Psalm 45 and Hebrews 1.8-9
2020 hasn’t turned out to be the best year for a wedding. Casually reading the Evening Standard Lifestyle pages I discovered that by mid-April 64,000 weddings in the UK had been cancelled or postponed in the previous three months. The wedding app ‘Bridebook’ reckons losses to the wedding industry this year will be £87.5 billion. It seems the average cost of a wedding in the UK is around £20,000. Imagine the cost of a really big royal wedding which is what we have celebrated in Psalm 45. In the bible marriage has been a God ordained relationship from the beginning with Adam and Eve to the last chapter when the Spirit and Christ’s Bride (the church) say, ‘Come and let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.’ Revelation 22.17
Giving a speech at a wedding is nerve wracking enough, here the poet is called to write the wedding song praising both the bridegroom (the King) and the bride a foreign princess. Imagine getting it wrong. It is thought the wedding was probably between Solomon and a princess. It could be the wedding in 1 Kings 3 where early in his reign Solomon married a daughter of Pharaoh. God had warned Israel not to intermarry with other nations as they will turn your hearts after other gods. However, I Kings 3 is a chapter where Solomon also asks God for wisdom and so this marriage more resembles Ruth who was prepared to forget her people v 10 and be loyal to her new people and God.
The Psalmist in his praise of the King connects him with the coming Messiah as is quoted in Hebrews as part of the description of Jesus in his glorified, post ascension, heavenly reign. Hebrews 1.8-9 The praise to the King is fully fulfilled by Jesus in a way which is unattainable by a normal human King. The hugely enthusiastic poet v1 firstly praises the appearance of the King. vv 1,2 But, this is the post Davidic age where Samuel has pronounced God does not look at the outward appearance but the heart. 1 Samuel 16.7 So he goes on to praise the King for his character and justness of his actions. ‘In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth, and meekness and righteousness.’ v4 All facets perfected in Christ. He then moves rapidly on to credit him with an eternal reign, loving righteousness and hating evil before pronouncing him anointed by God. vv 6,7 This exaggerated type of praise may have been used in surrounding nations for their Kings but Israelites would have seen it as putting oneself on the same level as the one and only eternal God if meant literally. In Solomon’s time it would have been meant metaphorically because the King represents God’s rule on earth. Hebrews applies the same verses to describe Jesus as the Son, who glorified reigns forever.
The second part of the psalm turns to the bride and her relationship with the bridegroom. She arrives gloriously adorned, filled with joy and gladness, leaving behind her previous life. v15 A description picked up on in the New Testament to describe the church’s relationship with Christ. ‘Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.’ Revelation 19.7-8
A wedding is a great time of celebration. Do we take the time to celebrate the Kingship of Christ and the honour of our relationship with him?
Praise my soul the King of Heaven