but also to be lord:
[Luk 14:25-28 KJV] 25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have [sufficient] to finish [it]?
The cost of following Jesus is the loss of family relationships and departure from our past. The Jewish hearers of Jesus absolutely understand this. Always bear in mind that when we read of the people in the New Testament who followed Jesus, these are people who broke completely with their past and most of them never saw or spoke to their loved ones again. They did so not out of high minded or holier-than-thou motives. They forsook all and followed Jesus as a bride forsakes all and becomes the betrothed of her husband. They followed Jesus as we should be inspired as well – out of love and passion for Christ!

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