Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
Psalm 45 brings an interesting change of pace to the psalms. It’s not another poem about enemies or depression or God’s failure to help. It’s a joyful wedding song!
The king is the groom, and the psalm uses God-language to describe him. Listen as the psalm celebrates the king:
Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one;
Clothe yourself with splendour and majesty (v. 3).
Let your sharp arrows piece the hearts of the king’s enemies;
let the nations fall beneath your feet.
Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever;
a sceptre of justice is the scepter of your kingdom.
Because you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy (vv. 5-7).
Did you hear that? “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” Is this king, clothed with splendor and majesty, ruling over the nations, a divine king? Is he a God-man? Some translators avoid this implication by rendering it, “Your throne of God” or “from God” (Alter, Robert. The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2007), emphasizing the king’s role as a representative of God. The New International Version I use has a footnote to explain that the poet doesn’t really mean it the way it comes out sounding. The author of Hebrews quotes this passage as a reference to Jesus, the Son of God (Heb 1:8-9).
I can only say that, compared with the Psalms, we are far too reserved and far too technically correct in the praise we give. The Israelites had a great advantage, viewing the king as God’s representative and God’s gift to the nation. A majestic and powerful and wise king gave hope and the promise of security and a vision of God’s love and justice to the people.
About the bride, the poet sings:
All glorious is the princess within her chamber;
her gown is interwoven with gold.
In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
he virgin companions follow her. . .
Led in with joy and gladness,
they enter the palace of the king.
Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
you will make them princes throughout the land (vv. 13-16).
This reminds me of the wedding ceremony for Princess Diana and Charles, Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne. It was a storybook wedding with a handsome prince and a beautiful princess. The United Kingdom declared a bank holiday, and 750 million people watched the wedding vows on television. More recently, the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle also had a large television audience. Our modern world still loves a well-staged royal wedding that lifts us from our lives of drudgery and pain to a vision of romance and beauty.
Lord, help us not sink into cynicism and despair about the politics and marriages of our time. At its best, a strong king and a royal wedding remind us of our ideals. They remind us that you govern the world through your representatives, and they remind us of the hope and beauty in a union between man and woman.
And we understand, as the poet did, that disaster is not far when kings and rulers become arrogant and corrupt, and when marriages, even among royalty, sink into dysfunction and infidelity.
Protect our governments, Lord, protect our marriages. And bring us at last to the marriage supper of the Lamb, to that grand and joyful ceremony where you will establish good government and faithful relationships forever.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.