PSALM 47 TALK : THE SOVEREIGN KING OF EVERYTHING (OUR GOD REIGNS OVER ALL PEOPLE)

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 PSALM 47 TALK

THE SOVEREIGN KING OF EVERYTHING

(OUR GOD REIGNS OVER ALL PEOPLE)

 INTRODUCTION

 The concept of a Sovereign King today has little meaning or impact mainly because the rule of Kings and Queens is primarily a thing of the past. In Australia today we speak of our Sovereign Queen Elizabeth but she and her representative have little power over the people of Australia on a day-to-day basis and are just ceremony figureheads. I lived through the turbulent days of 1975 when the Whitlam Government was sacked by the Governor General and like most Australians of that time I could not understand how a non elected office barrier, The Governor General could dismiss a elected prime minister.

In ancient times and indeed right up to the First World War Kings and Queens wielded great power and demanded great respect. An ancient King had the power of life and death in his hands and if he said, “off with his head” then there was little you could do to stop that happening.

I believe Psalm 47 deals with the powerful message of The Sovereign rule of God over everything. Author Pink in his famous book “The Sovereignty of God” explains what that means in the following quote;

“To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleases Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible”.

 In this study we will look at what God’s Sovereignty is and how it impacts on our lives and this world. We will see that through Jesus Christ God has come down to this world to save us and once he died for our sins on the cross he rose from the dead and then ascended back in heaven where sits at the right hand of the Father to rule the universe forever (Psalm 47: 5).

I believe this Psalm was written, like Psalm 24 at the time of the ascension of the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem recorded in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 15 and 16. I believe this because of three reasons,

  1. The reference to God Ascending in verse 5 is spoken about with very similar wording as the Ascension of the ark into Jerusalem is in 1Chronicles 15: 28. Let me set down the two verses to make my point,

Psalm 47: 5,

“God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.”

 1 Chronicles 15: 28,

“So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams horns and trumpets and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps”.

  1. The Jewish heading of the Psalm attributes the Psalm to The Sons of Korah who played a major role in the ascension of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem.

1 Chronicles 15: 16 says,

David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals”.

 The next verse tells us the names of three prominent Son’s of Korah, who all have Psalms attributed to them, 1 Chronicles 15: 17,

 “So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; from his relatives, Asaph son of Berekiah; and from their relatives the Merarites, Ethan son of Kushaia”.

  1. The words of David’s Psalm or song for this occasion recorded in 1 Chronicles 16: 7 – 36 have very similar words and concepts found in this Psalm.

I think that Psalm 47 is a shorter abbreviated version of the song of David in 1 Chronicles 16 and I came across seven similar words or concepts in both Psalm 47 and the song of David in 1 Chronicles 16: 8 – 36,

  1. “Clap your hands all you nations, shout to God with cries of joy” (verse1), similar words or concepts found in 1 Chronicles 16: 8, 10, 23, 31, 33.
  1. “Great king over all the earth” (verse 2), similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 14, 21, 26 and 36.
  1. “He subdued Nations under us” (verse 3), similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 26, 35,
  1. “Inheritance” (The promised land) “pride of Jacob” (verse 4) similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 13, 17, 18.
  1. “Sing praises” (verse 6) similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 9, 23, 33, 36.
  1. “God reigns over the nations” (verse 8) similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 24, 25, 30 , 31.
  1. “The people of the God of Abraham” (verse 9) similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 15 to 18.

Whether the Son’s of Korah were inspired to write there Psalm after hearing David’s Psalm or David heard what the Son’s of Korah wrote at that inspired him to write his Psalm we will never know but the similarities between the two is uncanny. Only the concept of the Lord ascending is not mentioned in David’s song in 1 Chronicles but maybe that is assumed from the fact he wrote his Psalm after the ascension of the ark into Jerusalem.

It is interesting to note that from early times the Christian church has used this Psalm in celebrations of the ascension of Christ which is the New Testament ascension event looking forward to our ascension into heaven when Jesus returns in all his glory.

The relevance of the context is something I will comment on in the following study of Psalm 47.

I have broken this Psalm into three sections:

  1. PRAISE THE SOVEREIGN KING WHO REIGNS (1 – 4)
  1. SING OF THE SOVEREIGN KING WHO REIGNS (5 – 8)
  1. SUBMIT EVERYONE TO THE SOVEREIGN KING WHO REIGNS (9)
  1. PRAISE THE SOVEREIGN KING WHO REIGNS (1 – 4)

 We must always remember that when we are reading the Psalms we are reading poetry and to understand it we must unpack the poetic images we are often coming across. Verse 1 is a classical illustration of poetic imagery because it speaks of Nations clapping hands.

“Clap your hands all you nations;

 This is the start of a section devoted to a call to praise the Sovereign God of heaven who reigns. So what does it mean when it says,

“Clap your hands all you nations”?

 Even in the bible when a person clapped their hands they are usually giving some outward expression of an inward joy. They are saying by their actions either I agree with that or I like that. In my church recently a member of our congregation stood up at the end of a Sunday service to thank us for our prayers for his ongoing battle with cancer he testified to how God was answering our prayers in his treatment so far and when he finished the spontaneous response of the whole congregation was to clap our hands. We wanted to say to our friend we heard you, we are with you and we liked what you said about our loving God in heaven.

Spurgeon says that this is a word to all people belonging to all nations on earth.

“If they cannot all speak the same tongue, the symbolic language of the hands they can all use”.

 However this poetic image has even more to say in an Old Testament context Brent Kercheville points out that,

“The Hebrew idiom ‘to clap the hands’ normally means to strike hands with another individual confirming an agreement between parties”.

 This would mean that God wants the Nations to clap their hands by entering into a contractual agreement with him because of who he is and what he has done for us, which we will see in the next three verses and the rest of the Psalm. The clapping of hands is like a high five handclap with God. American sports stars developed the hands up in the air clap with a fellow sportsman to signify a victory of some kind or another and their commitment to one another as part of the same team.

The other fact to keep in mind in interpreting the Psalms is the poetic structure of all Psalms namely the rhyming of thought not sounds called parallelism and here the rhyming thought is,

“Shout to God with cries of joy”

 Now the thought is to actually suggesting we use words to identify with God with praise and joy. The more I read about Old Testament worship the more I discover how noisy it often was. This Phrase does not talk about whispering praises to God but shouting. I can remember being told off by older members of the church I attended as a young person to stop talking and be quiet because I was entering the house of God. Often churches are like libraries where quietness for prayer is enforced. I wonder what those older members of my church would have thought if they wondered into the Temple area of Old Testament times and people were shouting praises to God.

Michael Houdmann makes this insightful comment about the importance of praising God,

“Praise is a vital part of a life surrendered to God, and it gives credit where credit is due. “O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8 KJV)”

 In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul says,

 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

 So putting all this together, the Nations, all people should come to the one true God of Heaven and earth and joyfully praise him for who he really is and what he has done for us and this should be done in a genuine and enthusiastic way.

David has the last word on this with one verse from his song probably composed around the same time and recorded in 1 Chronicles 16.

1 Chronicles 16: 8,

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done”.

But who is this God we should praise and worship and what has he done?

The next 3 verses tell us four things about God to answer the question who he really is and what he has done.

  1. A awesome most high God (vs. 2)
  2. A great king over all the earth (vs. 2)
  3. He subdued the nations under his chosen people’s feet (vs. 3)
  4. He gave his chosen people an inheritance (vs. 4)
  1. A awesome most high God (vs. 2)

 The start of verse 2 says,

“For the Lord Most High is awesome”

 Some older translations use the word terrible instead of awesome and Coffman comments on this with these words,

“This word (terrible) has misleading connotations in our day. It does not mean anything repulsive, but something most marvelous and attractive, calling forth our richest praises. Awe- inspiring is what is meant”.

Many young people over use this word “awesome” and they apply it to anything they find interesting or good and it too is loosing some of it’s meaning today. Paul gives us a clear picture of the awesomeness of the Lord Jesus Christ in Colossians 1: 15 – 20,

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

 David has the last word on the awesomeness of God in his song probably written around the same time as this Psalm and recorded in 1 Chronicles 16,

1 Chronicles 16: 27,

“Spender and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place”

  1. A great king over all the earth (vs. 2)

 The words,

“The great King over all the earth”

Is the rhyming thought of the idea of God being totally awesome or Awe- inspiring and fleshes out why our God is like this. He is the great and powerful the King of Kings or Lord of Lords. He is not over all the earth but the entire universe.

Paul puts it this way in 1 Timothy 6: 15 – 17,

“God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

David’s way of speaking of God as the great king over everything in his song for the ascension of the Ark is found in 1 Chronicles 16: 26,

“For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens”.

  1. He subdued the nations under his chosen people’s feet (vs. 3)

God’s awesomeness and authority and power should lead to all people joining together and shouting praises with great joy to his name.

However most of the people of every nation in the world reject the rule of God in their lives and this is why we read the words of verse 3,

“He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet”

We realize, when we read verse 4 that the “us” is God’s chosen people, Israel. We also realize that he chose them not because they were sinless or not in rebellion to the rule of God but because of his love or grace.

God made a nation who started with the man of faith, Abraham and from this one man came the small but blessed nation of Israel. Through this little nation God subdued Egyptians, Canaanites, Amalekites, Philistines, Moabites, Edomites just to name a few nations who God gave Israel victory over.

All who have faith in God through the Lord Jesus Christ are made up of people from every nation and races of people are called The New Israel of God, which Paul speaks of in Galatians 6: 16,

“Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—tothe Israel of God”.

The church which is this new Israel of God is pictured in the New Testament as one day ruling with Christ as Paul states in 2 Timothy 2: 11 – 12,

“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;”

And Revelation 20: 6,

“Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years”.

David speaks of how God worked through the small nation of Israel to subdue other nation and bless Israel in 1 Chronicles 16: 19 – 21,

When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it,

Theywandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another.

He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings:

  1. He gave his chosen people an inheritance (vs. 4)

 This verse follows on from the previous verse where we saw God subduing many Nations that made it possible for Israel to have a land. This land previously belonged to Canaanites and other people was promised to the father of the people of Israel, Abraham. We read of this in Genesis 15: 18 – 21,

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadiof Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

However it was the descendants of Abraham who would actually possess this great inheritance as Genesis 15: 15 – 16,

“You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

Note how God’s judgment and grace are working there way out at the same time here. The original owners of the Promised Land were judged for their wickedness and sin while the people of Israel, undeserving as they were are given freely the gift of the land because God loved them.

We pick up something of the grace of God and the unworthiness of this chosen nation Israel in the second half of the verse that reads,

“The pride of Jacob whom he loved”

Jacob became Israel but as Jacob he was no more than a scheming sinful man who after wrestling with God is humbled and changes to become Israel the name God would give to his chosen people. Derek Kidner says this about the expression, “Pride of Jacob”,

“The pride of Jacob is a brief way of saying, Jacobs glorious land”

If this were a song composed and sung by the Son’s of Korah for the ascension of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem then the idea of the possession of the land of Israel would be very fitting.

The carrying of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem is a climax to the Old Testament story of how God chose a nation and promised them a land. After escape from slavery in Egypt, forty years wondering in the desert and years of ongoing battles to possess this land comes the act of the Ark of the Covenant being carried into God’s chosen city where the ark will rest with his people Israel.

This concept of the significance of the Ark ascending into Jerusalem is not lost in one of David’s songs for the occasion recorded in 1 Chronicles 16 and particularly verses 17 – 18,

“He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant:

“To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit”.

 Christians have used this Psalm to celebrate and remember the ascension of Christ which is the climax to the New Testament message which speaks of the coming of Christ from heaven to become a man, live a perfect life, die for our sins on the cross and then once risen ascend into heaven to be seated at the right hound of God. Christ did all this so we might be able to share in God’s eternal inheritance for us as Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1: 3 – 5,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time”.

Peter alludes to one more great ascension event to come when he speaks of,

“The coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time”.

 This is our ascension into heaven the climax of all history. Paul describes this final great ascension this way in 1 Thessalonians 4: 16 – 17,

 “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever”.

Conclusion

So we have seen four reasons why we should join with people from every nation in praise with great joy to our God in heaven.

Two reasons relate to who he is:

  1. Awe inspiring
  2. The great King of everything

And two reasons relate to what he has given to us:

  1. Subdued all our enemies under us
  2. Given us an eternal inheritance in heaven.
  1. SING OF THE SOVEREIGN KING WHO REIGNS (5 – 8)

We now come to the central verse of this Psalm, verse 5 that relates directly to the ascension of the Ark the Covenant.

“God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets”.

The Ark of the Covenant held enormous significance to the people of the Old Testament it represented God being with his people. It contained the principle elements of the Old Testament faith namely the two tablets of stone, which God wrote the Ten Commandments on, first given to Moses on Mount Sinai. This was carried on the shoulders of Levites who the Son’s of Korah were members of.

When this was carried into Jerusalem the journey of the people of God from slavery to the promised land of Israel was completed and the Ark of the Covenant could now sit in the city of God, Jerusalem on the mount of God, Mount Zion and in the Temple of God which was telling Israel that God was dwelling with his people on earth.

So on that day as the Ark moved up the hill into the city of Jerusalem the people of Israel led by the Son’s of Korah shouted and sang with great joy praises to their God who had done so much for them.

As I said in the introduction to this Psalm the words of verse five mirror the description of the ascension of the Ark of the Covenant in 1 Chronicles 15: 28,

“So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams horns and trumpets and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps”.

This description of this ascension also mirrors the great ascension to come described in Revelation 11: 15 – 19,

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:” The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power
 and have begun to reign. The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm”.

 This second section tells us how we should respond to the ascension.

  1. Sing praises

And what the content of those praise should be:

  1. The rule and reign of the God of heaven and earth
  2. The inspired word of God
  1. Sing praises

 Verse 6 contains a fourfold expression of “Sing Praises”,

“Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our God, sing praises”

 Kidner explains maybe why these words are a fourfold expression,

“The insistent repetition, sing praises suggests something of the sound of a crowd shouting their acclamation”.

 On the day the Ark of the Covenant ascended up into Jerusalem many people sang praises to their God. Interestingly references to the return of Christ speak of the singing of praises of a great multitude as we see in Revelation 15: 2 – 4,

“And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:

“Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Some Christians devalue the role of singing and music in Christian worship. Some extreme churches even ban any kind of music in their churches saying that music is from the devil. However all through the Psalms, much of the Old Testament and the New Testament music play’s an important role in worship and fellowship. Paul was very keen on Christians to engage in music and we can see this in Ephesians 5: 19 – 20,

“Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

However music can also get out of balance and take over a church and it will not function as well as it should. The fact is the Devil can use many things to seek to bring down the effectiveness of a church. Banning music in church is simply an over kill reaction to music getting out of hand.

One important way of having the right use of music in a church is to realize that the singing of praise’s is not just some king of joyful meaningless noise but has real content. This is what The Sons Korah teaches us in these verses. So lets look at the content of the praises we sing to God.

  1. The rule and reign of the God of heaven and earth

 Note this type of content mirrors the content of the song of praise sung in heaven when we read words like,

“Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.”. (Revelation 15: 3)

 The Son’s of Korah put it this way in verse 7,

“For God is the King of all the earth”

 And in verse 8,

“God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne”.

 As I have declared from my title of this Psalm, this Psalm is all about how God is the Sovereign King of everything which we saw in the first section of the Psalm as well.

Coffman makes this telling comment on this important concept when he writes,

“This truth is one that gets overlooked today, but the hand of God continually moves in human history, He rules in the kingdom of men, exalting whom he will”.

 The reign of God is supreme and he is seated on the highest throne called “his holy throne”. I love the modern hymn written by Leonard E. Smith,

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him

Who brings good news, good news;
Announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness:
Our God reigns, our God reigns!

Refrain

Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!

 He had no stately form, He had no majesty

That we should be drawn to Him.

He was despised and we took no account of Him.
Our God reigns, our God reigns!

Refrain

It was our sin and guilt that bruised and wounded Him.

It was our sin that brought Him down.
When we like sheep had gone astray our Shepherd came
And on His shoulders bore our shame.

Refrain

Meek as a lamb that’s led out to the slaughterhouse,

Dumb as a sheep before its shearer,
His life ran down upon the ground like pouring rain
That we might be born again.

 Refrain

Out from the tomb He came with grace and majesty;

He is alive, He is alive.
God loves us so, see here His hands, His feet, His side
Yes we know, He is alive.

 Refrain

Note how Smith’s hymn goes straight to the life and ministry of Christ which demonstrates what real love and majesty is. Jesus reigned with God in heaven seated at the right hand of his father but he gave that all up to come to earth to walk the humble path of a servant. We also sing in our church the hymn, “The Servant King”. This servant king went all the way to the cross for us so that we might be forgiven by God of all our sins. I let Paul, quoting, we believe from a early Christian hymn in Philippians 2 tell you the rest of the story in verses 9 – 11,

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

 You see Jesus is the true King of heaven and earth and now sits again at the right hand of the holy throne of God but now he has the power and ability to save us and one day bring us to be with him forever.

  1. The inspired word of God

The last bit of content of our songs of praise the Sons of Korah teach us could have been easily missed except for my study of the words of the second half of verse 7,

“Sing to him a psalm of praise”

 All the commentators I read pointed out that the word for Psalm is that Hebrew word, “Maskil” which I commented on in the introduction to Psalm 45 and I quote my definition of what a “Maskil” is from that study,

“A “Maskil” or enlightenment and generally means this Psalm teaches us special things about God and life”.

This means that this word has something to do with inspiration and enlightenment. David Guzik makes application of this when he comments on verse 7,

“Sing praises with understanding: Praise is appropriately offered with singing and should be also be made with understanding. God wants our worship to be intelligent and not mindless”.

Guzik goes on to quote Paul in 1 Corinthians 14: 15,

“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding”.

Paul definitely did not believe in mindless Christianity but the danger here is to turn what should be spontaneous praise of who God is and what he has done for us into an intellectual exercise. Guzik makes an excellent comment on getting this balance right when he writes,

“God wants our worship to be intelligent and not mindless. It is not necessary to be smart to worship God, but we should worship Him with all our being, including our minds”.

 Paul speaks of the renewing of our minds in Romans 12: 2,

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”.

 How does this process of renewal of our minds take place?

The answer to this important question is found in Pauls stress on “God’s will” and where do we find God’s will but of course through his inspired word of God.

The Son’s of Korah wrote in verse 7,

“Sing to him a psalm (or Maskil) of praise”

 Are they not saying that the praises we sing should be shaped by the inspired word of God?

As they carried the Ark of the Covenant up and into Jerusalem and led the people in song they are encouraging their hearers and us to Sing praises to God with our minds and hearts inspired by what God has revealed to us in his word. David puts it this way in his song for that same day in 1 Chronicles 16: 9 – 12,

“Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced”.

   3 SUBMIT EVERYONE TO THE SOVEREIGN KING WHO REIGNS (9)

 The last verse of this Psalm seems hard to understand unto you unlock it with the promise made by God to Abraham who it features,

“The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham”

 The promise made by God to Abraham is found in Genesis 12: 1 – 3,

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation,

and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

 The best explanation of how this promise was for filled and what it therefore really means is what Paul wrote in Galatians 3: 26 – 29,

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise”.

 So God’s real purpose in creating a great nation through Abraham was not to produce an exclusive race of people but to make a way for people of every race and tongue to come back to him by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

There will be a great final day when noble people and in fact all people will assemble before God and earthly powers and authorities will no longer have there sway because they will all stand under his judgment seat and acknowledge him as the Sovereign King of everything and everyone.

John in the book of Revelation gives us a terrifying vision of this great day of Judgment in Revelation 20: 11 – 15,

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire”.

 How do you get your name in the book of Life?

 Paul makes it clear in a number of places of how we can be saved from the coming Judgment and here are two verses that state that,

Acts 16: 31,

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved”

 Romans 10: 9,

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.

 Interestingly Paul uses the expression “the book of Life” in Philippians 4: 3, when he is speaking to two quarrelling women in the church in Philippi and speaks of all the Christians there who are his fellow workers in the Gospel, Philippians 4: 3,

“Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life’.

 Finally this last verse makes it clear that God is the Sovereign King of everything by making the bold statement that,

“For the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted”

 Jesus is called twice in the book of Revelation, The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Rev. 17: 14 and 19: 16 and interestingly 17: 14 speaks of his faithful followers being with him,

They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

 On the day of Jesus return Paul tells us everyone will acknowledge the Sovereign rule or Lordship of Christ in Philippians 2: 10 – 11,

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

 How does this last verse fit the context of the ascension of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem?

I think this last verse is a looking into the future by the Son’s of Korah as they carried the Ark and led the singing on that day. They like all Old Testament writers looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. Coffman actually sites three great prophesies in this last section of the Psalm,

1. The incarnation of Christ, certified by his ascension

2. The establishment of God’s kingdom on earth

3. The union of both Gentiles and Jews in the Messianic phase of God’s kingdom”

 The Psalm finishes with the words,

“He is greatly exalted”

 This implies that we must all acknowledge the Sovereign rule of God in our lives. This is the message of the whole Psalm, God is the great King of all the earth so bow down and worship him with great joy and let him rule your life.

I conclude with a poem and a prayer,

GOD THE KING OF EVERYTHING

 Clap your hands and praise the King

The Lord of everything.

He is such an awesome God

With praise we should now sing.

Refrain:

Sing praises to our God

Sing praises to the King

Sing praises to our God

The Lord of everything.

 

Acknowledge God who rules this world

And calls his people out.

He gives them an inheritance

He loves us there is no doubt.

Refrain:

Christ Ascended up on High

After he gave his life.

Sing to him a hymn of praise

For his death freed our strife.

Refrain:

 

God is King of everything

His sovereign power is great

He reigns upon his heavenly throne

Turn and don’t be late.

Refrain:

 

There is a day that’s coming

When everyone will kneel

Acknowledging Jesus as the Lord

For his rule is very real.

Refrain:

 

God will judge this world one day

With justice and with love

Those who turn to Jesus now

Will ascend to God above.

Refrain:

Sing praises to our God

Sing praises to the King

Sing praises to our God

The king of everything.

Jim Wenman

PRAYER:

 Father God in heaven who rules this world with power and might help us to always acknowledge and praise you as the supreme sovereign King of everything. Thank you again for sending Jesus to this world to die for our sins on the cross so that we can be saved from the coming judgment. Thank you for the great inheritance that awaits all those who trust and believe in your Son Jesus Christ. Help us to live our lives as people who will one day ascend into heaven when your Son returns to judge this world and do away with all opposition to your sovereign rule. In the powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord we pray this. Amen

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PSALM 46 TALK: GOD IS WITH US (THE GOD WHO IS WITH US EVEN IN TIMES OF TROUBLE)

“THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

 PSALM 46 TALK

GOD IS WITH US

(THE GOD WHO IS WITH US EVEN IN TIMES OF TROUBLE)

 INTRODUCTION

 So many religious groups and nations over the history of the world have gone to war with the slogan, “God is on our side”. Some have even used God and their faith in him as a reason for going to war. Today we see this in the extreme Muslin groups who wage Holy War on the west called “Jihad”. Most level headed and peace loving Muslims point out that “Jihad: is miss understood by these extreme groups within Islam and by people of the west. I found this interesting quote on a web page called “Jihad Faqs”,

“While Islam in general is misunderstood in the western world, perhaps no other Islamic term evokes such strong reactions as the word Jihad. The word Jihad is mistranslated as “Holy War”. The Arabic equivalent of “Holy War” is harb-u-muqadasah. This term is not found in any verse of the Qur’an. There is nothing in the Islamic sources that permit a Muslim to fight against non-Muslims solely on the basis that they are not Muslim”.

The article goes on to point out that “Jihad” actually means “Struggle” and Muslims struggle in many ways but this still does not mean they should go to war because of their struggle with the world.

Unfortunately in the past some miss guided Christians have conducted “Holy War” like the Christian crusaders in the middle ages. Even in modern times Germans fought against the western alliance in both wars believing God was on their side, as did their enemies.

The concept of God being on our side is the major theme of Psalm 46 it is found in its opening verse and particularly in the twice-repeated refrain or chorus, verse’s 7 and 11,

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress”

Interestingly I read some excellent sermons based on this Psalm that pointed out the folly of going to war with the belief that “God is on our side”. I quote from a sermon by an American minister named J. Clinton McCann known also as the “working preacher”.

“But Psalm 46 does not promise the U.S.A. or any other sovereign state that “God is on our side”. Rather, it promises that God is “with us”. And to what we often think or are told, this means not arming ourselves but disarming ourselves. The surprising nature of this conclusion is captured by the seemingly satirical strategy in verses 8 – 10”.

 We will look closely at these verses in this study later but for now I want to suggest that this Psalm is all about knowing God as a God who can be trusted for help even in the face of the most troubled times of life.

I would also like to make two short introductory comments on this Psalm before we look more closely at it.

The first is it’s possible original setting. This was for me a very difficult problem to solve. I am not going to suggest I know for sure when this Psalm was written and what was going on when it was written. Many commentators suggested that it was written around 701BC after Assyrian forces led by a man named Sennacherib where turned back from the gates of Jerusalem by a miraculous intervention of God when something like eighty five thousand men died when the angel of the Lord attacked the Assyrian camp one night. This is recorded in 2 Kings 18 – 19 and Isaiah 36 – 37. This story commentators say fits the possible background of Psalm 46 especially verses 8 – 9,

“Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire”.

Also the middle section of the Psalm seems speak of the Temple of Jerusalem and how God will protect it from the nations of the world”.

I have two problems with this view and they are:

  1. The Temple of Jerusalem did fall to a foreign nation in 587BC when the Babylonian’s broke through Jerusalem’s walls and destroyed the temple.
  1. The Psalms introductory notes attribute this Psalm to “The Son’s of Korah”

who wrote Psalms 42 – 49 in this second book. This second book of Psalms seems to have been put together by Solomon who wrote the last Psalm in this book, Psalm 72. This means the Son’s of Korah Psalms in this book were written during the reigns of David and Solomon.

I think the story of the siege of Jerusalem in 702BC is a relevant and interesting application of the teaching of this Psalm but is not the background to the Psalm.

The second introductory comment I would like to make is concerning the introductions words and an intriguing application of it. The heading reads,

“For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.”

This heading tells us three things:

  1. It written for worship in the Temple as it was given the director of music.
  2. It was written by “The Sons of Korah” who I will soon comment on.
  3. It was written to “Alamoth” a possible musical term some have suggested means “maidens” and could be suggesting this Psalm should be sung by soprano voices. This term also appears in 1 Chronicles 15: 20 where the Son’s of Korah are given musical instructions for the installation of the Ark of the covenant in Jerusalem by King David.

The intriguing application concerns the “Sons of Korah” who’s family background is a real lesson in the grace of God. These sons of Korah are related to Korah who was part of a rebellion against the leadership of Moses and Aaron recorded in Numbers 4. He and most of his family paid for this rebellion by the ground giving way and swallowing them up.

Numbers 26: 9 -11 tells us some of the children of the rebellious Kohathites were spared and their descendants went on to become door keepers in the Tabernacle (1 Chronicles 9: 19 -21, the prophet Samuel came from this family line (1 Chronicles 6; 38 and 1 Samuel 1: 1, 20) and one group of this family were made Tabernacle / Temple singers and musicians. Now we see that some of these singer / musicians wrote Psalms.

These descendants of the rebellious Koah wrote in verse 2,

“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea”.

Dr Carla Waterman makes this insightful comment,

“This is a strong metaphor for anyone except the Sons of Korah. For them, the earth actually once had given way. The earth moved so decisively that it swallowed up their entire disaffected family. In writing Psalm 46, might they have been living in the memory of their familial rescue?”

What was left of this family that survived that terrible day went on to become one of the most famous families God used in his service and they had to learn to live out the words of verse 10 of Psalm 46,

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth”.

This Psalm has three distinctive sections of three verses and a refrain or chorus appears after the second and third sections. Some have suggested that maybe in the early days of this Psalm this refrain appeared after the first section, verses 1 to 3.

  1. GOD IS WITH US EVEN IN TIMES OF NATURAL DISASTERS (1 -3) 
  1. GOD IS WITH US EVEN IN TIMES OF WAR (4- 7)
  1. GOD IS WITH US EVEN WHEN MANKIND IS IN REBELLION (8 – 11)
  1. GOD IS WITH US EVEN IN TIMES OF NATURAL DISASTERS (1 – 3)

The opening words of this Psalm are as famous as they are striking,

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”

These words inspired Martin Luther to write his famous hymn, and the first verse reads,

A mighty fortress is our God,

A bulwark never failing;

Our helper he amid the flood

Of mortal ills prevailing.

For still our ancient foe

Doth seek to work us woe;

His craft and power are great,

And armed with cruel hate,

On earth is not his equal.

It’s been said that Luther wrote his hymn to apply the opening words of Psalm 46 to the church of his time and its struggles. Luther and his reformed church endured enormous troubles and difficulties as they faced the power and might of the Roman Catholic Church, which sought to rub it out of existence by any means it could. But Luther and many reformed Christians clung to God as their refuge and strength.

Leopold points out that the original Hebrew,

“Places emphasis on the word God”

 And goes on to say,

“He, nothing else is our refuge in the face of calamities of every sort”.

 When we face any kind of trouble what we really believe is revealed.

Who do we turn to when trouble comes?

Some people are actually caught out by trouble and calamity and either turn away from God or turn on God with words of anger.

I once knew a man in a church I attended many years ago who told me that if God could let his wife suffer from cancer as badly as she did then he wanted nothing to do with such a God.

By turning away from God this man missed out on the promise of the second half of this verse that reads,

“An ever-present help in trouble”

 Jesus wants to come close to us when this world’s fallen consequences catches up to us in some form of trouble or suffering and he holds out his loving arms in promises like Matthew 11: 28 – 30,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 This opening statement of confidence in God to help and protect us in the face of trouble and difficulty is then applied to a variety of natural disasters in the next two verses.

Verse 2 and 3 say,

“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging”.

 Note the confidence of this Son of Korah when he says, “we will not fear”. Only a person of faith could say this when the entire world around them seems to be collapsing. He seems to be describing some kind of mighty earthquake when the mountains seem to be falling into the sea.

The waters roaring and foaming remind me of pictures I saw of the tsunami that hit Japan in 2013 and how buildings, cars and tragically people were simply swept away by a mighty wave of water. Who could say, I will not be afraid when they faced that?

Yet I know of Christians who with a missionary my church supports drove for hours to that devastated part of Japan to offer practical help in the name of Christ to the victims of that terrible natural disaster.

As I said in the introduction maybe this Son of Korah who wrote this Psalm was thinking of how the ground gave way on his rebellious ancestors and now because of his sure faith in the God of Israel he can now say, “I do not fear” the unpredictable world in which we live in because “God is with me”.

  1. GOD IS WITH US EVEN IN TIMES OF WAR (4 – 7)

This section starts with a poetic description of Jerusalem and its Temple Mount called Mount Zion.

Verse 4,

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells”.

Why does the Psalm now turn to a poetic description of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount known as Mount Zion?

Many commentators now introduce the story of the Assyrian siege in 701 BC when Jerusalem was under attack from a might army. However I think the Psalmist just wants us to think of the people of God and their special relationship with him symbolized by the Temple of God on Mount Zion, which he calls,

“The holy place where the Most High dwells”.

And wants them to realize that even if the most mighty of armies comes upon them they can be assured that God is with them to be their refuge and strength.

This son of Korah was a leader of the music sung and played in the Temple and was well aware of its significance.

Did he believe God was confined to a place even a special place like Mount Zion?

In many places in the Psalms God is not on earth but in heaven as Psalm 115: 3 states,

“Our God is in heaven he does whatever pleases him”.

The New Testament makes this clear as Paul state in Acts 17: 24,

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands”.

However for the Old Testament Jew like this Sons of Korah the Temple in Jerusalem held special significance for him and represented God’s dwelling with his people on earth.

In the New Testament Mount Zion is God’s heavenly home with the Lamb of God and his church as Hebrews 12: 22 – 24 says,

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel”.

And Revelation 14: 1,

“Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads”.

The number 144,000 is the symbol for the complete number of the Church when it assembles in the heavenly Mount Zion.

So in Old Testament times Mount Zion and the Temple on it represented God being with his people just as the heavenly Mount Zion represents in the New Testament God being with his people in heaven.

Jesus makes it clear to the women of Samaria about the nature of worship now that he has come in John 4: 21 – 24,

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

What then is the significance and meaning of the words,

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God”?

Interestingly the only natural flowing water in Jerusalem is a small stream called Siloam, which runs from the fountain of Siloam to the east side of Jerusalem.

This little stream could not possibly be a river and it only had regular flow of water when King Hezekiah built a tunnel to divert the water down the west side of the city guaranteeing reliable water supply even when the city is under siege.

This small stream stands in complete contrast to the surging waters of verse 3 and presents a picture of how God can take what is small and seemingly insignificant like the Nation of Israel and make it strong and secure because he is with them.

Water represents God’s renewing presence in his believing people and this is what Jesus is saying to the Samaritan women at the well in John 4: 13,

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

God’s stream or river then in verse 4 is God’s presence with his people and that water or presence,

Makes glad the city of God”

It brings hope and joy to God’s people who by faith trust in him.

Verse 5 continues to spell out what God’s presence means for his faithful people,

“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day”.

This verse would have meant a lot in 701BC when the people of Jerusalem woke up on the morning that revealed 85,000 dead Assyrians outside the gates of their city. Sennacherib had to retreat back to Assyria with what was left of his army knowing that some powerful great force had defeated him when it looked like he had this tiny nation of Israel on its knees.

This great force is of course the Lord of Heaven and earth who has always promised people of true faith his help and special presence.

The next verse tells us that God even controls this world’s evil conflicts.

“Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts”.

The history of this world is full of terrible misery and pain caused by all kinds of wars. Great and powerful nations have come and gone and this is proof that God makes kingdoms fall.

Christians have been caught up in this just as much as anyone else. They are not immune from the effects of human evil conflict but they have something special that non- believers don’t have. No matter what side of a conflict Christians serve or live under they all have something the following refrain in verse 7 speaks of,

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress”.

 Many stories could be told of how Christians throughout the ages have trusted in God during dark days of a war and they can testify that even though terrible things happened to them and others God was with them and helped them to be able to cope and be victorious even in death because they have gone to be in the presence of God forever.

I would also like to comment on how God is described in verse 7,

“The God of Jacob”

I have touched on this in other Psalm Talks and have noted that to call God “The God of Jacob” is a prescription for the grace of God. The story of Jacob whose name literally mean “supplanter” is a story of how God can love even a scheming self made man like Jacob. Jacob first got his name because even at his birth he came out of the womb clutching his brother’s heel. Jacob’s life takes a real turn for the better later in his life when he has a special encounter with God in Genesis 32: 22 – 30. This special encounter is a good picture of how Jacob had lived his life for he ends up wrestling with God or an Angel sent by God. The wrestling only stops as the man sent by God touched his hip and Jacob became partially crippled from that day on. God gives Jacob a new name, which is Israel, which literally means “he who prevails with God”.

So to say that God is with us and call that God, “the God of Jacob” is to imply that God is with us not because we deserve it but only because he chooses to love us as rebellious as we are.

  1. GOD IS WITH US EVEN WHEN MANKIND IS IN REBELLION (8 – 11)

This Son of Korah then calls us to see what God can do. Of course those who say this Psalm was written after the Assyrians where defeated by God outside the city of Jerusalem say that the writer is calling people to literally see what God has done.

However if God brings down Nations as verse 6 suggests then we can see what verses 8 and 9 says poetically in any age.

“Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.”

 These verses teach us three things:

  1. God will deal with the rebellion of mankind
  2. God will intervene to stops wars (ultimate consequence of rebellion)
  3. Man’s weapons are powerless against a mighty God
  1. God will deal with the rebellion of mankind

 In the story of the Assyrian defeat in 701BC a judgment of God fell on the enemies of God in the form of an attacked by what 2 kings calls the Angel of the Lord (2 Kings 19: 35). However in 587BC God allowed the Babylonians to break through the defences of Jerusalem and Jerusalem fell just as the prophets of God had predicted.

God judged his own people for their rebellion over many years. Many battles have been fought throughout world history and one-way or another these wars are an expression of the rebellion of mankind to the rule of God in their lives.

God does and will ultimately deal with the rebellion of mankind in judgment. In Acts 17: 31 Paul declares in his speech to the Athenians,

“For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

 This judgment day will take place when Jesus returns and the book of Revelation describes in picture language the desolation and that will be brought on the earth on that day, Revelation 20: 11 – 15,

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire”.

  1. God will intervene to stops wars (ultimate consequence of rebellion)

 As we have seen in both book 1 and 2 of Psalms a major theme that comes up time and time again is the conflict that God’s people face is a result of the Nations of this world being in rebellion to God and his appointed king on earth. We first came across this in Psalm 2: 2,

“The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One”.

 So God’s judgment on man’s rebellion happens in various ways even before the major final Judgment day to come. The verse 9 says,

“He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth”

 War is a Nation acting in rebellion against God as a nation against another nation who is acting in rebellion against God as well. Some Nations might justify there going to war as being involved in a holy war but war is not a holy activity but an act of fallen sinful men in rebellion to God.

Romans 6: 23 says,

“The wages of sin is death”

Wars only lead to death and destruction on earth and God in his love has often stepped in and brought a war to an end. History is full of wars and often through nature or some foolish tactic of one side in a war the war has come to an end. Like when Hitler chose to bomb London after a mistaken bombing raid by one of his aircrew.

If Hitler had continued his attack English factories and airports he could have defeated England and probably won the Second World War. This wrong tactic of Hitler and a number of others I believe was God’s working through the evil plans of Adolf Hitler to bring the Second World War to an end.

  1. Man’s weapons are powerless against a mighty God

 Albert Barnes makes this insightful comment on the expression,

“He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire”.

 “The expression here may refer to a custom of collecting the spoils of war into a heap, and setting them on fire. This was particularly done when the victors were unable to remove them, or so to secure them as to preclude all danger of their being taken again and used against themselves”.

 This is what the people of Jerusalem would have literally seen in 701BC when the Angel of the Lord decimated the Assyrian army. These words in verse 9 are another reason why some commentators believe this Psalm was written at that time. However as I said in the introduction I believe this event in 701BC was a very real application of this Psalm.

 Isaiah looked forward to the day that all wars on earth would cease when God would turn implements of war into implements used for peaceful purposes, Isaiah 2: 4,

“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore”.

Note that this applies to the great Judgment of God to come and the expression of God breaking bows and shattering spears is also telling us that the weapons of mankind are powerless against the power and might of the God of heaven and earth and his Judgment to come.

 Paul teaches us in Ephesians 6: 12 that we are involved in a great spiritual battle in this life,

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.

In 2 Corinthians 10: 4 he tells us,

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds”.

So we fight a battle daily with the devil and all his evil forces but in Christ we can be confident that all the weapons the devil uses are powerless against us because Christ is with us and helps us to be victorious. Paul speaks about this in Ephesians 6: 13 – 18 as putting on daily the armor of God. I would like to remind you of what Paul actually said in these verses,

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people”.

This brings us to the final words of advice this Son of Korah wants to teach us about how God helps us even in times of great trouble and he has two things to say.

  1. Stop Fighting God (verse 10)
  2. Know that God is with us (verse 11)
  1. Stop Fighting God (verse 10)

We have come across the words of verse 10 before in Psalms in the first book of Psalms,

“Be still and know that I am God”

In Psalm 37: 7 we read,

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him”

Which relates in the context of that Psalm to stopping what you are doing and come to God in prayer and wait patiently on him.

In Psalm 46 we have a different application as J. Clinton McCann explains,

“Be still, and know that I am God!” “Is not an invitation to be quiet meditation or a slower pace of life. Rather, it is a clarion call to the nations of the world for a universal cease- fire; and it would better be translated as ‘Stop it!’ or more periphrastically, ‘Drop your guns!’”

This then is a call to the nations of this world to stop fighting or better still stop rebelling against God with your war and destruction in this world. God then adds to this call for disarmament with a warning,

“I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth”.

God here is saying if you keep up your rebellious actions of war and destruction then one day you will face the power and might of God who rules this world with justice and truth.

This raises the thorny issue of what then should be the Christians attitude to war?

As a very young Christian I was a declared pacifist but I changed my ideas and now would say that war is a result of living in a fallen sinful world and a Christian should only go to war or support war as a last resort.

I like how J. Clinton McCann puts it when commentating on this verse and the idea that “God is with us”,

“To know that God is ‘with us’ means not the courage to wage war, but rather the courage to wage peace! To be sure, waging peace will be a ‘fight’ in a world seemingly fascinated with violence and warfare”.

Jesus made it clear in Matthew 5: 9,

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”.

There is no place for Christians to glory in war but rather to work as hard as they can for peace as much as this is in opposition to the prevailing world in which we live.

  1. Know that God is with us (verse 11)

Now we come again to the refrain of this Psalm for the last time. As a songwriter and poet I know that what you express in a refrain or chorus is the central idea of your song or poem. The chorus says in a few words what you are really trying to say. This Son of Korah has been seeking to say that no matter what this world can and will throw at us God is with us to shield and strengthen us. The refrain says,

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress”

This is not something we arrogantly proclaim to justify our acts of murder and war like the extreme Muslims are doing today. It is a word of confidence in a God of grace, “the God of Jacob”, who promises to be with us even in the face of murder and war.

The Christian message or Gospel is all about “God being with us” for even at the beginning of the life of Jesus Christ he was called Immanuel, Matthew 2: 23,

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”)”.

John makes the same point in a much more spectacular way when he opens his Gospel with the words,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning”. (John 1: 1-2)

He goes on to then say in John 1: 14,

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”.

Jesus came to this world to become a man like us to achieve two great ends:

  1. To show us what God is like
  2. To die for our sins on the cross

The Good News of the Gospel is not just that God sent Jesus into the world to be one of us but rather that by believing in him and what he has done for us we can know God now in our daily lives and when we die go to be with him forever. As Jesus spells out in John 6: 35 – 40,

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Once we believe in Jesus and what he has done for us Jesus comes into our lives through the person of the Holy Spirit as Paul argues and teaches us in Romans 8: 9 – 11,

“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives lifebecause of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because ofhis Spirit who lives in you”.

Jesus is with us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in those who truly believe in him and no finer application could be given than the words of Paul in Romans 8: 31 – 39,

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

 I close then with my poem, “God is with me” based on Psalm 46 and a prayer,

 GOD IS WITH ME

 God is with me every day

He walks with me all the way

My refuge now when things go wrong

For I am weak but he is strong

When all gives way and I feel small

He holds me up and makes me tall.

 

Chorus:

Jesus walks beside me

To help me find his way

Jesus lives within me

To make me new each day

Jesus will help me carry

The burdens that I bare

I just have to trust him

For he’s always there.

 

God is with me every day

His spirit guides me in his way

We are his Temple hear on earth

When his Spirit gives us new birth.

When Satan seeks to bring us down

God gives to us his victory crown.

 

Chorus:

Jesus walks beside me

To help me find his way

Jesus lives within me

To make me new each day

Jesus will help me carry

The burdens that I bare

I just have to trust him

For he’s always there.

 

God is with me every day

He hears my prayers when I pray

This world rebels and turns away

And many die in wars each day

Be still and know that God is Lord

Turn from sin and obey his word.

 

Chorus:

Jesus walks beside me

To help me find his way

Jesus lives within me

To make me new each day

Jesus will help me carry

The burdens that I bare

I just have to trust him

For he’s always there.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

PRAYER:

Father in heaven thank you for sending Jesus so that we can know what you are really like and have our sins forgiven. Help us to be agents of peace in this world of turmoil and strife. Help us to present the Good News that through what Jesus has done for us we can know your peace and love in our lives. May we never forget that you are with us even in the most difficult circumstances of life. May we know your grace and help in our lives today. In the powerful name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PSALM 45 TALK: A ROYAL WEDDING SONG (HERE COMES THE BRIDGROOM)

“THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

 PSALM 45 TALK

A ROYAL WEDDING SONG

(HERE COMES THE BRIDGROOM)

 INTRODUCTION

If you were to ask me what was the most significant moment of your life so far I would find it difficult to choose between two great events in my life. The first would be the night in my thirteenth year when I responded to the call to follow Christ. This was my most significant moment because this was when I went from death to life through the grace of Christ.

The second most significant moment in my life was in my twenty eighth year when I married my beautiful wife, Christine. This was a significant moment in my life because through the mystical union of marriage I became a new and different person through the grace of Christ bringing my wife and I together to serve him.

These two great events come together for me in Psalm 45 and the words of Paul in Ephesians 5: 25 – 33,

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 with 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. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband”.

My first introductory comment of Psalm 45 is that it has been called by many a “Royal Wedding Song” and there are two main ways of understanding this Psalm. The first is simply that the Psalm is a song written for the wedding of a king probably Solomon when he married his first wife Pharaoh’s daughter in 1 Kings 3: 1.

The second way of understanding this Psalm is that it is about the Messiah and his relationship with his people, for the Jews, the Nation of Israel and for the Christian, the Church.

I think there is a way of harmonising these two ways of understanding this Psalm. My theory is that a Son of Korah wrote a wedding song for King Solomon. We have seen that the Psalms in this second book of Psalms feature Psalms by the Sons of Korah who wrote their Psalms from the second half of David’s reign to the end of Solomon’s reign. Once the wedding Psalm was composed the author got further inspiration from God to re-write his Royal wedding song with a view to a greater King to come, which was of course the promised Messiah. This is how I make sense of the first verse of this Psalm, which reads,

“My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skilful writer”.

 In this study we will see that when we come to Christ we are united to him like a husband is to his wife. Therefore when we get married or attend the wedding of a Christian we should be reminded of our special union with Christ and that special union should remind us as husbands of our special union with our wives and how we should love our wives, which Paul expresses in the words of Ephesians 5: 25,

“just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy”.

 My second introductory comment is that this Royal wedding song is focussed on the bridegroom and not the bride. At the weddings I have attended the focus seems to be on the bride not the bridegroom. We usually hear the famous Richard Wagner wedding theme played which has become known as, “Here Comes the Bride”. Once that music starts everyone stands up and looks to the back of the church where the bride and her bridal party enters dressed in glorious spender.

However this Royal wedding song could also be called, “Here comes the bridegroom” because it’s focus is on the glories of the bridegroom. Even when the bride is spoken to in the second half of the Psalm she is advised on how she should now relate to her bridegroom the great king who she is about to marry.

We will also learn in this study the glorious nature of our great bridegroom, The Lord Jesus Christ and how he wants us to relate to him as his bride the church. We know that this Psalm relates to Jesus as the great promised bridegroom because the writer to the Hebrews quotes from it referring the Christ and his supremacy over all things in Hebrews 1: 8 – 9.

I have broken this Psalm into four parts:

  1. INTRODUCTION (vs. 1)
  1. HERE COMES THE BRIDEGROOM (vs’s 2 – 9)
  1. HERE COMES THE BRIDE (vs’s 10 – 16)
  1. CONCLUSION (vs. 17)
  1. INTRODUCTION (vs. 1)

 I would like to now comment on this Psalms heading as well and its opening verse.

The heading reads:

“For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies,” Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song”

 This heading tells us four things:

1.    It was written to a well-known tune of the day called “ Lillies”, not known anymore.

2.   It is a “maskil” or enlightenment and generally means this Psalm teaches us

special things about God and life.

3. It was written by “the sons of Korah” who were Temple singers and musicians

who we know operated during the reins of King David and King Solomon.

4. It was written as a wedding song, probably for King Solomon when he married his first wife, the daughter of Pharaoh as recorded in 1 Kings 3: 1.

So this heading sets up the general context of this Psalm but then the writer opens his song with a private comment that seems totally out of place. Verse 1 reads,

“My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the King; my tongue is the pen of a skilful writer”.

As I said in my introduction to this Psalm I believe these words indicate that after this Son of Korah wrote his Royal Wedding song for Solomon he got a special inspired insight of the promise of a greater king to come known to the Jews as the Messiah. The verse seems to suggest this inspiration came to him as he recited or maybe sang his original composition to the King. Maybe led by God’s Holy Spirit the writer changed his original work to speak of the promise of the Messiah. This would explain the words,

“My tongue is the pen of a skilful writer”

 So we will now look at the rest of this Psalm in two ways:

  1. What it is saying to King Solomon and his bride on their wedding day
  1. What it is saying about the coming Messiah King, we know as Jesus Christ.

2.   HERE COMES THE BRIDEGROOM (vs’s 2 – 9)

This section could easily be speaking of Solomon on his wedding day except for verse 6, which reads,

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom”

 The writer has jumped from the earthly throne of King Solomon to the eternal heavenly throne of God himself. This means that all the words of this section not only speak of King Solomon but of God’s special King to come from heaven.

I think we can learn eight things about this Messiah King from these verses. I believe the writer is giving us a description of the coming bridegroom.

The eight things are:

  1. HE SPEAKS WORDS OF GRACE (verse 2)
  2. HE IS MIGHTY (verse 3)
  3. HE ACHIEVES AWESOME DEEDS (verse 4)
  4. HE OVERCOMES HIS ENEMIES (verse 5)
  5. HE REIGNS ETERNALLY (verse 6)
  6. HE LOVES RIGHTEOUSNESS (verse 7)
  7. HE IS GLORIOUS (verse 8)
  8. HE HAS A BRIDE STANDING BY HIS SIDE (verse 9)
  1. HE SPEAKS WORDS OF GRACE (vs. 2)

 The first part of verse 2 could easily fit Solomon at the start of his reign,

“You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace”

 In 1 Kings 3: 5 – 15, Solomon meets God in a dream and God offers to give him anything he wants and Solomon asks for wisdom to rule, verse 9,

“Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong”.

 In verse 12 and 14 God replies to Solomon’s request with these words,

“I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that their will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

 So God anointed Solomon’s lips with grace in the form of great wisdom. However Solomon does not stay faithful to God throughout his reign and came under continual pressure to compromise his faith in God by his many foreign wives. As 1 kings 11: 4 records,

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been”.

 So the words of verse 2 of this Psalm do not relate to Solomon but a greater bridegroom to come,

“You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever”.

 In Luke 4 : 22 we read what people thought of the words that came from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ,

“All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked”.

 Jesus spoke great words of wisdom, greater than Solomon in his day, words that Peter is recorded in John 6: 68 as

the words of eternal life”.

 Only Jesus is blessed and lives forever but through him he gives to those who believe in him the gift of eternal life.

As Jesus words promise us in John 11: 25- 26,

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die”.

  1. HE IS MIGHTY (vs. 3)

Verse 3 could also be applied to King Solomon on the day of his wedding to his Egyptian bride.

“Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendour and majesty”

 As the king of God’s people on earth Solomon had a very high calling, as he was their chief protector and guide of God’s people. He like his father David had to lead his people into battle against their enemies. Enemies who as we saw from Psalm 2:2 ganged up on Israel and it’s God anointed king,

“The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his anointed One”.

 Like David, Solomon faced opposition and rebellion from within his own nation. We see this particularly in the person of Jeroboam who after Solomon’s death led the split of the Northern Kingdom.

Therefore the words of verse 3 describe better the attributes of the greater bridegroom to come, The Lord Jesus Christ.

He alone is the mighty one who is clothed in splendour. Some commentators say that this verse cannot relate to Jesus as he did not come girding a sword and in fact opposed the use of violence and the sword in his service as quoted in Matthew 26: 52,

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword”.

 However Jesus in his second coming will come as a mighty glorious judge as Jesus taught in Matthew 24: 30 – 31,

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other”.

Jesus spoke words of grace when offering us the gift of eternal life made possible by his act of grace in dying for our sins on the cross but as Jesus taught in John 3: 18,

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”.

  1. HE ACHIEVES AWESOME DEEDS (vs. 4)

Again the words of verse 4 could well apply to Solomon on the day of his wedding to his first wife, as they would have been a challenge to him in how he should reign over his people.

“In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds”.

 At the start of his reign Solomon did seek to govern his people with truth, humility and justice as his request for wisdom to rule would suggest. While he looked to God he certainly achieved some awesome deeds but as his reign went on he looked away from God and in the end the pagan influence of his many foreign wives led him to do evil and corrupted deeds as 1 Kings 11: 9 – 13 records,

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

So again this verse is best for filled in the great bridegroom to come, The Lord Jesus Christ who certainly achieved awesome deeds and was victorious in the cause of truth, humility and justice right to the end of his earthly life. It is in his death that the love and justice of God is seen in Jesus supremely as the writer to the Hebrews puts it, Hebrews 12: 2,

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

The right hand spoken of here is the hand of power as most warriors wielded their swords with their right hand. Interestingly you can see from the Hebrews verse that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God again signifying power and authority. However this power and authority came through the way of suffering on the cross of Golgotha. This again for fills the words of the Psalm about this coming Messiah when it speaks of victory through,

“truth, humility and justice”

  1. HE OVERCOMES HIS ENEMIES (vs. 5)

 The words of verse 5 would also sit well in the original “Royal Wedding Song” as it speaks of victory for the king over his many enemies.

“Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet”.

Most wedding speeches would wish the bride and groom a long and successful life together. Success and long life for any ancient King would be continual victories over his enemies. As we saw from Psalm 2 Israel’s kings had many enemies and eventually both Northern and Southern Kingdoms fell to foreign enemies. This means these words could only be for filled in the greater bridegroom to come.

Jesus came the first time to make a way back to God as John 14: 6 says,

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

This first coming will be followed by a second coming when Jesus will return and judge the world and establish his kingdom with his bride the church forever. This is spoken about in the Book of Revelation and I love the great and glorious picture language of Jesus coming and meeting his bride the Church in Revelation 21: 9 -11,

“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. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal”.

I love the concept of the second coming of Christ in the famous words of Paul in Philippians 2: 9 – 11

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

 This is the ultimate victory of God over all his enemies.

  1. HE REIGNS ETERNALLY (vs. 6)

 This brings us to the verse that cannot be referring to any earthly king like Solomon as it speaks directly of God and his throne in heaven,

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom”.

 Why this Son of Korah jumps from a wedding song for his king to a song about the great Bridegroom King to come called the Messiah is unknown. So far most of what he has been saying or singing about could relate to a King like Solomon in the early part of his reign but maybe even this caused him to think that even Solomon could not for fill this lofty description of the bridegroom and only the great king of heaven, God himself could match this exalted description.

For what ever reason this Son of Korah now jumps into heaven to describe the God who rules there.

He tells us two great things about God:

  1. God is eternal
  2. God rules with justice
  1. God is eternal

Unlike the kings of this world who live and reign for a finite time God lives and rules forever. The eternal nature of God is what makes God, God and this characteristic sets God apart from all things. Logically you can only believe in one of two things which is matter is eternal or God is eternal. No matter what modern atheistic scientists teach us order and complexity cannot come out of nothing. The atheist has no choice he must have faith in eternal matter and random chance changes producing the order and wonder of creation that came about over millions and millions of years.

However Christians have their faith in the God of the bible who is eternal and through him as he spoke order and creation came into being. Only God can create something out of nothing, which became the order and wonder of creation such is his power and majesty.

Not only did God create this world but also he rules over it forever and a day. God is not like a time clock God some people believe in. That is God created the world and then withdrew to let it tick away forever. No! The God of the bible is the God who sits on his throne in heaven and rules over all things in heaven and earth. As Pauls says in Ephesians 4: 6,

“One God and father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”

 The wonderful good news of the Gospel of Christ is that even though we deserve death because of our many sins God, through Christ’s death for our sins gives us eternal life as a gift. As Paul puts it in Romans 6: 23,

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inChrist Jesus our Lord”.

  1. God rules with justice

I have already indicated that this eternal God of the bible rules directly from the throne of heaven but how does he rule?

The answer is found in the second half of verse 6,

“a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom”.

 The sceptre Gordon Churchyard says,

“is the special stick (often made from gold) that a king holds as he rules his people”

 He goes on to say,

“A righteous (or just) sceptre means that the king is good”.

 In a sermon I heard recently the minister said that God knows nothing of injustice and impurity because he is totally holy and totally good.

Out of God’s Holiness flows God’s goodness and justice. This is both a good thing and bad thing for humanity. Good because we can rely on God to always do the right thing but bad because we are all sinful and must pay for our sins with death.

This was the dilemma that faced God once mankind went down the path of sinfulness. God’s answer is of course the cross for in the cross the love of God and the justice of God come perfectly together.

Justice demands from God that sin must be paid for and love led God to send his only son to this world to pay the penalty of our sins on the cross.

The God of the bible therefore is a great God of Love and Justice and we can all experience his love and goodness through faith in his Son and what he has done for us on the cross. As Paul puts it in Romans 5: 1 – 2,

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God”.

 The bridegroom of Heaven is Jesus Christ our Lord and we will see in the second half of Psalm 45 how one day he will be united with his bride, the church who are all the true believers in him connected to him by faith in what he has done for them.

  1. HE LOVES RIGHTEOUSNESS (vs. 7)

 Now we come to another difficult verse to interpret. I draw on the expertise of the great Psalm’s commentator H.C,Leupold to help me here. Leupold writes,

“This verse continues the same strain and gives a more subjective touch to the thought.”

 Leoupold is saying that this Son of Korah is still speaking of the heavenly bridegroom. What relevance this would have had to the original king this song was first written for is interesting to contemplate. Maybe like us the qualities and character of the heavenly bridegroom king acts as an inspiration for his actions as God’s king on earth.

Lets look at this verse then with this in mind,

“You love righteousness and hate wickedness, therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy”.

Leopold starts his explanation of this verse with the words,

“Not only does this champion uphold the cause of Righteousness and suppress wickedness, he also personally loves the one and hates the other”.

 This was the point I made in the previous section that God is totally Holy and righteous and has no hint of wickedness in him. We on the other hand are compromised beings and even our righteous acts are infected with sin as the prophet Isaiah aptly writes in Isaiah 64: 6,

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away”.

What God is like then should be our model and Solomon was one person who late in his reign lost sight of this as we saw in 1 kings 11: 4,

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been”.

 Then we come to the difficult words of this verse,

therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy”.

 Is this anointed one here Solomon who would have been ceremonially anointed with oil when he was made king or is the anointed one here the bridegroom of heaven who is to come?

I follow the line of H.C Leopold who indicated that verse 7 is a logical extension of verse 6. This then points to the baptism of Jesus as Acts 10: 37 – 38 indicates,

You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him”.

 Many commentators speak of how the anointing of people in the Old Testament did not always infer the conferring of inward gifts and power but was used to designate and inaugurate a person to some high dignity or employment. At Jesus baptism Jesus was being identified and commissioned for his ministry and also God was recognising him as his Son whom he loved and was most pleased with (Mark 1: 11).

Jesus was truly the man who was above all his companions or any man as the following passage in Colossians 1: 15 – 20 makes very clear,

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross”.

 Finally this anointing of the Son of God is described in Psalm 45: 7 as,

“Anointing you with the oil of joy”

 This again reminds me of Hebrews 12: 2 and how it speaks of Jesus joy.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

Jesus joy was the winning of our salvation and the ultimate destination of the way of suffering namely resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the throne of God.

  1. HE IS GLORIOUS (vs. 8)

 The Psalm then switches back to the original Royal wedding song when it speaks of the earthly bridegroom Kings wedding clothes. Even today most people wear the best of clothes on the day of their wedding and in Old Testament times this was certainly the case. The best of substances and materials was used to make King Solomon’s bridegroom clothes.

All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad.”

Just four of these special substances are mentioned, myrrh, aloes, cassia and ivory. Myrrh, aloes and cassia come from trees and plants and were used for medical purposes and of course to make things smell beautiful. Ivory from the tusks of animals was a precious and beautiful substance used to adorn buildings in ancient times.

Finally music is playing that pleases the king.

What would have been the author’s original intent for this verse?

I think he his painting a picture of the bridegroom’s coming to the wedding and the picture is of a elaborately sweet smelling figure who is full of joy and is now moving towards his bride who we will see is coming to him with her bridal party. I read up on ancient Hebrew wedding customs and discovered that the bridegroom and the bride met at the bride’s house for the start of the ceremony. This was the second part of a two part wedding process with the first part being the signing of a wedding contract called a “Ketubbah” being signed by the heads of the two families usually the two fathers. However if this was the marriage of Solomon and an Egyptian bride the custom of the second part could not have been followed. Interestingly we read of this marriage in 1 Kings 3: 1, which reads,

“Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem”.

 The verse makes a point of telling us that the second part of this wedding did not take place unto the building of the palace, Temple and wall around Jerusalem. Verse 8 speaks of the bridegroom dressed in his sweet smelling robes coming out of palaces adorned with ivory where music is played. This suggests to me that a special style of wedding ceremony is taking place here in the palace of the king. The next verse and the final section describe further this special wedding that took place.

What then is the significance of this verse to the greater bridegroom to come?

Isaiah in Isaiah 61: 10 uses the image of a bridegroom and brides wedding clothes as an image of the garments of salvation to come in God,

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels”.

 Jesus is of course the great promised bridegroom to come and he is clothed in righteousness and his special clothing of righteousness is his gift to us through faith in him as Romans 3: 21 – 24,

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith inJesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus”.

  1. HE HAS A BRIDE STANDING BY HIS SIDE (vs. 9)

The final descriptive verse about the bridegroom also introduces material relating to the bridesmaid as it speaks of the honoured women who surround the bridegroom at his wedding.

“Daughters of kings are among your honoured women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir”.

 Interestingly even when the bridegroom and bride meet together at this special marriage ceremony the bridegroom and not the bride is the centre of attention. This bridegroom is said to be surrounded by honourable women, “daughters of kings” maybe this is Solomon who ended up marrying many foreign wives who where daughters of kings. However here the focus is on his special bride who is significantly on his right hand side dressed in gold from a place called Ophir. Churchyard points out that,

“Ophir was a place probably on the east coast of the Red Sea, in what is now Saudi Arabia”.

 What would have been the significants of these words of the wedding song for Solomon in his day?

Simply I believe the writer is describing the marriage of a great king to a special bride and that this took place in the presence of many honourable guests.

What then does this have to say about the greater bridegroom to come?

The answer to this question introduces us the central application idea of the last section of this Psalm, namely the wedding of the great bridegroom Jesus Christ and his bride the church as spoken of twice in the book of Revelations. I will quote the first of these wedding verses here, namely Revelation 19: 6 – 9,

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting,

“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)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”.

This is a picture of the special union of Christ and his church throughout the ages and at this special wedding ceremony to come in heaven will have many honoured guests, which will include all the hosts of Heaven and God sitting on his great throne in heaven. We will explore this great application of this Psalm in the final section.

  1. HERE COMES THE BRIDE (vs’s 10 – 16)

We now come to the part of the Psalm were the focus of the Royal wedding song turns to the bride. Although even here the words to the bride are mainly about how she can best serve her great bridegroom the king.

I have broken the words to and about the bride into five parts:

  1. THE BRIDES NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BRIDEGROOM (vs. 10)
  2. THE LOVE THE BRIDEGROOM HAS FOR HIS BRIDE (vs. 11)
  3. THE BLESSINGS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 12)
  4. THE GLORIOUS CLOTHES OF THE BRIDE (vs’s 13 – 15)
  5. THE FRUITS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 16)
  1. THE BRIDES NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BRIDEGROOM (vs. 10)

 Paul quotes God’s desire and design of human marriage in Ephesians 5: 31, which is laid down in Genesis 2: 24,

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

 In Psalm 45: 10 the emphasis is on the bride leaving her father and mother to be united in a new relationship with her bridegroom the king,

“Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house”.

 I will continue my stated practice of the previous section of relating this Psalm to the likely original setting of the Psalm and then to the application of the greater bridegroom to come.

This daughter of Pharaoh must forget her allegiances to her former family namely Egypt and its ruler Pharaoh. This is not a unreasonable request because down through the ages the history of Kings and Queens can refer to many similar arranged marriages where princesses or princes of different countries have married and how they have been willing to separate their allegiances from their old country has often determined their success or failure in the new Kingdom.

For Solomon this issue actually became the controlling fate of his success of his life and rule as we see again from 1 kings 11: 4,

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been”.

 These wives of Solomon did not forget their religious allegiances of the countries they came from and through this eventually dragged Solomon into adulterous false worship of other God’s.

This is a lesson in the danger of Christians marrying non-believers. I have seen personally how destructive this has been to many friends of mine who have married non-Christians and as a result compromised their faith in God.

So then how does this apply to the greater bridegroom to come in Jesus Christ?

Paul had a lot to say about our new relationship with Christ and how it impacts on how we now live our lives. A good example of this is the famous “New Creation” passage in 2 Corinthians 5: 16 – 21,

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”.

 Note how Paul teaches us that when we come to Christ things must change from the way we regard others to what our goals and prime driving forces must be. He goes further here to tell us we are now “Christ’s ambassadors”.

When we come to Christ we are like Solomon’s Egyptian bride. Like her we are to put our former lives of sin and self- centeredness behind us and live the way Jesus now wants us to live. I find this a very challenging thought and know that I often slip back to the my former allegiances which the writer of Psalm 45 called,

 “Your people and your father’s house”

  1. THE LOVE THE BRIDEGROOM HAS FOR HIS BRIDE (vs. 11)

 This verse makes it clear that even though Solomon’s marriage to the Egyptian princess was an arranged marriage he really did love her,

“The King is enthralled by your beauty, honour him, for he is your Lord”.

 Is this verse suggesting the king’s love is only skin deep, that he loves his bride just because of her beauty?

We are not told if the King saw in his bride her inner beauty but in the case of Solomon this beautiful young Egyptian first bride eventually becomes simply one of many.

The advice to the bride is,

“Honour him, for he is your Lord”

Coffman fleshes out the full Hebrew meaning with,

“Bow down before him”, Worship him”, “adore him”, “He is thy Lord”.

 This great king demands nothing more than his wife’s complete adoration and devotion of his bride and yet he eventually fails to give that to her as time goes on.

However when we look to the great bridegroom to come the meaning of this verse takes on a very different meaning.

Christ loves his bride even though she dose not deserve his love. Interestingly the concept of God being the loyal devoted husband and his people being the bride or wife also appears in the book of Hosea. Here, God’s people Israel are depicted as the unfaithful wife who becomes a prostitute and God is the faithful loving husband who continues to love his wife and go after her. I love the passage in Hosea 2: 18 – 23, where the grace or underserved love of God is offered to Israel,

In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle
 I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion.

I will betroth you unfaithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.“In that day I will respond,” declares the Lord—
“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezebel.I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”

 This marvellous passage is only matched by another passage in the New Testament that is the fulfilment of Hosea’s prophecy, Romans 5: 6 – 11,

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation”.

Therefore the greater bridegroom to come, namely Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour loves us even though we are not beautiful like that faithless prostitute wife of Hosea but he wants to make us beautiful through his death and resurrection for us.

How then should we respond?

Just as the second half of verse 11 says,

“Honour him, for he is your Lord”

As Coffman fleshes out what that means,

“Bow down before him”, Worship him”, “adore him”, “He is thy Lord”.

  1. THE BLESSINGS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 12)

 This Son of Korah goes on to spell out in his Royal Wedding song the material blessings this bride of Solomon will receive by being united to him,

“The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift, men of wealth will seek your favour”.

 The bride’s devotion and submission to this great King will reap substantial material rewards just the Nation of Tyre is singled out bringing gifts to the wedding. Tyre is the ancient capital of the rich and successful Phoenician nation and their gift would have been substantial. Added to this is the word about wealthy men seeking her favor. They of course sought the favor of King Solomon but through her intimate connection with him she reaps his material blessings as well.

Solomon is famous for his wealth and fame attributed to his great wisdom. The fame and wealth of Solomon is beautifully captured in the story of the visit of the Queen of Sheba and her assessment of Solomon and his wealth is a good summary of how wealthy Solomon became, 1 Kings 10: 4- 7,

“When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard”.

 As much as these material blessings are they cannot match the spiritual blessings we have in the greater bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul spells out something of this great spiritual blessings we have in Christ in Ephesians 1: 3 – 10,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to son ship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ”.

 I have come across many in my life who seem to indicate they feel they would have to give up so much if they where to become a Christian but I have found I have take up far more than I had to give up when I became a follower of Christ.

I cannot promise material blessing if you choose to follow Christ although I know many Christians who have much material blessings but I can promise what Paul calls blessing,

“in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”. (Ephesians 1: 3)

  1. THE GLORIOUS CLOTHES OF THE BRIDE (vs’s 13 – 15)

 One of the things that always stand out in my mind when I think of weddings I have attended is the beauty of the bride and her bridal party. They say that a woman usually looks her best on the day of her wedding. Great expense and trouble goes into the wedding dress, the make up and hair of most brides and her bridesmaids.

The bride and her bridesmaids in the Royal wedding song is no different as we see from verses 13 – 15,

“All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold.

In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her—those brought to be with her. Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king”.

 These verses in their original context described a beautiful bride and bridal party of young brides maids. Her clothing is dazzling and very exotic with gold thread and embroidery. The whole scene is one of great joy and rejoicing and this only emphasis the glorious occasion of this special wedding.

What has this to do with the greater bridegroom to come?

Revelation 19: 6 – 9 speaks of the great wedding to come of Christ – the bridegroom and his bride the church in heaven,

“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:” Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)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.”

In Revelation 7 we read of that all true believers will be dressed in clothes made pure and holy by the blood of the Lamb, the death of Jesus for our sins on the cross, Revelation 7: 13 – 14,

Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”.

So the bridegrooms bride is dressed in glorious clothes made from the righteous acts of his people made pure and holy by his death on the cross for their sins.

The great joy and benefits of this union is spoken of in the verses that follow this,

Therefore, “they are before the throne of God
 and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne
 will shelter them with his presence. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.’‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” (Revelation 7: 15 – 17)

  1. THE FRUITS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 16)

 The writers final word to the bride speak of the great fruits or benefits that will come out of her union to the king, her bridegroom.

“Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land”.

 Marriage has always been the foundation of a family in the bible as we see in a verse like Malachi 2: 15,

“Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he is seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth”.

 The fruit of this brides union with her bridegroom is princely offspring, the next generation of the kingly rule of Israel. Of course we know that after Solomon died the country split and this is attributed to his falling away from devotion to the Lord influenced by his many pagan wives, 1 Kings 11: 9 – 13 records,

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

However in this Royal wedding song Solomon’s Egyptian wife is again instructed to leave behind her former Egyptian allegiances and see her new family as the replacement for them. Her great role is described then as producing royal offspring in her new homeland of Israel. J. Ligon Duncan pulls verse 16 and 17 that speaks of the perpetual nature of this union with theses words,

“You’re going to have descendants, heirs after you, generation upon generation. Your marriage is going to be fruitful, and sons are going to sit on the throne”.

How can we relate this to the great bridegroom to come?

God has called us through our relationship with the great bridegroom Jesus Christ to be his great offspring and Kingdom as Revelation 1: 6 says,

“And has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father”.

Our union with Christ will bear much fruit as Jesus predicted in John 15: 5,

“I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”.

I see this fruit in two ways:

  1. The fruit of the spirit
  2. The fruit of helping to make new Disciples of Christ.
  1. The fruit of the Spirit

Paul speaks of the good things our relationship in Christ will produce as fruits of the Spirit as he sets down in Galatians 5: 22 – 26,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other”.

So the results of coming to Christ should and must be seen in clear and practical qualities that only God’s Spirit can produce.

  1. The fruit of helping to make new Disciples of Christ.

The second kind of fruit that union with Christ producers is helping to for fill the great commission, Matthew 28: 18 – 20,

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Through our active prayerful witness and ministries we can be used by God to win others for Christ. We then are used by the great bridegroom to help produce prince and princesses for him. Paul teaches us in 2 Timothy 2: 11 – 13, that if we are in Christ we will reign with Christ,

“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself”.

It will be a great joy one day to meet others in heaven that we have helped in this life in one way or another to come to Christ opening up the way for them to enter glory as well.

One day many years ago I went to training session to be a counselor at the last Billy Graham crusade held in Sydney. At that meeting two young men, then in there early twenties came up to me and told me I had helped them come to Christ through a camp they had attended many years before. These two young men were primary school aged children who were in my little group at that camp and honestly all I could remember of them was that they gave me a very difficult time but praise God he used me to help these two young boys come to Christ.

4. CONCLUSION (vs. 17)

 This last verse could not be referring to the young Egyptian bride that the previous verses have been doing as it would not be her perpetual memory this verse is speaking about. It would not be also the perpetual memory of the bridegroom Solomon as he ended up a flawed and failed king. It must then be a conclusion of the inspired concept of this Royal Wedding Song namely the perpetual memory of the great bridegroom to come.

The verse reads,

“I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever”.

I like the way John Calvin comments on this verse and his insightful words follow,

“The furious efforts of Satan and the whole world have not been able to extinguish the name of Christ, which, being transmitted from one generation to another, still retains its glory in every age, even as at this day we see it celebrated in every language”.

Calvin wrote these words somewhere in the middle of the 1500’s and they still are true today over 500 years later. He goes on to give us excellent application of this verse with these words,

“And although the greater part of the world tear it to pieces by their impious blasphemies, yet it is enough that God stirs up his servant every where to proclaim with fidelity and with unfeigned zeal the praises of Christ”.

I close with that wonderful doxology in Jude 1: 24 – 25 and my poem called, “The Heavenly Wedding Song”,

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen”.

THE HEAVENLY WEDDING SONG

 I see the groom and the bride

And my heart is stirred

To think of Christ the Lord above

And his loving word

That tells me that he waits for me

To join with him above

Like a bride joins with her groom

In a wonderful union of love.

 

Chorus:

 

Your throne Oh God is eternal

The place of justice and love

And there your Son waits for us

The Savoir up above.

 

As the groom waits for his bride

I think of Christ above

Who came from his father’s house

To reveal to us his love

He spoke with words of grace and truth

He cured the sick and lame

Like the groom who loves his bride

Forever praise his holy name.

 

 

The groom is dressed in splendored clothes

But Christ is dressed in light

For he is pure and knows no sin

Only his death could make us right

He rose from death to God above

And waits for his coming bride

The church is the bride of Christ

For which he surely died.

 

 

The groom would give his life for her

So great is his love for his bride

Jesus gave his life for us

On a cross he cruelly died

He is greater than anyone else

No one can match his love

For God anointed him to be

Our Savoir from above.

 

 

The bride now comes down the aisle

Her beauty is great to see

She makes me think of the day

When we’ll rise to God so free

Dressed in the righteousness of Christ

We will be united with our groom

Forever will we be with him

In his celestial room.

 

 

So now I long to serve my Lord

By helping others to learn

That God sent Jesus to this world

So that we might be re–born

Saved by faith in what Christ did

When he died to make us a way

To join the heavenly wedding feast

As the bride of the groom one day.

 

Chorus:

 

Your throne Oh God is eternal

The place of justice and love

And there your Son waits for us

The Savoir up above.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

 

PRAYER:

Father in heaven I want to thank you for sending your son into this world to rescue me from the penalty of my sins. I thank you that you have called me into your wonderful world wide church, your family which will one day be united with your Son in heaven like a bride is united with her husband in marriage. I look forward to the great wedding feast in heaven but unto then help me to help others in this world come to know your great love so that they to might be able to join in your eternal celebrations in heaven. In The Name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savoir. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

 

PSALM 45 TALK

A ROYAL WEDDING SONG

(HERE COMES THE BRIDEGROOM)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

If you were to ask me what was the most significant moment of your life so far I would find it difficult to choose between two great events in my life. The first would be the night in my thirteenth year when I responded to the call to follow Christ. This was my most significant moment because this was when I went from death to life through the grace of Christ.

 

The second most significant moment in my life was in my twenty eighth year when I married my beautiful wife, Christine. This was a significant moment in my life because through the mystical union of marriage I became a new and different person through the grace of Christ bringing my wife and I together to serve him.

 

These two great events come together for me in Psalm 45 and the words of Paul in Ephesians 5: 25 – 33,

 

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 with 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. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband”.

 

My first introductory comment of Psalm 45 is that it has been called by many a “Royal Wedding Song” and there are two main ways of understanding this Psalm. The first is simply that the Psalm is a song written for the wedding of a king probably Solomon when he married his first wife Pharaoh’s daughter in 1 Kings 3: 1.

 

The second way of understanding this Psalm is that it is about the Messiah and his relationship with his people, for the Jews, the Nation of Israel and for the Christian, the Church.

 

I think there is a way of harmonizing these two ways of understanding this Psalm. My theory is that a Son of Korah wrote a wedding song for King Solomon. We have seen that the Psalms in this second boof of Psalms feature Psalms by the Sons of Korah who wrote their Psalms from the second half of David’s reign to the end of Solomon’s reign. Once the wedding Psalm was composed the author got further inspiration from God to re-write his Royal wedding song with a view to a greater King to come, which was of course the promised Messiah. This is how I make sense of the first verse of this Psalm, which reads,

 

 

“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”.

 

In this study we will see that when we come to Christ we are united to him like a husband is to his wife. Therefore when we get married or attend the wedding of a Christian we should be reminded of our special union with Christ and that special union should remind us as husbands of our special union with our wives and how we should love our wives, which Paul expresses in the words of Ephesians 5: 25,

 

“just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy”.

 

My second introductory comment is that this Royal wedding song is focussed on the bridegroom and not the bride. At the weddings I have attended the focus seems to be on the bride not the bridegroom. We usually hear the famous Richard Wagner wedding theme played which has become known as, “Here Comes the Bride”. Once that music starts everyone stands up and looks to the back of the church where the bride and her bridal party enters dressed in glorious spender.

 

However this Royal wedding song could also be called, “Here comes the bridegroom” because it’s focus is on the glories of the bridegroom. Even when the bride is spoken to in the second half of the Psalm she is advised on how she should now relate to her bridegroom the great king who she is about to marry.

 

We will also learn in this study the glorious nature of our great bridegroom, The Lord Jesus Christ and how he wants us to relate to him as his bride the church. We know that this Psalm relates to Jesus as the great promised bridegroom because the writer to the Hebrews quotes from it referring the Christ and his supremacy over all things in Hebrews 1: 8 – 9.

 

I have broken this Psalm into four parts:

 

  1. INTRODUCTION (vs. 1)

 

  1. HERE COMES THE BRIDEGRROM (vs’s 2 – 9)

 

  1. HERE COMES THE BRIDE (vs’s 10 – 16)

 

  1. CONCLUSION (vs. 17)

 

  1. INTRODUCTION (vs. 1)

 

I would like to now comment on this Psalms heading as well and its opening verse.

 

The heading reads:

 

“For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies,” Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song”

 

This heading tells us four things:

 

  1. It was written to a well-known tune of the day called “Lillies”, not known anymore.

 

2.   It is a “maskil” or enlightenment and generally means this Psalm teaches us

special things about God and life.

 

3. It was written by “the sons of Korah” who were Temple singers and musicians

who we know operated during the reins of King David and King Solomon.

  1. It was written as a wedding song, probably for King Solomon when he married his first wife, the daughter of Pharaoh as recorded in 1 Kings 3: 1.

 

So this heading sets up the general context of this Psalm but then the writer opens his song with a private comment that seems totally out of place. Verse 1 reads,

 

“My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the King; my tongue is the pen of a skilful writer”.

 

As I said in my introduction to this Psalm I believe these words indicate that after this Son of Korah wrote his Royal Wedding song for Solomon he got a special inspired insight of the promise of a greater king to come known to the Jews as the Messiah. The verse seems to suggest this inspiration came to him as he recited or maybe sang his original composition to the King. Maybe led by God’s Holy Spirit the writer changed his original work to speak of the promise of the Messiah. This would explain the words,

 

“My tongue is the pen of a skilful writer”

 

So we will now look at the rest of this Psalm in two ways:

 

  1. What it is saying to King Solomon and his bride on their wedding day

 

  1. What it is saying about the coming Messiah King, we know as Jesus Christ.

 

2.   HERE COMES THE BRIDEGRROM (vs’s 2 – 9)

 

This section could easily be speaking of Solomon on his wedding day except for verse 6, which reads,

 

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom”

 

The writer has jumped from the earthly throne of King Solomon to the eternal heavenly throne of God himself. This means that all the words of this section not only speak of King Solomon but of God’s special King to come from heaven.

 

I think we can learn eight things about this Messiah King from these verses. I believe the writer is giving us a description of the coming bridegroom.

 

The eight things are:

 

  1. HE SPEAKS WORDS OF GRACE (verse 2)
  2. HE IS MIGHTY (verse 3)
  3. HE ACHIEVES AWESOME DEEDS (verse 4)
  4. HE OVERCOMES HIS ENENEMIES (verse 5)
  5. HE REIGNS ETERNALLY (verse 6)
  6. HE LOVES RIGHTEOUSNESS (verse 7)
  7. HE IS GLORIOUS (verse 8)
  8. HE HAS A BRIDE STANDING BY HIS SIDE (verse 9)

 

  1. HE SPEAKS WORDS OF GRACE (vs. 2)

 

The first part of verse 2 could easily fit Solomon at the start of his reign,

 

“You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace”

 

In 1 Kings 3: 5 – 15, Solomon meets God in a dream and God offers to give him anything he wants and Solomon asks for wisdom to rule, verse 9,

 

“Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong”.

 

In verse 12 and 14 God replies to Solomon’s request with these words,

 

“I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that their will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

 

So God anointed Solomon’s lips with grace in the form of great wisdom. However Solomon does not stay faithful to God throughout his reign and came under continual pressure to compromise his faith in God by his many foreign wives. As 1 kings 11: 4 records,

 

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been”.

 

So the words of verse 2 of this Psalm do not relate to Solomon but a greater bridegroom to come,

 

“You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever”.

 

In Luke 4 : 22 we read what people thought of the words that came from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ,

 

“All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked”.

 

Jesus spoke great words of wisdom, greater than Solomon in his day, words that Peter is recorded in John 6: 68 as

 

the words of eternal life”.

 

Only Jesus is blessed and lives forever but through him he gives to those who believe in him the gift of eternal life.

 

As Jesus words promise us in John 11: 25- 26,

 

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die”.

 

 

 

  1. HE IS MIGHTY (vs. 3)

 

Verse 3 could also be applied to King Solomon on the day of his wedding to his Egyptian bride.

 

“Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendour and majesty”

 

As the king of God’s people on earth Solomon had a very high calling, as he was their chief protector and guide of God’s people. He like his father David had to lead his people into battle against their enemies. Enemies who as we saw from Psalm 2:2 ganged up on Israel and it’s God anointed king,

 

“The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his anointed One”.

 

Like David, Solomon faced opposition and rebellion from within his own nation. We see this particularly in the person of Jeroboam who after Solomon’s death led the split of the Northern Kingdom.

 

Therefore the words of verse 3 describe better the attributes of the greater bridegroom to come, The Lord Jesus Christ.

 

He alone is the mighty one who is clothed in splendour. Some commentators say that this verse cannot relate to Jesus as he did not come girding a sword and in fact opposed the use of violence and the sword in his service as quoted in Matthew 26: 52,

 

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword”.

 

However Jesus in his second coming will come as a mighty glorious judge as Jesus taught in Matthew 24: 30 – 31,

 

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earthwill mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other”.

Jesus spoke words of grace when offering us the gift of eternal life made possible by his act of grace in dying for our sins on the cross but as Jesus taught in John 3: 18,

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”.

  1. HE ACHIEVES AWESOME DEEDS (vs. 4)

 

Again the words of verse 4 could well apply to Solomon on the day of his wedding to his first wife, as they would have been a challenge to him in how he should reign over his people.

 

“In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds”.

 

At the start of his reign Solomon did seek to govern his people with truth, humility and justice as his request for wisdom to rule would suggest. While he looked to God he certainly achieved some awesome deeds but as his reign went on he looked away from God and in the end the pagan influence of his many foreign wives led him to do evil and corrupted deeds as 1 Kings 11: 9 – 13 records,

 

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

So again this verse is best for filled in the great bridegroom to come, The Lord Jesus Christ who certainly achieved awesome deeds and was victorious in the cause of truth, humility and justice right to the end of his earthly life. It is in his death that the love and justice of God is seen in Jesus supremely as the writer to the Hebrews puts it, Hebrews 12: 2,

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

The right hand spoken of here is the hand of power as most warriors wielded their swords with their right hand. Interestingly you can see from the Hebrews verse that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God again signifying power and authority. However this power and authority came through the way of suffering on the cross of Golgotha. This again for fills the words of the Psalm about this coming Messiah when it speaks of victory through,

“truth, humility and justice”

  1. HE OVERCOMES HIS ENENEMIES (vs. 5)

 

The words of verse 5 would also sit well in the original “Royal Wedding Song” as it speaks of victory for the king over his many enemies.

“Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet”.

Most wedding speeches would wish the bride and groom a long and successful life together. Success and long life for any ancient King would be continual victories over his enemies. As we saw from Psalm 2 Israel’s kings had many enemies and eventually both Northern and Southern Kingdoms fell to foreign enemies. This means these words could only be for filled in the greater bridegroom to come.

 

Jesus came the first time to make a way back to God as John 14: 6 says,

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

This first coming will be followed by a second coming when Jesus will return and judge the world and establish his kingdom with his bride the church forever. This is spoken about in the Book of Revelation and I love the great and glorious picture language of Jesus coming and meeting his bride the Church in Revelation 21: 9 -11,

“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. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal”.

I love the concept of the second coming of Christ in the famous words of Paul in Philippians 2: 9 – 11

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

 

This is the ultimate victory of God over all his enemies.

 

 

  1. HE REIGNS ETERNALLY (vs. 6)

 

This brings us to the verse that cannot be referring to any earthly king like Solomon as it speaks directly of God and his throne in heaven,

 

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom”.

 

Why this Son of Korah jumps from a wedding song for his king to a song about the great Bridegroom King to come called the Messiah is unknown. So far most of what he has been saying or singing about could relate to a King like Solomon in the early part of his reign but maybe even this caused him to think that even Solomon could not for fill this lofty description of the bridegroom and only the great king of heaven, God himself could match this exalted description.

 

For what ever reason this Son of Korah now jumps into heaven to describe the God who rules there.

 

He tells us two great things about God:

 

  1. God is eternal
  2. God rules with justice

 

  1. God is eternal

 

Unlike the kings of this world who live and reign for a finite time God lives and rules forever. The eternal nature of God is what makes God, God and this characteristic sets God apart from all things. Logically you can only believe in one of two things which is matter is eternal or God is eternal. No matter what modern atheistic scientists teach us order and complexity cannot come out of nothing. The atheist has no choice he must have faith in eternal matter and random chance changes producing the order and wonder of creation that came about over millions and millions of years.

 

However Christians have their faith in the God of the bible who is eternal and through him as he spoke order and creation came into being. Only God can create something out of nothing, which became the order and wonder of creation such is his power and majesty.

 

Not only did God create this world but also he rules over it forever and a day. God is not like a time clock God some people believe in. That is God created the world and then withdrew to let it tick away forever. No! The God of the bible is the God who sits on his throne in heaven and rules over all things in heaven and earth. As Pauls says in Ephesians 4: 6,

 

“One God and father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”

 

The wonderful good news of the Gospel of Christ is that even though we deserve death because of our many sins God, through Christ’s death for our sins gives us eternal life as a gift. As Paul puts it in Romans 6: 23,

 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inChrist Jesus our Lord”.

  1. God rules with justice

I have already indicated that this eternal God of the bible rules directly from the throne of heaven but how does he rule?

The answer is found in the second half of verse 6,

“a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom”.

 

The sceptre Gordon Churchyard says,

 

“is the special stick (often made from gold) that a king holds as he rules his people”

 

He goes on to say,

 

“A righteous (or just) sceptre means that the king is good”.

 

In a sermon I heard recently the minister said that God knows nothing of injustice and impurity because he is totally holy and totally good.

 

Out of God’s Holiness flows God’s goodness and justice. This is both a good thing and bad thing for humanity. Good because we can rely on God to always do the right thing but bad because we are all sinful and must pay for our sins with death.

 

This was the dilemma that faced God once mankind went down the path of sinfulness. God’s answer is of course the cross for in the cross the love of God and the justice of God come perfectly together.

 

Justice demands from God that sin must be paid for and love led God to send his only son to this world to pay the penalty of our sins on the cross.

 

The God of the bible therefore is a great God of Love and Justice and we can all experience his love and goodness through faith in his Son and what he has done for us on the cross. As Paul puts it in Romans 5: 1 – 2,

 

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And weboast in the hope of the glory of God”.

 

The bridegroom of Heaven is Jesus Christ our Lord and we will see in the second half of Psalm 45 how one day he will be united with his bride, the church who are all the true believers in him connected to him by faith in what he has done for them.

 

  1. HE LOVES RIGHTEOUSNESS (vs. 7)

 

Now we come to another difficult verse to interpret. I draw on the expertise of the great Psalm’s commentator H.C,Leupold to help me here. Leupold writes,

 

“This verse continues the same strain and gives a more subjective touch to the thought.”

 

Leoupold is saying that this Son of Korah is still speaking of the heavenly bridegroom. What relevance this would have had to the original king this song was first written for is interesting to contemplate. Maybe like us the qualities and character of the heavenly bridegroom king acts as an inspiration for his actions as God’s king on earth.

 

Lets look at this verse then with this in mind,

 

“You love righteousness and hate wickedness, therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy”.

 

Leopold starts his explanation of this verse with the words,

 

“Not only does this champion uphold the cause of Righteousness and suppress wickedness, he also personally loves the one and hates the other”.

 

This was the point I made in the previous section that God is totally Holy and righteous and has no hint of wickedness in him. We on the other hand are compromised beings and even our righteous acts are infected with sin as the prophet Isaiah aptly writes in Isaiah 64: 6,

 

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away”.

 

What God is like then should be our model and Solomon was one person who late in his reign lost sight of this as we saw in 1 kings 11: 4,

 

 

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been”.

 

Then we come to the difficult words of this verse,

 

therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy”.

 

Is this anointed one here Solomon who would have been ceremonially anointed with oil when he was made king or is the anointed one here the bridegroom of heaven who is to come?

 

I follow the line of H.C Leopold who indicated that verse 7 is a logical extension of verse 6. This then points to the baptism of Jesus as Acts 10: 37 – 38 indicates,

 

 “You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him”.

 

Many commentators speak of how the anointing of people in the Old Testament did not always infer the conferring of inward gifts and power but was used to designate and inaugurate a person to some high dignity or employment. At Jesus baptism Jesus was being identified and commissioned for his ministry and also God was recognizing him as his Son whom he loved and was most pleased with (Mark 1: 11).

 

Jesus was truly the man who was above all his companions or any man as the following passage in Colossians 1: 15 – 20 makes very clear,

 

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross”.

 

Finally this anointing of the Son of God is described in Psalm 45: 7 as,

 

“Anointing you with the oil of joy”

 

This again reminds me of Hebrews 12: 2 and how it speaks of Jesus joy.

 

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

Jesus joy was the winning of our salvation and the ultimate destination of the way of suffering namely resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the throne of God.

 

 

  1. HE IS GLORIOUS (vs. 8)

 

The Psalm then switches back to the original Royal wedding song when it speaks of the earthly bridegroom Kings wedding clothes. Even today most people wear the best of clothes on the day of their wedding and in Old Testament times this was certainly the case. The best of substances and materials was used to make King Solomon’s bridegroom clothes.

 

All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad.”

 

Just four of these special substances are mentioned, myrrh, aloes, cassia and ivory. Myrrh, aloes and cassia come from trees and plants and were used for medical purposes and of course to make things smell beautiful. Ivory from the tusks of animals was a precious and beautiful substance used to adorn buildings in ancient times.

 

Finally music is playing that pleases the king.

 

What would have been the author’s original intent for this verse?

 

I think he his painting a picture of the bridegroom’s coming to the wedding and the picture is of a elaborately sweet smelling figure who is full of joy and is now moving towards his bride who we will see is coming to him with her bridal party. I read up on ancient Hebrew wedding customs and discovered that the bridegroom and the bride met at the bride’s house for the start of the ceremony. This was the second part of a two part wedding process with the first part being the signing of a wedding contract called a “Ketubbah” being signed by the heads of the two families usually the two fathers. However if this was the marriage of Solomon and an Egyptian bride the custom of the second part could not have been followed. Interestingly we read of this marriage in 1 Kings 3: 1, which reads,

 

“Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem”.

 

The verse makes a point of telling us that the second part of this wedding did not take place unto the building of the palace, Temple and wall around Jerusalem. Verse 8 speaks of the bridegroom dressed in his sweet smelling robes coming out of palaces adorned with ivory where music is played. This suggests to me that a special style of wedding ceremony is taking place here in the palace of the king. The next verse and the final section describe further this special wedding that took place.

 

What then is the significance of this verse to the greater bridegroom to come?

 

Isaiah in Isaiah 61: 10 uses the image of a bridegroom and brides wedding clothes as an image of the garments of salvation to come in God,

 

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels”.

 

Jesus is of course the great promised bridegroom to come and he is clothed in righteousness and his special clothing of righteousness is his gift to us through faith in him as Romans 3: 21 – 24,

 

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith inJesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus”.

  1. HE HAS A BRIDE STANDING BY HIS SIDE (vs. 9)

 

The final descriptive verse about the bridegroom also introduces material relating to the bridesmaid as it speaks of the honoured women who surround the bridegroom at his wedding.

 

“Daughters of kings are among your honoured women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir”.

 

Interestingly even when the bridegroom and bride meet together at this special marriage ceremony the bridegroom and not the bride is the centre of attention. This bridegroom is said to be surrounded by honourable women, “daughters of kings” maybe this is Solomon who ended up marrying many foreign wives who where daughters of kings. However here the focus is on his special bride who is significantly on his right hand side dressed in gold from a place called Ophir. Churchyard points out that,

 

“Ophir was a place probably on the east coast of the Red Sea, in what is now Saudi Arabia”.

 

What would have been the significants of these words of the wedding song for Solomon in his day?

 

Simply I believe the writer is describing the marriage of a great king to a special bride and that this took place in the presence of many honourable guests.

 

What then does this have to say about the greater bridegroom to come?

 

The answer to this question introduces us the central application idea of the last section of this Psalm, namely the wedding of the great bridegroom Jesus Christ and his bride the church as spoken of twice in the book of Revelations. I will quote the first of these wedding verses here, namely Revelation 19: 6 – 9,

 

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting,

“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)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”.

This is a picture of the special union of Christ and his church throughout the ages and at this special wedding ceremony to come in heaven will have many honoured guests, which will include all the hosts of Heaven and God sitting on his great throne in heaven. We will explore this great application of this Psalm in the final section.

 

 

  1. HERE COMES THE BRIDE (vs’s 10 – 16)

 

We now come to the part of the Psalm were the focus of the Royal wedding song turns to the bride. Although even here the words to the bride are mainly about how she can best serve her great bridegroom the king.

 

I have broken the words to and about the bride into five parts:

 

  1. THE BRIDES NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BRIDEGROOM (vs. 10)
  2. THE LOVE THE BRIDEGROOM HAS FOR HIS BRIDE (vs. 11)
  3. THE BLESSINGS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 12)
  4. THE GLORIOUS CLOTHES OF THE BRIDE (vs’s 13 – 15)
  5. THE FRUITS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 16)

 

  1. THE BRIDES NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BRIDEGROOM (vs. 10)

 

Paul quotes God’s desire and design of human marriage in Ephesians 5: 31, which is laid down in Genesis 2: 24,

 

 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

 

In Psalm 45: 10 the emphasis is on the bride leaving her father and mother to be united in a new relationship with her bridegroom the king,

 

“Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house”.

 

I will continue my stated practice of the previous section of relating this Psalm to the likely original setting of the Psalm and then to the application of the greater bridegroom to come.

 

This daughter of Pharaoh must forget her allegiances to her former family namely Egypt and its ruler Pharaoh. This is not a unreasonable request because down through the ages the history of Kings and Queens can refer to many similar arranged marriages where princesses or princes of different countries have married and how they have been willing to separate their allegiances from their old country has often determined their success or failure in the new Kingdom.

 

For Solomon this issue actually became the controlling fate of his success of his life and rule as we see again from 1 kings 11: 4,

 

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been”.

 

These wives of Solomon did not forget their religious allegiances of the countries they came from and through this eventually dragged Solomon into adulterous false worship of other God’s.

This is a lesson in the danger of Christians marrying non-believers. I have seen personally how destructive this has been to many friends of mine who have married non-Christians and as a result compromised their faith in God.

 

So then how does this apply to the greater bridegroom to come in Jesus Christ?

 

Paul had a lot to say about our new relationship with Christ and how it impacts on how we now live our lives. A good example of this is the famous “New Creation” passage in 2 Corinthians 5: 16 – 21,

 

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sinfor us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”.

 

Note how Paul teaches us that when we come to Christ things must change from the way we regard others to what our goals and prime driving forces must be. He goes further here to tell us we are now “Christ’s ambassadors”.

 

When we come to Christ we are like Solomon’s Egyptian bride. Like her we are to put our former lives of sin and self- centeredness behind us and live the way Jesus now wants us to live. I find this a very challenging thought and know that I often slip back to the my former allegiances which the writer of Psalm 45 called,

 

“Your people and your father’s house”

 

  1. THE LOVE THE BRIDEGROOM HAS FOR HIS BRIDE (vs. 11)

 

This verse makes it clear that even though Solomon’s marriage to the Egyptian princess was an arranged marriage he really did love her,

 

“The King is enthralled by your beauty, honour him, for he is your Lord”.

 

Is this verse suggesting the king’s love is only skin deep, that he loves his bride just because of her beauty?

 

We are not told if the King saw in his bride her inner beauty but in the case of Solomon this beautiful young Egyptian first bride eventually becomes simply one of many.

 

The advice to the bride is,

 

“Honour him, for he is your Lord”

 

Coffman fleshes out the full Hebrew meaning with,

 

“Bow down before him”, Worship him”, “adore him”, “He is thy Lord”.

 

This great king demands nothing more than his wife’s complete adoration and devotion of his bride and yet he eventually fails to give that to her as time goes on.

However when we look to the great bridegroom to come the meaning of this verse takes on a very different meaning.

 

Christ loves his bride even though she dose not deserve his love. Interestingly the concept of God being the loyal devoted husband and his people being the bride or wife also appears in the book of Hosea. Here, God’s people Israel are depicted as the unfaithful wife who becomes a prostitute and God is the faithful loving husband who continues to love his wife and go after her. I love the passage in Hosea 2: 18 – 23, where the grace or underserved love of God is offered to Israel,

 

In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle
 I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you inrighteousness and justice, in love and compassion.

I will betroth you infaithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.“In that day I will respond,” declares the Lord—
“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezebel.I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”

 

This marvelous passage is only matched by another passage in the New Testament that is the fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy, Romans 5: 6 – 11,

 

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation”.

Therefore the greater bridegroom to come, namely Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior loves us even though we are not beautiful like that faithless prostitute wife of Hosea but he wants to make us beautiful through his death and resurrection for us.

How then should we respond?

Just as the second half of verse 11 says,

“Honour him, for he is your Lord”

 

As Coffman fleshes out what that means,

 

“Bow down before him”, Worship him”, “adore him”, “He is thy Lord”.

 

 

 

 

  1. THE BLESSINGS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 12)

 

This Son of Korah goes on to spell out in his Royal Wedding song the material blessings this bride of Solomon will receive by being united to him,

 

“The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift, men of wealth will seek your favour”.

 

The bride’s devotion and submission to this great King will reap substantial material rewards just the Nation of Tyre is singled out bringing gifts to the wedding. Tyre is the ancient capital of the rich and successful Phoenician nation and their gift would have been substantial. Added to this is the word about wealthy men seeking her favor. They of course sought the favor of King Solomon but through her intimate connection with him she reaps his material blessings as well.

 

Solomon is famous for his wealth and fame attributed to his great wisdom. The fame and wealth of Solomon is beautifully captured in the story of the visit of the Queen of Sheba and her assessment of Solomon and his wealth is a good summary of how wealthy Solomon became, 1 Kings 10: 4- 7,

 

“When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made atthe temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard”.

 

As much as these material blessings are they cannot match the spiritual blessings we have in the greater bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul spells out something of this great spiritual blessings we have in Christ in Ephesians 1: 3 – 10,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love hepredestined us for adoption to son shipthrough Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, hemade known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ”.

 

I have come across many in my life who seem to indicate they feel they would have to give up so much if they where to become a Christian but I have found I have take up far more than I had to give up when I became a follower of Christ.

 

I cannot promise material blessing if you choose to follow Christ although I know many Christians who have much material blessings but I can promise what Paul calls blessing,

 

“in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”. (Ephesians 1: 3)

  1. THE GLORIOUS CLOTHES OF THE BRIDE (vs’s 13 – 15)

 

One of the things that always stand out in my mind when I think of weddings I have attended is the beauty of the bride and her bridal party. They say that a woman usually looks her best on the day of her wedding. Great expense and trouble goes into the wedding dress, the make up and hair of most brides and her bridesmaids.

 

The bride and her bridesmaids in the Royal wedding song is no different as we see from verses 13 – 15,

 

“All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold.

In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her—those brought to be with her. Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king”.

 

These verses in their original context described a beautiful bride and bridal party of young brides maids. Her clothing is dazzling and very exotic with gold thread and embroidery. The whole scene is one of great joy and rejoicing and this only emphasis the glorious occasion of this special wedding.

 

What has this to do with the greater bridegroom to come?

 

Revelation 19: 6 – 9 speaks of the great wedding to come of Christ – the bridegroom and his bride the church in heaven,

“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:” Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)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.”

In Revelation 7 we read of that all true believers will be dressed in clothes made pure and holy by the blood of the Lamb, the death of Jesus for our sins on the cross, Revelation 7: 13 – 14,

Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”.

So the bridegrooms bride is dressed in glorious clothes made from the righteous acts of his people made pure and holy by his death on the cross for their sins.

The great joy and benefits of this union is spoken of in the verses that follow this,

Therefore, “they are before the throne of God
 and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne
 will shelter them with his presence. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.’‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” (Revelation 7: 15 – 17)

  1. THE FRUITS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 16)

 

The writers final word to the bride speak of the great fruits or benefits that will come out of her union to the king, her bridegroom.

 

“Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land”.

 

Marriage has always been the foundation of a family in the bible as we see in a verse like Malachi 2: 15,

 

“Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he is seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth”.

 

The fruit of this brides union with her bridegroom is princely offspring, the next generation of the kingly rule of Israel. Of course we know that after Solomon died the country split and this is attributed to his falling away from devotion to the Lord influenced by his many pagan wives, 1 Kings 11: 9 – 13 records,

 

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

However in this Royal wedding song Solomon’s Egyptian wife is again instructed to leave behind her former Egyptian allegiances and see her new family as the replacement for them. Her great role is described then as producing royal offspring in her new homeland of Israel. J. Ligon Duncan pulls verse 16 and 17 that speaks of the perpetual nature of this union with theses words,

“You’re going to have descendants, heirs after you, generation upon generation. Your marriage is going to be fruitful, and sons are going to sit on the throne”.

How can we relate this to the great bridegroom to come?

God has called us through our relationship with the great bridegroom Jesus Christ to be his great offspring and Kingdom as Revelation 1: 6 says,

“And has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father”.

Our union with Christ will bear much fruit as Jesus predicted in John 15: 5,

“I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”.

I see this fruit in two ways:

  1. The fruit of the spirit
  2. The fruit of helping to make new Disciples of Christ.

 

  1. The fruit of the Spirit

Paul speaks of the good things our relationship in Christ will produce as fruits of the Spirit as he sets down in Galatians 5: 22 – 26,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other”.

So the results of coming to Christ should and must be seen in clear and practical qualities that only God’s Spirit can produce.

  1. The fruit of helping to make new Disciples of Christ.

The second kind of fruit that union with Christ producers is helping to for fill the great commission, Matthew 28: 18 – 20,

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Through our active prayerful witness and ministries we can be used by God to win others for Christ. We then are used by the great bridegroom to help produce prince and princesses for him. Paul teaches us in 2 Timothy 2: 11 – 13, that if we are in Christ we will reign with Christ,

“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself”.

It will be a great joy one day to meet others in heaven that we have helped in this life in one way or another to come to Christ opening up the way for them to enter glory as well.

One day many years ago I went to training session to be a counselor at the last Billy Graham crusade held in Sydney. At that meeting two young men, then in there early twenties came up to me and told me I had helped them come to Christ through a camp they had attended many years before. These two young men were primary school aged children who were in my little group at that camp and honestly all I could remember of them was that they gave me a very difficult time but praise God he used me to help these two young boys come to Christ.

 

 

4. CONCLUSION (vs. 17)

 

This last verse could not be referring to the young Egyptian bride that the previous verses have been doing as it would not be her perpetual memory this verse is speaking about. It would not be also the perpetual memory of the bridegroom Solomon as he ended up a flawed and failed king. It must then be a conclusion of the inspired concept of this Royal Wedding Song namely the perpetual memory of the great bridegroom to come.

The verse reads,

“I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever”.

I like the way John Calvin comments on this verse and his insightful words follow,

“The furious efforts of Satan and the whole world have not been able to extinguish the name of Christ, which, being transmitted from one generation to another, still retains its glory in every age, even as at this day we see it celebrated in every language”.

Calvin wrote these words somewhere in the middle of the 1500’s and they still are true today over 500 years later. He goes on to give us excellent application of this verse with these words,

“And although the greater part of the world tear it to pieces by their impious blasphemies, yet it is enough that God stirs up his servant every where to proclaim with fidelity and with unfeigned zeal the praises of Christ”.

I close with that wonderful doxology in Jude 1: 24 – 25 and my poem called, “The Heavenly Wedding Song”,

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen”.

THE HEAVENLY WEDDING SONG

 

 

I see the groom and the bride

And my heart is stirred

To think of Christ the Lord above

And his loving word

That tells me that he waits for me

To join with him above

Like a bride joins with her groom

In a wonderful union of love.

 

 

 

 

Chorus:

 

Your throne Oh God is eternal

The place of justice and love

And there your Son waits for us

The Savoir up above.

 

As the groom waits for his bride

I think of Christ above

Who came from his father’s house

To reveal to us his love

He spoke with words of grace and truth

He cured the sick and lame

Like the groom who loves his bride

Forever praise his holy name.

 

 

The groom is dressed in splendored clothes

But Christ is dressed in light

For he is pure and knows no sin

Only his death could make us right

He rose from death to God above

And waits for his coming bride

The church is the bride of Christ

For which he surely died.

 

 

The groom would give his life for her

So great is his love for his bride

Jesus gave his life for us

On a cross he cruelly died

He is greater than anyone else

No one can match his love

For God anointed him to be

Our Savoir from above.

 

 

The bride now comes down the aisle

Her beauty is great to see

She makes me think of the day

When we’ll rise to God so free

Dressed in the righteousness of Christ

We will be united with our groom

Forever will we be with him

In his celestial room.

 

 

So now I long to serve my Lord

By helping others to learn

That God sent Jesus to this world

So that we might be re–born

Saved by faith in what Christ did

When he died to make us a way

To join the heavenly wedding feast

As the bride of the groom one day.

 

Chorus:

 

Your throne Oh God is eternal

The place of justice and love

And there your Son waits for us

The Savoir up above.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

 

PRAYER:

 

Father in heaven I want to thank you for sending your son into this world to rescue me from the penalty of my sins. I thank you that you have called me into your wonderful world wide church, your family which will one day be united with your Son in heaven like a bride is united with her husband in marriage. I look forward to the great wedding feast in heaven but unto then help me to help others in this world come to know your great love so that they to might be able to join in your eternal celebrations in heaven. In The Name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savoir. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

“THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

 

PSALM 45 TALK

A ROYAL WEDDING SONG

(HERE COMES THE BRIDGROOM)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

If you were to ask me what was the most significant moment of your life so far I would find it difficult to choose between two great events in my life. The first would be the night in my thirteenth year when I responded to the call to follow Christ. This was my most significant moment because this was when I went from death to life through the grace of Christ.

 

The second most significant moment in my life was in my twenty eighth year when I married my beautiful wife, Christine. This was a significant moment in my life because through the mystical union of marriage I became a new and different person through the grace of Christ bringing my wife and I together to serve him.

 

These two great events come together for me in Psalm 45 and the words of Paul in Ephesians 5: 25 – 33,

 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansingher by the washing with 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. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband”.

 

My first introductory comment of Psalm 45 is that it has been called by many a “Royal Wedding Song” and there are two main ways of understanding this Psalm. The first is simply that the Psalm is a song written for the wedding of a king probably Solomon when he married his first wife Pharaoh’s daughter in 1 Kings 3: 1.

 

The second way of understanding this Psalm is that it is about the Messiah and his relationship with his people, for the Jews, the Nation of Israel and for the Christian, the Church.

 

I think there is a way of harmonizing these two ways of understanding this Psalm. My theory is that a Son of Korah wrote a wedding song for King Solomon. We have seen that the Psalms in this second boof of Psalms feature Psalms by the Sons of Korah who wrote their Psalms from the second half of David’s reign to the end of Solomon’s reign. Once the wedding Psalm was composed the author got further inspiration from God to re-write his Royal wedding song with a view to a greater King to come, which was of course the promised Messiah. This is how I make sense of the first verse of this Psalm, which reads,

 

 

“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”.

 

In this study we will see that when we come to Christ we are united to him like a husband is to his wife. Therefore when we get married or attend the wedding of a Christian we should be reminded of our special union with Christ and that special union should remind us as husbands of our special union with our wives and how we should love our wives, which Paul expresses in the words of Ephesians 5: 25,

 

“just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy”.

 

My second introductory comment is that this Royal wedding song is focussed on the bridegroom and not the bride. At the weddings I have attended the focus seems to be on the bride not the bridegroom. We usually hear the famous Richard Wagner wedding theme played which has become known as, “Here Comes the Bride”. Once that music starts everyone stands up and looks to the back of the church where the bride and her bridal party enters dressed in glorious spender.

 

However this Royal wedding song could also be called, “Here comes the bridegroom” because it’s focus is on the glories of the bridegroom. Even when the bride is spoken to in the second half of the Psalm she is advised on how she should now relate to her bridegroom the great king who she is about to marry.

 

We will also learn in this study the glorious nature of our great bridegroom, The Lord Jesus Christ and how he wants us to relate to him as his bride the church. We know that this Psalm relates to Jesus as the great promised bridegroom because the writer to the Hebrews quotes from it referring the Christ and his supremacy over all things in Hebrews 1: 8 – 9.

 

I have broken this Psalm into four parts:

 

  1. INTRODUCTION (vs. 1)

 

  1. HERE COMES THE BRIDEGRROM (vs’s 2 – 9)

 

  1. HERE COMES THE BRIDE (vs’s 10 – 16)

 

  1. CONCLUSION (vs. 17)

 

  1. INTRODUCTION (vs. 1)

 

I would like to now comment on this Psalms heading as well and its opening verse.

 

The heading reads:

 

“For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies,” Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song”

 

This heading tells us four things:

 

  1. It was written to a well-known tune of the day called “Lillies”, not known anymore.

 

2.   It is a “maskil” or enlightenment and generally means this Psalm teaches us

special things about God and life.

 

3. It was written by “the sons of Korah” who were Temple singers and musicians

who we know operated during the reins of King David and King Solomon.

  1. It was written as a wedding song, probably for King Solomon when he married his first wife, the daughter of Pharaoh as recorded in 1 Kings 3: 1.

 

So this heading sets up the general context of this Psalm but then the writer opens his song with a private comment that seems totally out of place. Verse 1 reads,

 

“My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the King; my tongue is the pen of a skilful writer”.

 

As I said in my introduction to this Psalm I believe these words indicate that after this Son of Korah wrote his Royal Wedding song for Solomon he got a special inspired insight of the promise of a greater king to come known to the Jews as the Messiah. The verse seems to suggest this inspiration came to him as he recited or maybe sang his original composition to the King. Maybe led by God’s Holy Spirit the writer changed his original work to speak of the promise of the Messiah. This would explain the words,

 

“My tongue is the pen of a skilful writer”

 

So we will now look at the rest of this Psalm in two ways:

 

  1. What it is saying to King Solomon and his bride on their wedding day

 

  1. What it is saying about the coming Messiah King, we know as Jesus Christ.

 

2.   HERE COMES THE BRIDEGRROM (vs’s 2 – 9)

 

This section could easily be speaking of Solomon on his wedding day except for verse 6, which reads,

 

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom”

 

The writer has jumped from the earthly throne of King Solomon to the eternal heavenly throne of God himself. This means that all the words of this section not only speak of King Solomon but of God’s special King to come from heaven.

 

I think we can learn eight things about this Messiah King from these verses. I believe the writer is giving us a description of the coming bridegroom.

 

The eight things are:

 

  1. HE SPEAKS WORDS OF GRACE (verse 2)
  2. HE IS MIGHTY (verse 3)
  3. HE ACHIEVES AWESOME DEEDS (verse 4)
  4. HE OVERCOMES HIS ENENEMIES (verse 5)
  5. HE REIGNS ETERNALLY (verse 6)
  6. HE LOVES RIGHTEOUSNESS (verse 7)
  7. HE IS GLORIOUS (verse 8)
  8. HE HAS A BRIDE STANDING BY HIS SIDE (verse 9)

 

  1. HE SPEAKS WORDS OF GRACE (vs. 2)

 

The first part of verse 2 could easily fit Solomon at the start of his reign,

 

“You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace”

 

In 1 Kings 3: 5 – 15, Solomon meets God in a dream and God offers to give him anything he wants and Solomon asks for wisdom to rule, verse 9,

 

“Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong”.

 

In verse 12 and 14 God replies to Solomon’s request with these words,

 

“I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that their will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

 

So God anointed Solomon’s lips with grace in the form of great wisdom. However Solomon does not stay faithful to God throughout his reign and came under continual pressure to compromise his faith in God by his many foreign wives. As 1 kings 11: 4 records,

 

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been”.

 

So the words of verse 2 of this Psalm do not relate to Solomon but a greater bridegroom to come,

 

“You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever”.

 

In Luke 4 : 22 we read what people thought of the words that came from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ,

 

“All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked”.

 

Jesus spoke great words of wisdom, greater than Solomon in his day, words that Peter is recorded in John 6: 68 as

 

the words of eternal life”.

 

Only Jesus is blessed and lives forever but through him he gives to those who believe in him the gift of eternal life.

 

As Jesus words promise us in John 11: 25- 26,

 

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die”.

 

 

 

  1. HE IS MIGHTY (vs. 3)

 

Verse 3 could also be applied to King Solomon on the day of his wedding to his Egyptian bride.

 

“Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendour and majesty”

 

As the king of God’s people on earth Solomon had a very high calling, as he was their chief protector and guide of God’s people. He like his father David had to lead his people into battle against their enemies. Enemies who as we saw from Psalm 2:2 ganged up on Israel and it’s God anointed king,

 

“The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his anointed One”.

 

Like David, Solomon faced opposition and rebellion from within his own nation. We see this particularly in the person of Jeroboam who after Solomon’s death led the split of the Northern Kingdom.

 

Therefore the words of verse 3 describe better the attributes of the greater bridegroom to come, The Lord Jesus Christ.

 

He alone is the mighty one who is clothed in splendour. Some commentators say that this verse cannot relate to Jesus as he did not come girding a sword and in fact opposed the use of violence and the sword in his service as quoted in Matthew 26: 52,

 

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword”.

 

However Jesus in his second coming will come as a mighty glorious judge as Jesus taught in Matthew 24: 30 – 31,

 

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earthwill mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other”.

Jesus spoke words of grace when offering us the gift of eternal life made possible by his act of grace in dying for our sins on the cross but as Jesus taught in John 3: 18,

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”.

  1. HE ACHIEVES AWESOME DEEDS (vs. 4)

 

Again the words of verse 4 could well apply to Solomon on the day of his wedding to his first wife, as they would have been a challenge to him in how he should reign over his people.

 

“In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds”.

 

At the start of his reign Solomon did seek to govern his people with truth, humility and justice as his request for wisdom to rule would suggest. While he looked to God he certainly achieved some awesome deeds but as his reign went on he looked away from God and in the end the pagan influence of his many foreign wives led him to do evil and corrupted deeds as 1 Kings 11: 9 – 13 records,

 

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

So again this verse is best for filled in the great bridegroom to come, The Lord Jesus Christ who certainly achieved awesome deeds and was victorious in the cause of truth, humility and justice right to the end of his earthly life. It is in his death that the love and justice of God is seen in Jesus supremely as the writer to the Hebrews puts it, Hebrews 12: 2,

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

The right hand spoken of here is the hand of power as most warriors wielded their swords with their right hand. Interestingly you can see from the Hebrews verse that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God again signifying power and authority. However this power and authority came through the way of suffering on the cross of Golgotha. This again for fills the words of the Psalm about this coming Messiah when it speaks of victory through,

“truth, humility and justice”

  1. HE OVERCOMES HIS ENENEMIES (vs. 5)

 

The words of verse 5 would also sit well in the original “Royal Wedding Song” as it speaks of victory for the king over his many enemies.

“Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet”.

Most wedding speeches would wish the bride and groom a long and successful life together. Success and long life for any ancient King would be continual victories over his enemies. As we saw from Psalm 2 Israel’s kings had many enemies and eventually both Northern and Southern Kingdoms fell to foreign enemies. This means these words could only be for filled in the greater bridegroom to come.

 

Jesus came the first time to make a way back to God as John 14: 6 says,

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

This first coming will be followed by a second coming when Jesus will return and judge the world and establish his kingdom with his bride the church forever. This is spoken about in the Book of Revelation and I love the great and glorious picture language of Jesus coming and meeting his bride the Church in Revelation 21: 9 -11,

“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. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal”.

I love the concept of the second coming of Christ in the famous words of Paul in Philippians 2: 9 – 11

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

 

This is the ultimate victory of God over all his enemies.

 

 

  1. HE REIGNS ETERNALLY (vs. 6)

 

This brings us to the verse that cannot be referring to any earthly king like Solomon as it speaks directly of God and his throne in heaven,

 

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom”.

 

Why this Son of Korah jumps from a wedding song for his king to a song about the great Bridegroom King to come called the Messiah is unknown. So far most of what he has been saying or singing about could relate to a King like Solomon in the early part of his reign but maybe even this caused him to think that even Solomon could not for fill this lofty description of the bridegroom and only the great king of heaven, God himself could match this exalted description.

 

For what ever reason this Son of Korah now jumps into heaven to describe the God who rules there.

 

He tells us two great things about God:

 

  1. God is eternal
  2. God rules with justice

 

  1. God is eternal

 

Unlike the kings of this world who live and reign for a finite time God lives and rules forever. The eternal nature of God is what makes God, God and this characteristic sets God apart from all things. Logically you can only believe in one of two things which is matter is eternal or God is eternal. No matter what modern atheistic scientists teach us order and complexity cannot come out of nothing. The atheist has no choice he must have faith in eternal matter and random chance changes producing the order and wonder of creation that came about over millions and millions of years.

 

However Christians have their faith in the God of the bible who is eternal and through him as he spoke order and creation came into being. Only God can create something out of nothing, which became the order and wonder of creation such is his power and majesty.

 

Not only did God create this world but also he rules over it forever and a day. God is not like a time clock God some people believe in. That is God created the world and then withdrew to let it tick away forever. No! The God of the bible is the God who sits on his throne in heaven and rules over all things in heaven and earth. As Pauls says in Ephesians 4: 6,

 

“One God and father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”

 

The wonderful good news of the Gospel of Christ is that even though we deserve death because of our many sins God, through Christ’s death for our sins gives us eternal life as a gift. As Paul puts it in Romans 6: 23,

 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inChrist Jesus our Lord”.

  1. God rules with justice

I have already indicated that this eternal God of the bible rules directly from the throne of heaven but how does he rule?

The answer is found in the second half of verse 6,

“a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom”.

 

The sceptre Gordon Churchyard says,

 

“is the special stick (often made from gold) that a king holds as he rules his people”

 

He goes on to say,

 

“A righteous (or just) sceptre means that the king is good”.

 

In a sermon I heard recently the minister said that God knows nothing of injustice and impurity because he is totally holy and totally good.

 

Out of God’s Holiness flows God’s goodness and justice. This is both a good thing and bad thing for humanity. Good because we can rely on God to always do the right thing but bad because we are all sinful and must pay for our sins with death.

 

This was the dilemma that faced God once mankind went down the path of sinfulness. God’s answer is of course the cross for in the cross the love of God and the justice of God come perfectly together.

 

Justice demands from God that sin must be paid for and love led God to send his only son to this world to pay the penalty of our sins on the cross.

 

The God of the bible therefore is a great God of Love and Justice and we can all experience his love and goodness through faith in his Son and what he has done for us on the cross. As Paul puts it in Romans 5: 1 – 2,

 

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And weboast in the hope of the glory of God”.

 

The bridegroom of Heaven is Jesus Christ our Lord and we will see in the second half of Psalm 45 how one day he will be united with his bride, the church who are all the true believers in him connected to him by faith in what he has done for them.

 

  1. HE LOVES RIGHTEOUSNESS (vs. 7)

 

Now we come to another difficult verse to interpret. I draw on the expertise of the great Psalm’s commentator H.C,Leupold to help me here. Leupold writes,

 

“This verse continues the same strain and gives a more subjective touch to the thought.”

 

Leoupold is saying that this Son of Korah is still speaking of the heavenly bridegroom. What relevance this would have had to the original king this song was first written for is interesting to contemplate. Maybe like us the qualities and character of the heavenly bridegroom king acts as an inspiration for his actions as God’s king on earth.

 

Lets look at this verse then with this in mind,

 

“You love righteousness and hate wickedness, therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy”.

 

Leopold starts his explanation of this verse with the words,

 

“Not only does this champion uphold the cause of Righteousness and suppress wickedness, he also personally loves the one and hates the other”.

 

This was the point I made in the previous section that God is totally Holy and righteous and has no hint of wickedness in him. We on the other hand are compromised beings and even our righteous acts are infected with sin as the prophet Isaiah aptly writes in Isaiah 64: 6,

 

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away”.

 

What God is like then should be our model and Solomon was one person who late in his reign lost sight of this as we saw in 1 kings 11: 4,

 

 

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been”.

 

Then we come to the difficult words of this verse,

 

therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy”.

 

Is this anointed one here Solomon who would have been ceremonially anointed with oil when he was made king or is the anointed one here the bridegroom of heaven who is to come?

 

I follow the line of H.C Leopold who indicated that verse 7 is a logical extension of verse 6. This then points to the baptism of Jesus as Acts 10: 37 – 38 indicates,

 

 “You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him”.

 

Many commentators speak of how the anointing of people in the Old Testament did not always infer the conferring of inward gifts and power but was used to designate and inaugurate a person to some high dignity or employment. At Jesus baptism Jesus was being identified and commissioned for his ministry and also God was recognizing him as his Son whom he loved and was most pleased with (Mark 1: 11).

 

Jesus was truly the man who was above all his companions or any man as the following passage in Colossians 1: 15 – 20 makes very clear,

 

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross”.

 

Finally this anointing of the Son of God is described in Psalm 45: 7 as,

 

“Anointing you with the oil of joy”

 

This again reminds me of Hebrews 12: 2 and how it speaks of Jesus joy.

 

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

Jesus joy was the winning of our salvation and the ultimate destination of the way of suffering namely resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the throne of God.

 

 

  1. HE IS GLORIOUS (vs. 8)

 

The Psalm then switches back to the original Royal wedding song when it speaks of the earthly bridegroom Kings wedding clothes. Even today most people wear the best of clothes on the day of their wedding and in Old Testament times this was certainly the case. The best of substances and materials was used to make King Solomon’s bridegroom clothes.

 

All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad.”

 

Just four of these special substances are mentioned, myrrh, aloes, cassia and ivory. Myrrh, aloes and cassia come from trees and plants and were used for medical purposes and of course to make things smell beautiful. Ivory from the tusks of animals was a precious and beautiful substance used to adorn buildings in ancient times.

 

Finally music is playing that pleases the king.

 

What would have been the author’s original intent for this verse?

 

I think he his painting a picture of the bridegroom’s coming to the wedding and the picture is of a elaborately sweet smelling figure who is full of joy and is now moving towards his bride who we will see is coming to him with her bridal party. I read up on ancient Hebrew wedding customs and discovered that the bridegroom and the bride met at the bride’s house for the start of the ceremony. This was the second part of a two part wedding process with the first part being the signing of a wedding contract called a “Ketubbah” being signed by the heads of the two families usually the two fathers. However if this was the marriage of Solomon and an Egyptian bride the custom of the second part could not have been followed. Interestingly we read of this marriage in 1 Kings 3: 1, which reads,

 

“Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem”.

 

The verse makes a point of telling us that the second part of this wedding did not take place unto the building of the palace, Temple and wall around Jerusalem. Verse 8 speaks of the bridegroom dressed in his sweet smelling robes coming out of palaces adorned with ivory where music is played. This suggests to me that a special style of wedding ceremony is taking place here in the palace of the king. The next verse and the final section describe further this special wedding that took place.

 

What then is the significance of this verse to the greater bridegroom to come?

 

Isaiah in Isaiah 61: 10 uses the image of a bridegroom and brides wedding clothes as an image of the garments of salvation to come in God,

 

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels”.

 

Jesus is of course the great promised bridegroom to come and he is clothed in righteousness and his special clothing of righteousness is his gift to us through faith in him as Romans 3: 21 – 24,

 

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith inJesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus”.

  1. HE HAS A BRIDE STANDING BY HIS SIDE (vs. 9)

 

The final descriptive verse about the bridegroom also introduces material relating to the bridesmaid as it speaks of the honoured women who surround the bridegroom at his wedding.

 

“Daughters of kings are among your honoured women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir”.

 

Interestingly even when the bridegroom and bride meet together at this special marriage ceremony the bridegroom and not the bride is the centre of attention. This bridegroom is said to be surrounded by honourable women, “daughters of kings” maybe this is Solomon who ended up marrying many foreign wives who where daughters of kings. However here the focus is on his special bride who is significantly on his right hand side dressed in gold from a place called Ophir. Churchyard points out that,

 

“Ophir was a place probably on the east coast of the Red Sea, in what is now Saudi Arabia”.

 

What would have been the significants of these words of the wedding song for Solomon in his day?

 

Simply I believe the writer is describing the marriage of a great king to a special bride and that this took place in the presence of many honourable guests.

 

What then does this have to say about the greater bridegroom to come?

 

The answer to this question introduces us the central application idea of the last section of this Psalm, namely the wedding of the great bridegroom Jesus Christ and his bride the church as spoken of twice in the book of Revelations. I will quote the first of these wedding verses here, namely Revelation 19: 6 – 9,

 

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting,

“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)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”.

This is a picture of the special union of Christ and his church throughout the ages and at this special wedding ceremony to come in heaven will have many honoured guests, which will include all the hosts of Heaven and God sitting on his great throne in heaven. We will explore this great application of this Psalm in the final section.

 

 

  1. HERE COMES THE BRIDE (vs’s 10 – 16)

 

We now come to the part of the Psalm were the focus of the Royal wedding song turns to the bride. Although even here the words to the bride are mainly about how she can best serve her great bridegroom the king.

 

I have broken the words to and about the bride into five parts:

 

  1. THE BRIDES NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BRIDEGROOM (vs. 10)
  2. THE LOVE THE BRIDEGROOM HAS FOR HIS BRIDE (vs. 11)
  3. THE BLESSINGS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 12)
  4. THE GLORIOUS CLOTHES OF THE BRIDE (vs’s 13 – 15)
  5. THE FRUITS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 16)

 

  1. THE BRIDES NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BRIDEGROOM (vs. 10)

 

Paul quotes God’s desire and design of human marriage in Ephesians 5: 31, which is laid down in Genesis 2: 24,

 

 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

 

In Psalm 45: 10 the emphasis is on the bride leaving her father and mother to be united in a new relationship with her bridegroom the king,

 

“Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house”.

 

I will continue my stated practice of the previous section of relating this Psalm to the likely original setting of the Psalm and then to the application of the greater bridegroom to come.

 

This daughter of Pharaoh must forget her allegiances to her former family namely Egypt and its ruler Pharaoh. This is not a unreasonable request because down through the ages the history of Kings and Queens can refer to many similar arranged marriages where princesses or princes of different countries have married and how they have been willing to separate their allegiances from their old country has often determined their success or failure in the new Kingdom.

 

For Solomon this issue actually became the controlling fate of his success of his life and rule as we see again from 1 kings 11: 4,

 

“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been”.

 

These wives of Solomon did not forget their religious allegiances of the countries they came from and through this eventually dragged Solomon into adulterous false worship of other God’s.

This is a lesson in the danger of Christians marrying non-believers. I have seen personally how destructive this has been to many friends of mine who have married non-Christians and as a result compromised their faith in God.

 

So then how does this apply to the greater bridegroom to come in Jesus Christ?

 

Paul had a lot to say about our new relationship with Christ and how it impacts on how we now live our lives. A good example of this is the famous “New Creation” passage in 2 Corinthians 5: 16 – 21,

 

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sinfor us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”.

 

Note how Paul teaches us that when we come to Christ things must change from the way we regard others to what our goals and prime driving forces must be. He goes further here to tell us we are now “Christ’s ambassadors”.

 

When we come to Christ we are like Solomon’s Egyptian bride. Like her we are to put our former lives of sin and self- centeredness behind us and live the way Jesus now wants us to live. I find this a very challenging thought and know that I often slip back to the my former allegiances which the writer of Psalm 45 called,

 

“Your people and your father’s house”

 

  1. THE LOVE THE BRIDEGROOM HAS FOR HIS BRIDE (vs. 11)

 

This verse makes it clear that even though Solomon’s marriage to the Egyptian princess was an arranged marriage he really did love her,

 

“The King is enthralled by your beauty, honour him, for he is your Lord”.

 

Is this verse suggesting the king’s love is only skin deep, that he loves his bride just because of her beauty?

 

We are not told if the King saw in his bride her inner beauty but in the case of Solomon this beautiful young Egyptian first bride eventually becomes simply one of many.

 

The advice to the bride is,

 

“Honour him, for he is your Lord”

 

Coffman fleshes out the full Hebrew meaning with,

 

“Bow down before him”, Worship him”, “adore him”, “He is thy Lord”.

 

This great king demands nothing more than his wife’s complete adoration and devotion of his bride and yet he eventually fails to give that to her as time goes on.

However when we look to the great bridegroom to come the meaning of this verse takes on a very different meaning.

 

Christ loves his bride even though she dose not deserve his love. Interestingly the concept of God being the loyal devoted husband and his people being the bride or wife also appears in the book of Hosea. Here, God’s people Israel are depicted as the unfaithful wife who becomes a prostitute and God is the faithful loving husband who continues to love his wife and go after her. I love the passage in Hosea 2: 18 – 23, where the grace or underserved love of God is offered to Israel,

 

In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle
 I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you inrighteousness and justice, in love and compassion.

I will betroth you infaithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.“In that day I will respond,” declares the Lord—
“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezebel.I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”

 

This marvelous passage is only matched by another passage in the New Testament that is the fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy, Romans 5: 6 – 11,

 

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation”.

Therefore the greater bridegroom to come, namely Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior loves us even though we are not beautiful like that faithless prostitute wife of Hosea but he wants to make us beautiful through his death and resurrection for us.

How then should we respond?

Just as the second half of verse 11 says,

“Honour him, for he is your Lord”

 

As Coffman fleshes out what that means,

 

“Bow down before him”, Worship him”, “adore him”, “He is thy Lord”.

 

 

 

 

  1. THE BLESSINGS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 12)

 

This Son of Korah goes on to spell out in his Royal Wedding song the material blessings this bride of Solomon will receive by being united to him,

 

“The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift, men of wealth will seek your favour”.

 

The bride’s devotion and submission to this great King will reap substantial material rewards just the Nation of Tyre is singled out bringing gifts to the wedding. Tyre is the ancient capital of the rich and successful Phoenician nation and their gift would have been substantial. Added to this is the word about wealthy men seeking her favor. They of course sought the favor of King Solomon but through her intimate connection with him she reaps his material blessings as well.

 

Solomon is famous for his wealth and fame attributed to his great wisdom. The fame and wealth of Solomon is beautifully captured in the story of the visit of the Queen of Sheba and her assessment of Solomon and his wealth is a good summary of how wealthy Solomon became, 1 Kings 10: 4- 7,

 

“When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made atthe temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard”.

 

As much as these material blessings are they cannot match the spiritual blessings we have in the greater bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul spells out something of this great spiritual blessings we have in Christ in Ephesians 1: 3 – 10,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love hepredestined us for adoption to son shipthrough Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, hemade known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ”.

 

I have come across many in my life who seem to indicate they feel they would have to give up so much if they where to become a Christian but I have found I have take up far more than I had to give up when I became a follower of Christ.

 

I cannot promise material blessing if you choose to follow Christ although I know many Christians who have much material blessings but I can promise what Paul calls blessing,

 

“in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”. (Ephesians 1: 3)

  1. THE GLORIOUS CLOTHES OF THE BRIDE (vs’s 13 – 15)

 

One of the things that always stand out in my mind when I think of weddings I have attended is the beauty of the bride and her bridal party. They say that a woman usually looks her best on the day of her wedding. Great expense and trouble goes into the wedding dress, the make up and hair of most brides and her bridesmaids.

 

The bride and her bridesmaids in the Royal wedding song is no different as we see from verses 13 – 15,

 

“All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold.

In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her—those brought to be with her. Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king”.

 

These verses in their original context described a beautiful bride and bridal party of young brides maids. Her clothing is dazzling and very exotic with gold thread and embroidery. The whole scene is one of great joy and rejoicing and this only emphasis the glorious occasion of this special wedding.

 

What has this to do with the greater bridegroom to come?

 

Revelation 19: 6 – 9 speaks of the great wedding to come of Christ – the bridegroom and his bride the church in heaven,

“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:” Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)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.”

In Revelation 7 we read of that all true believers will be dressed in clothes made pure and holy by the blood of the Lamb, the death of Jesus for our sins on the cross, Revelation 7: 13 – 14,

Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”.

So the bridegrooms bride is dressed in glorious clothes made from the righteous acts of his people made pure and holy by his death on the cross for their sins.

The great joy and benefits of this union is spoken of in the verses that follow this,

Therefore, “they are before the throne of God
 and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne
 will shelter them with his presence. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.’‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’” (Revelation 7: 15 – 17)

  1. THE FRUITS OF BEING THE BRIDE (vs. 16)

 

The writers final word to the bride speak of the great fruits or benefits that will come out of her union to the king, her bridegroom.

 

“Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land”.

 

Marriage has always been the foundation of a family in the bible as we see in a verse like Malachi 2: 15,

 

“Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he is seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth”.

 

The fruit of this brides union with her bridegroom is princely offspring, the next generation of the kingly rule of Israel. Of course we know that after Solomon died the country split and this is attributed to his falling away from devotion to the Lord influenced by his many pagan wives, 1 Kings 11: 9 – 13 records,

 

The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

However in this Royal wedding song Solomon’s Egyptian wife is again instructed to leave behind her former Egyptian allegiances and see her new family as the replacement for them. Her great role is described then as producing royal offspring in her new homeland of Israel. J. Ligon Duncan pulls verse 16 and 17 that speaks of the perpetual nature of this union with theses words,

“You’re going to have descendants, heirs after you, generation upon generation. Your marriage is going to be fruitful, and sons are going to sit on the throne”.

How can we relate this to the great bridegroom to come?

God has called us through our relationship with the great bridegroom Jesus Christ to be his great offspring and Kingdom as Revelation 1: 6 says,

“And has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father”.

Our union with Christ will bear much fruit as Jesus predicted in John 15: 5,

“I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”.

I see this fruit in two ways:

  1. The fruit of the spirit
  2. The fruit of helping to make new Disciples of Christ.

 

  1. The fruit of the Spirit

Paul speaks of the good things our relationship in Christ will produce as fruits of the Spirit as he sets down in Galatians 5: 22 – 26,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other”.

So the results of coming to Christ should and must be seen in clear and practical qualities that only God’s Spirit can produce.

  1. The fruit of helping to make new Disciples of Christ.

The second kind of fruit that union with Christ producers is helping to for fill the great commission, Matthew 28: 18 – 20,

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Through our active prayerful witness and ministries we can be used by God to win others for Christ. We then are used by the great bridegroom to help produce prince and princesses for him. Paul teaches us in 2 Timothy 2: 11 – 13, that if we are in Christ we will reign with Christ,

“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself”.

It will be a great joy one day to meet others in heaven that we have helped in this life in one way or another to come to Christ opening up the way for them to enter glory as well.

One day many years ago I went to training session to be a counselor at the last Billy Graham crusade held in Sydney. At that meeting two young men, then in there early twenties came up to me and told me I had helped them come to Christ through a camp they had attended many years before. These two young men were primary school aged children who were in my little group at that camp and honestly all I could remember of them was that they gave me a very difficult time but praise God he used me to help these two young boys come to Christ.

 

 

4. CONCLUSION (vs. 17)

 

This last verse could not be referring to the young Egyptian bride that the previous verses have been doing as it would not be her perpetual memory this verse is speaking about. It would not be also the perpetual memory of the bridegroom Solomon as he ended up a flawed and failed king. It must then be a conclusion of the inspired concept of this Royal Wedding Song namely the perpetual memory of the great bridegroom to come.

The verse reads,

“I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever”.

I like the way John Calvin comments on this verse and his insightful words follow,

“The furious efforts of Satan and the whole world have not been able to extinguish the name of Christ, which, being transmitted from one generation to another, still retains its glory in every age, even as at this day we see it celebrated in every language”.

Calvin wrote these words somewhere in the middle of the 1500’s and they still are true today over 500 years later. He goes on to give us excellent application of this verse with these words,

“And although the greater part of the world tear it to pieces by their impious blasphemies, yet it is enough that God stirs up his servant every where to proclaim with fidelity and with unfeigned zeal the praises of Christ”.

I close with that wonderful doxology in Jude 1: 24 – 25 and my poem called, “The Heavenly Wedding Song”,

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen”.

THE HEAVENLY WEDDING SONG

 

 

I see the groom and the bride

And my heart is stirred

To think of Christ the Lord above

And his loving word

That tells me that he waits for me

To join with him above

Like a bride joins with her groom

In a wonderful union of love.

 

 

 

 

Chorus:

 

Your throne Oh God is eternal

The place of justice and love

And there your Son waits for us

The Savoir up above.

 

As the groom waits for his bride

I think of Christ above

Who came from his father’s house

To reveal to us his love

He spoke with words of grace and truth

He cured the sick and lame

Like the groom who loves his bride

Forever praise his holy name.

 

 

The groom is dressed in splendored clothes

But Christ is dressed in light

For he is pure and knows no sin

Only his death could make us right

He rose from death to God above

And waits for his coming bride

The church is the bride of Christ

For which he surely died.

 

 

The groom would give his life for her

So great is his love for his bride

Jesus gave his life for us

On a cross he cruelly died

He is greater than anyone else

No one can match his love

For God anointed him to be

Our Savoir from above.

 

 

The bride now comes down the aisle

Her beauty is great to see

She makes me think of the day

When we’ll rise to God so free

Dressed in the righteousness of Christ

We will be united with our groom

Forever will we be with him

In his celestial room.

 

 

So now I long to serve my Lord

By helping others to learn

That God sent Jesus to this world

So that we might be re–born

Saved by faith in what Christ did

When he died to make us a way

To join the heavenly wedding feast

As the bride of the groom one day.

 

Chorus:

 

Your throne Oh God is eternal

The place of justice and love

And there your Son waits for us

The Savoir up above.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

 

PRAYER:

 

Father in heaven I want to thank you for sending your son into this world to rescue me from the penalty of my sins. I thank you that you have called me into your wonderful world wide church, your family which will one day be united with your Son in heaven like a bride is united with her husband in marriage. I look forward to the great wedding feast in heaven but unto then help me to help others in this world come to know your great love so that they to might be able to join in your eternal celebrations in heaven. In The Name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savoir. Amen