Time for Joy! – Psalm 45

Time for Joy!
Psalm 45
Hope in Christ Bible Church 5/6/18
Love. It’s no surprise to us that the majority of songs and poetry that have ever been written are about love.
Granted, most modern songs are more about lust than love. Yet, it’s God who has put into the heart a desire to love and be loved.
And He Himself has designed the beauty of love in marriage which pictures the most wonderful relationship of all- Christ’s love for His church.
Most of you are aware that during this season in our church family, we have been celebrating many new marriages. It’s our joy to witness another special wedding this afternoon.
Friends, God loves marriage. And here’s why- it was His idea.
He designed marriage of a man and woman for life. And He did that to reflect His enduring faithfulness and grace.
So, it’s fitting this morning for us to look together at an inspired love song celebrating marriage.
But it’s far more than that. For in this psalm we gaze into the very heart of our Lord.
It’s like this. The more we grasp the God-ordained beauty and wonder of marriage, the more we will grasp the beauty and wonder of Christ.
Psalm 45 “My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. 2 You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever. 3 Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One, In Your splendor and Your majesty! 4 And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; Let Your right hand teach You awesome things. 5 Your arrows are sharp; The peoples fall under You; Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies. 6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. 8 All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
9 Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies; At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir. 10 Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father’s house; 11 then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him. 12 The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; the rich among the people will seek your favor. 13 The King’s daughter is all glorious within; Her clothing is interwoven with gold. 14 She will be led to the King in embroidered work; the virgins, her companions who follow her, will be brought to You. 15 They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; they will enter into the King’s palace. 16 In place of your fathers will be your sons; You shall make them princes in all the earth. 17 I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever.”
There is no other chapter quite like this in all of Scripture. For it evokes all the sights, sounds, and splendor of a regal wedding.
Yes, it’s an ode to joy celebrating the marriage of a king and queen
The title before verse 1 gives fascinating insights about its design.
We are told it was composed for the choir director by the sons of Korah. Thus, it served as an anthem of Israel’s praise to God.
And there’s that phrase “according to the Shoshanim.” That may indicate a particular tune or perhaps a 6-stringed instrument that was played as these lyrics were sung.
Related to that, the writer notes this chapter is a maskil which may suggest it was performed skillfully and with contemplation.
Psalm 45 is unique for 3 reasons. It is a
love song, a royal song, and a messianic psalm.
– a love song focusing on a groom and bride
– a royal song describing a king and queen
– a messianic song pointing to Christ and the church
God through these inspired words conveys to us the poet’s:
1. Passion 1
2. Praises for the king 2-9
3. Pointers for the bride 10-12
4. Procession of the bride 13-15
5. Pronouncement of blessing 16-17
One of the sons of Korah who penned this psalm did so with great elation.
He says, “My heart overflows with a good theme.” What’s the good theme?
It’s the royal wedding that’s beautiful, excellent, and joyful! It’s a time of exuberant celebration which he captures for us in words.
That’s why he exclaims (end of v. 1),
“My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”
In other words, “I can’t wait to report about this regal wedding.
Notice how the exuberant poet tells us to whom he writes (v. 1): “I address,” he says, “my verses to the King.”
To what king? Here’s where it gets tough.
There have been lots of guesses as to what historical king best fits here. King David, King Solomon, King Joram, even King Ahab has been suggested.
Now, we can be sure of this. If God wanted us to pinpoint the actual historical king, then He would have made that a lot more clear for us.
He could have simply had the son of Korah write, “I address my verses to King David or King Solomon.”
But we just can’t be sure who the historical king is. Nonetheless, there’s no compelling reason not to see this as a real wedding for a real king who is getting married. He’s the bridegroom.
Now, the psalmist shares spectacular
2. Praises for the King 2-9
Three great tributes paid to this great King speak volumes.
First, the writer in verse 2 says, “You are fairer than the sons of men.”
“Fairer” tells us more than that this king would have been good looking and fit. Like King Saul.
I Samuel 9:2 describes Saul as “a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel….”
Yet, true beauty demands depth of character.
And that our Savior possessed in perfection. He surpassed all others in true beauty and is therefore “fairer than all the rest.”
Note the second commendation of this king. We are also told (v. 2), “Grace is poured upon Your lips.”
In other words, his speech is not harsh and demanding but kind and gracious.
Oh, it’s so easy for us to stumble and sin with our words.
The Lord convicted me earlier this week of how I had been careless in joking around with words that lacked grace.
For He specifies what is to characterize our speech.
Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Further, in Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
Now there was one man who always spoke with gracious words- our Lord Jesus. In fact, He had a reputation for that! Luke 4:22 tell us,
“And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips….”
Christ’s words set the perfect standard. They always epitomized gracious speech. And friends, so should our words reflect the grace of Christ.
– Word that build up rather than tear down.
– Words the show kindness rather than coldness.
– Words that affirm rather than attack.
Therefore our plea in prayer should be that of David’s in Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”
The third praise of the king, (end of v. 2), “Therefore God has blessed You forever.”
Now that acclamation of being forever blessed by God, that reaches a dimension that goes far beyond any earthly king.
Scottish pastor Alexander MacClaren notes, “either we have here a piece of extreme poetical license or “a greater than Solomon” is here!
Friends, it’s the later. A King far “greater than Solomon” is the One of whom this ultimately speaks.
For the psalmist sees the historical king of Israel as foreshadowing the promised Messiah king.
For Jesus Christ, the King of kings, supremely receives the blessing of God forever!
So, keep that in mind as we see the scope of the psalm include Christ’s anticipated reign as the promised King.
Watch how the future messianic focus becomes clearer with what follows of the monarch in verse 3.
“Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One, In Your splendor and Your majesty!”
The writer is saying, “Powerful King, put your valor on display and show your military prowess before your people!”
Now very key, note those words “splendor and majesty” tied to this King- they describe what is weighty and inspires awe in the beholder.
When used in combination, “splendor and majesty” most often refer to God in the Old Testament.
Psalm 96:6 “Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.”
Psalm 104:1 “Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty.”
Psalm 111:3 “Splendid and majestic is His work….”
King David in Psalm 8 marvels in how God had displayed his splendor in His creation, the moon and the stars He has ordained. And he asks, “What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?”
He’s right. As we think rightly of the breathtaking splendor and majesty of God, we will be humbled an put in awe before Him.
What follows in the 45th psalm that the king described has a much higher cause than victory over physical enemies. For His conquest showcases the handiwork of God.
Verse 4: “And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let Your right hand teach You awesome things.”
Alexander the Great had his famous warhorse named Bucephalus. He tamed that spirited horse and then rode on it in many military victories. For Alexander conquered most of the known world of his day.
But no one wins victory over His enemies like the Lord Jesus Christ.
For it is He is the ultimate warrior king. He fights not merely to gain victory but to give victory.
King Jesus conquers all lies with His truth, all pride with His humility, and all sin with His righteousness.
So the psalmist wants us to picture Christ riding on a war horse and quickly and powerfully vanquishing all foes.
The apostle John must have had our text in mind when he penned Revelation 19:11–16 of our victorious Lord Jesus. Listen to the spectacular similarities:
“I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Friends that mighty king who is above every king and Lord above all lords- He is our Lord Jesus Christ.
We completely reject any modern thinking or portrayals of Jesus Christ as being passive and effeminate. For Christ is the powerful warrior king who battles and defeats the enemy.
He strikes down all rebel powers with His sword of judgment- that speaks of the words that come forth from His mouth.
Now, it helps us to view a more close-up battle scene of victory. That’s what we have in verse 5 of our psalm: “Your arrows are sharp; the peoples fall under You; Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.”
Any good hunter can tell you. If his arrow hits the heart of the deer, that animal is done for, it’s as good as dead.
So too, every enemy of Christ will receive divine arrows of judgement that go straight to the heart.
Christ will crush them in their rebellion and reign victoriously over all.
But how does Jesus accomplish that not only in the future but now? Here’s how: through the gospel.
Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
And in 2 Corinthians 2:14–16 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life….”
There it is. Christ gains victory over all who oppose Him through the gospel. And the power to accomplish that comes through His victory on the cross.
Now at this point you might be thinking. We started with the poet speaking of an earthly king. Yet we have viewed most of what followed through the lens of Christ the greater king.
Have we exceeded what is intended by our text?
How can we be certain this wedding psalm is not merely speaking of a king of Israel but of our Lord Jesus?
You see, it’s based on what the psalmist declares of the king beginning in verse 6. Notice every word:
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.”
And verse 7: “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows.”
Amazing. The king here is being described as divine, as God!
And if you look with me at the first chapter of Hebrews, you will see how we can be so certain.
The opening verses in Hebrews 1 argue for the superiority of Christ over all- including over angels. When we come to verse 8 we read, and note carefully, “But of the Son He says, “Thy throne O God is forever and ever.”
And then the writer continues to quote word-for-word from our text of Isaiah 45:6-7!
This proves to us that Jesus Christ is the ultimate King of whom our psalmist writes!
And it highlights the way in which Christ carries out His rule: in absolute righteousness.
In fact, we are told to picture a royal scepter in Christ’ right hand to symbolize His righteous rule. Hebrews 1:8 continues:
“And the righteous scepter is the scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.”
Listen, there has never been a king who sat on the throne of David and always loved what’s right and hated what’s wrong- but there’s one who will: Jesus Christ.
That’s because Jesus proved Himself to be the perfect Son of God.
And God the Father verified that. For He placed His divine stamp of approval on Christ.
Wow! God the Father has just called Christ the Son God in verse 8. And now we see the Son affirms the Father is His God.
That’s not by means of adoption but eternal sonship. Christ’s relationship to His Father is by means of His divine nature. He is fully God and can call His Father God!
God said it, we believe, it and we worship both God and Christ as God. And we worship the Holy Spirit. Don’t forget. Christ at the outset of His ministry was anointed with the Holy Spirit.
What’s absolutely clear from what we have seen in Hebrews 1 is this: God the Father in Psalm 45 speaks of the eternal rule of His Son the greatest King. “For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).”
Now let’s join the psalmist as he now zooms in on the wedding day. Keep in mind, that earthly king prefigures Christ the greatest king.
Look how in verse 8 he’s decked out for the wedding. “Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.”
Myrrh, aloes and cassia ranked among the most costly spices.
So the idea is, with all those fragrances, that king on his wedding day smelled good!
And what a sight the celebration was. Just imagine with your mind’s eye the kingly palace gleaming with all the ivory decoration.
The sight, the smell, and even the sound- there were musical instruments playing presumably at the wedding ceremony giving gladness to the king’s heart!
For we he is told (v. 8), “Stringed instruments have made you glad.”
According to Jewish tradition, the bride-to-be would be escorted from her home to meet the groom at his residence. That may be where we get our modern-day counterpart- bridesmaids.
The costly wedding garment the king’s bride donned was stunning, for it was embellished with fine gold from Ophir.
The queen approaches, and we are told (v. 9) that she stands at the designated place of honor- the King’s right hand.
It’s at this dramatic point something most significant happens.
The writer turns his attention to the bride and speaks to her.
3. Pointers for the bride 10-12
He gives her final words of counsel.
It’s what pastors love to do in weddings- give reminders about the serious life commitment the couple will make.
By the way, don’t be confused. The writer uses the word “daughter” here and in verse 13 to speak of the bride.
The first 3 imperatives, “Listen”, “give attention” and “incline your ear” they plead for her to pay close attention to what is being said.
Then the first piece of inspired advise- “Forget your people and your father’s house.”
Though that sounds cold and heartless, it’s solid advise. For after God created Eve and brought her to Adam in the garden, He then comments,
Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
And our Lord Jesus repeats that same instruction in Mat. 19:5.
In other words, once you make your commitment before God and these witnesses, there’s no looking back.
So banish from your heart any future possibility of finding your closest support from your parents and close friends.
“You just fully commit yourself fully to the man or woman whom God has given you.”
In premarital counseling that Sonya and I get to do for couples in our church, we really try to drive this point home.
We tell them, “If you want to have a great, God-blessed marriage, every decision you make must prioritize 2 things: 1. Christ your Savior, and 2. Your spouse as your closest friend on earth.
There’s danger when a husband hangs out with his close guy friends to the exclusion of his wife. And there’s danger when a wife does the same, spending extended time with her friends as the husband sits home by himself.
You see, God’s plan from the start is that husbands and wives should be the BFF, Best Friends Forever, the closest of friends who satisfy one another’s needs for companionship.
The bride in Song of Solomon 5:16 puts it so beautifully in describing her husband, “This is my beloved and this is my friend.”
Now look at what happens when the bride forsakes all others for the sake of her husband:
She is assured in verse 11, “Then the King will desire your beauty.”
Ladies do you realize what this is saying?
The more the wife gives herself in abandon to her husband, the more attractive she becomes in his eyes. For true beauty is not just the physical but the attitudinal traits of the wife.
This all ties to the authority-submission relationship God has designed for marriage to be all He has called it to be.
Thus, the psalmist tells the queen, “Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him.”
This isn’t telling the bride to worship her husband. Not at all. It’s calling her to respect and submit to him as her God-ordained authority.
Wives, don’t forget, God expects you to submit to your husband in everything.
And husbands, you make that a lot easier when you do your part and sacrificially love your wife as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:24-25).
A special part of a wedding is the wedding gifts. And that’s no exception in the wedding of this king and queen.
For the bride is told, v. 12, “The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; the rich among the people will seek your favor.”
Tyre had been a trading partner with David and Solomon.
“The daughter of Tyre refers to the citizens of that land- they are the ones who would bring gifts to the groom and bride.
Surprisingly, though ordinary people often seek the favors of the rich, in this regal wedding, it’s the other way around. The well-to-do find it a great honor to know this couple (and perhaps attend their wedding).
4. Procession of the bride 13-15
After much anticipation the moment has arrived. It’s “Here comes the bride.”
Speaking of the privileged maiden who is now within the palace, the psalmist describes her as “all glorious.”
For her embroidered wedding robes interwoven with gold literally reflected her loveliness.
Now you need to grasp the festive spirit of this wedding. Had you been there as a guest you would have felt the incredible joy.
When with her entourage of bridesmaids the bride comes to the king.
That’s the high point of the wedding, verse 15, “They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; they will enter into the King’s palace.”
It was a surreal, “it’s too good to be true” moment.
Yet, beloved, there’s a bride that knows a far greater joy than experienced that wedding day.
And that’s the bride of Christ- all genuine Christians who belong to Christ through saving faith.
For the greatest joy of all is knowing that we are Christ’s and that He is our most precious treasure.
And one day sooner than we realize, we as Christ’s church will see Him, our Lord and Savior and King.
We will celebrate with Him what John in Revelation calls “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” And we as His Bride will dwell with Him in our eternal home forever!
The passionate poet has shown us his
Praises for the groom
Pointers for the bride
Procession of the bride and now he concludes with a
5. Pronouncement of blessing 16-17
The inspired writer promises the king two profound blessings that would result from the new marriage.
First, he would have a posterity. Though his forefathers would die, God would give the king his own sons. Sons that would become future rulers.
But not just sons. There would be an ongoing line of descendants to his kingly line would never die out. For he says in verse 17, “I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations;
Now no psalmist could ever insure that this king’s line would be remembered from generation to generation.
For most kings of history have been long forgotten. Yet, it’s God who makes this promise through the psalmist.
And it’s God who brought it to past. And He did that in Jesus Christ who was born in the kingly line of David.
He is the ultimate heir to the throne, and He will receive praise eternally
The final words so wonderfully exclaim, “Therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever. “
Because of the enduring reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, He is the King that will receive praise that never ends.
“When we’ve been there 10,000 years bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing His praise than when we first begun.”
Let me give you some take away encouragements from our text.
1. Honor God by honoring the institution of marriage. For God’s smile is on the bridegroom and bride that commit themselves for His honor to one another for life.
2. Above all, be enthralled with Christ. I was walking through the Michigan airport this week. And I was shocked at how people, parents,
children were amusing themselves with their electronic devices, preoccupied with a myriad of shallow relationships.
Christian, You have a great Savior who has rescued you with His mighty hand. As both Lord and King it is He above all else who must dominate your thoughts. For He has given you Himself and therefore deserves your praise and worship forever.
Let’s pray.
Time for Joy!
Psalm 45
Hope in Christ Bible Church 5/6/18
1. Passion 1
2. Praises for the King 2-9
I Sam. 9:2
Eph. 4:29
Col. 4:6
Luke 4:22
Psalm 141:3
Psalm 96:6
Psalm 104:1
Psalm 111:3
Psalm 8
Rev. 19:11–16
Romans 1:16
II Cor. 2:14–16
Heb. 1:8-9
Col. 2:9
3. Pointers for the bride 10-12
Gen. 2:24
Mat. 19:5.
Song of Sol. 5:16
Eph. 5:24-25
4. Procession of the bride 13-15
5. Pronouncement of blessing 16-17
Being a joyful doer of the Word: