As we prepare to worship our glorious Savior-King this Lord’s Day, we consider the unique and beautiful Psalm 45. For an introduction to this psalm I will quote from the “New Geneva Study Bible” (Nelson, 1995):
As the title indicates, Ps.45 is a wedding song (a “song of loves” – CJT). There are no other examples in the Psalter. The closest parallels are the love poems found in the Song of Solomon. This song is appropriate for a royal wedding, and was probably used in many rotal weddings throughout the history of Israel. Since the Davidic kingship reflects God’s ultimate kingship and anticipates Christ as King, the psalm has a second application to Christ, the King and Bridegroom, and the church as His bride (Eph.5:25-32). Ps.45 is applied to Jesus Christ in Heb.1:8,9.
With that understanding we can now read the psalm together carefully and see clearly Christ and His church in this love song. First the bride breaks out in praise of the king for his beauty and might, vss.2-9:
2Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
3Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
4And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
5Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
6Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
7Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
8All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.
9Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
And while these words would apply to Israel’s king in the OT, the point of this Word of God is to point us to His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is anointed to be God’s King (see Psalm 2 and 72 also), King of the church, i.e., all His elect people from Jew and Gentile, not of earthly Israel as the dispensationalists teach. And as such He is also the Bridegroom of the church, the one bride He marries and carries through life and death and into life everlasting. Through His anointing with the Holy Spirit He was and is girded for battle against our foes. So that through His cross, resurrection, ascension, and return in glory He defeats all our enemies, protecting His bride as the Perfect Husband.
And that bride is the queen at His right hand, as the rest of the psalm speaks of her, of her calling and her blessedness as the wife of Christ:
10Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;
11So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
12And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.
13The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
14She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.
15With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.
16Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
17I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.
Do we see what we are to do as the church toward our glorious, powerful King and Bridegroom? Forsake all other allegiances and worship Christ alone! Be devoted to Him only as a faithful wife! This is our glory and beauty as Christ’s bride. And today we have the opportunity to do that again publicly with the gathered body of Christ in our own Christian congregations. And when we do that, we also have a foretaste of that great wedding feast day to come (Rev.19:7-9). This is how we may sing of our calling:
O Royal Bride give heed, And to my words attend;
for Christ the King forsake the world…. And every former friend.
Thy beauty and thy grace Shall then delight the King;
He only is thy rightful Lord, To Him thy worship bring (1912 Psalter).
May God bless your worship this day, that it exalts His Son, our great and gracious King. And in and through Him may we be a beautiful bride, bringing honor to our majestic Bridegroom.