Psalm 45: a song of Jesus
For the director of music. To the tune of "Lilies."
Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song.
(1)My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
(2)You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace,
since God has bless you forever.
(3)Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one;
clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
(4)In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.
(5)Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king's enemies;
let the nations fall beneath your feet.
(6)Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever;
a sceptor of justice will be the sceptor of your kingdom.
(7)You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God,
has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.
(8)All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad.
(9)Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.
(10)Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father's house.
(11)Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.
(12)The city of Tyre will come with a gift, people of wealth will seek your favor.
(13)All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold.
(14)In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
her virgin companions follow her--those brought to be with her.
(15)Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king.
(16)Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
you will make them princes throughout the land.
(17)I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;
therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.
The title of this psalm in the ESV:
"Your Throne, O God, Is Forever. To the choirmaster: according to the Lilies. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah; a love song."
Upon first reading, the song reads like one of King Solomon's love songs. While this is very much a love song, it is not a song about a specific man and woman. It is possible the song was written for a specific king's wedding (some older commentaries say Solomon's wedding to Pharaoh's daughter or maybe David's wedding to Saul's daughter, Michel), but it's placement in the Psalter cannot be ignored. God wanted this poem listed and remembered amongst His Book of Psalms.
In fact, the song is so important that it is has a title with five parts! This is a special song. To God, this is a special song. Hopefully after we read it a few times we can catch a glimpse of why.
"Some here see Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter only--they are short sighted; others see both Solomon and Christ--they are cross-eyed; well focused spiritual eyes see here Jesus only..."
--Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Beautiful words stir my heart. I will recite a lovely poem about the king, for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet. Psalm 45:1 NLT
My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. Psalm 45:1 ESV
First of all, the author of this song is claiming from the very beginning some special inspiration. His heart overflows with a pleasing theme, beautiful words are stirred within him. This is divine inspiration. These words are words that God put into the author's heart to write with his hand, and the author knew it.
Secondly, this is a Messianic Psalm. Although there is a man and a woman discussed, we will come to understand that this is Jesus and His Bride, the Church.
You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty!
In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds! Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; the people fall under you.
Psalm 45:2-5 ESV
The words here do not describe a mere man. This is Jesus.
"We believe the emphasis here is on the character of the Messiah, on the beauty of His nature and personality. Isaiah 53:2 says that the Messiah was not remarkable for His physical appearance or beauty. Fulfilled in Jesus Christ, we can say that there was never a more beautiful human being than Jesus of Nazareth."
--Pastor David Guzik, www.enduringword.com
For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
The beauty of Christ's character extended into His words and the healing touch of His hands, to His grace and His love freely given. He was--and is--strength and might, splendor and majesty. His character was that of truth and humility and righteousness. And wow, did His right hand perform some awesome deeds! His arrows still pierce our hearts... don't they? And people fall to their knees before Him.
This is no mere mortal man. It is very clearly Jesus Christ.
"Our precious Christ can never be made too much of. Heaven itself is but just good enough for him. All the pomp that angels and archangels, and thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers can pour at his feet is too little for him."
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions
Psalm 45:6-7 ESV
While some commentators make a case that Psalm 45 is a wedding song for a specific Davidic king in history, I wonder what they make of these two verses? How can they not see the prophetic Messiah here?
The author of Hebrews makes this even clearer for us...God's Word is amazing!
(1)Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
(2)but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,
whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
(3)He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,
and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
(4)having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
(5)For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you?"
Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"?
(6)And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
"Let all God's angels worship him."
(7)Of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire."
(8)But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
(9)You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God,
(9)You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God,
has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions."
I just love this. Some things in the Bible are confusing, and sometimes we just won't know who God is referring to. But then other times, He makes it clear through prophecies or through other later authors.
God is so pleased in His Son, that He anoints Him with the oil of gladness! He has a sceptor of righteousness.
Sceptor: an ornamented staff carried by rulers on ceremonial occasions as a symbol of sovereignty.
Righteousness: the quality of being morally right or justifiable, acting according to divine or moral law.
Throughout the Bible, God tells us that He will give His Son free reign as conqueror. That some day Jesus will return as the Mighty Warrior. But this gives us a different picture of a Father and a Son. God, the Father, is pleased with His Son, so much so, that He blesses Him with the ruling staff of Truth and Justice, and anoints Him with gladness.
Jesus is glad (happy, pleased, cheerful, joyful).
your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad; daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
Psalm 45:8-9 ESV
These verses, this psalm, show us again that God loves beautiful things. Jesus's palace will be the most spectacular sight we have ever seen, and He will be the sweetest smelling valiant warrior we could ever imagine.
"The King is seen with rapture, he girds himself as a warrior, robs himself as a monarch, mounts his chariots, darts his arrows, and conquers his foes. Then he ascends his throne with his sceptre in his hand, fills the palace hall with perfume brought from his secret chambers, his retinue stand around him, and, fairest of all, his bride is at his right hand, with daughters of subject princes as her attendants."
Who is the King's queen? This is certainly not one of Solomon's wives, nor could it be David's wife, Michel, who makes fun of him for how he worships his God. This is the Messiah. Therefore, the beloved bride is His Holy Church.
Then the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" And he added, "These are the true words of God."
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing of water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
"As Christ is at the Father's right hand, so the church is at Christ's right hand; where, as his wife, she shineth with her Husband's beams (Trapp)."
--Pastor David Guzik, www.enduringword.com
Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father's house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him. The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people.
Psalm 45:10-12 ESV
The queen referred to in this psalm is unknown, there may have been one originally who inspired the writing of these words. But as we study this particular psalm, we must see the deeper meaning is clearly that of the Messiah and His bride. Since we are certain that Jesus never married and the Bible is clear that He was dedicated and faithful and committed to His followers as a husband is to a wife, then these verses do speak of Christ and the church or family of believers.
Interestingly, some see the last parts of this verse, the "people of Tyre," as the inclusion of believing Gentile nations/peoples in the Holy Church. Remember this is the Old Testament and although we see Jesus written all over these pages, they did not. They knew the Messiah was coming, but we see the painting of God's plan with clearer eyes.
(13)All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. (14)In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her. (15)With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.
Psalm 45:13-15 ESV
This is what I read in verse 13 at first glance, "The king's daughter is dressed in her chamber on her wedding day." But this is what I see upon studying God's Word and this particular verse:
The King's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is wrought of gold. KJV
In her chamber, the royal daughter is all glorious, her clothing embroidered with gold. HCSB
The bride is glorious within. This is what Jesus has done for us. He has made the Church, His Bride, spectacular (magnificent, marvelous, wonderful, illustrious, renowned, celebrated) from within. The Church is not perfect, but Jesus's sacrifice has made her so.
This is also such a good reminder that God looks at our hearts. What is on the outside is not important, He sees our hearts.
"Truth and wisdom in the hidden parts are what the Lord regards; mere skin deep beauty is nothing in His eyes. The Church is of royal extraction, of imperial dignity, for she is a king's daughter; and she has been purified and renewed in nature; for she is glorious within."
Although some see a mere royal wedding ceremony, this is the celebration of the Church going home. She will be dressed in the finest ever made, and she will enter Heaven with joy and gladness!
"Joy becomes a marriage feast. What joy will that be which will be seen at the feasts of paradise when all the redeemed shall be brought home!"
"Yes, what we have here is a prophetic promise of that day, 'When the Saints go marching in'! As the prayerful song has it, 'Lord, I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in.'"
--James Burton Coffman, pastor, 1905-2006
In place of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth. I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.
Psalm 45:16-17 ESV
The legacy of the King will be passed down from generation to generation. All of His sons and daughters will be princes and princesses to His Kingdom.
Although we could see a specific king in history or a royal wedding song here, this is undoubtedly a Messianic Psalm. A song of Jesus and the homecoming of His people in Heaven.
Then Jesus said as recorded in the Gospel of Luke:
"And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!"
Luke 21:25-28 NLT
Father in heaven, thank you for this beautiful royal wedding Messianic psalm. Thank you for revealing your Truth in your Word to us. Thank you that every time we read your Word, you reveal something new to us. You truly are a Good Father. Help these Words and these Promises sink into our hearts and strengthen us today. In your will; heal this land of the virus, protect our loved ones, and strengthen your church. Amen.