Psalm 45 was fascinating for me to study this week. In the first few read-throughs however, Matthew and I were stumped, looking at each other and saying, “what are we supposed to get out of this?” But then I stopped myself.
My tendency when I approach Scripture is so often what can I get out of this? How can I apply this? How does this relate to me? While those are questions that sometimes (and often should) come out of our study of the Word, those should never be our initial questions. The Bible was not first and foremost written as a guidebook for our lives or an encouraging balm for our souls. No, the Bible is God’s divine and gracious revelation of His character and works to His people. And yes, that guides our lives and encourages our souls, but that is not its primary concern. The main questions when we approach Scripture must always be where do I see God here? What can I learn about His character? How do I see Christ? It is from there that truth is applied and our souls find life and hope.
So. In Psalm 45 we read a hymn written for a royal wedding. It is addressed to the king (most likely Solomon) who is soon to be married. The marriage of a king in this time was a BIG DEAL. It was such a big deal because of a covenant that the Lord made with David back in 2 Samuel 7, when the Lord promised, “your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” It was a big deal when the king got married because in a way it was the Lord fulfilling His promise to carry on the line. This is VITAL because this is the line that eventually would lead to Jesus.
We see glimpses of the character of God in the description of this king who fits God’s expectations of what a king should be. The psalmist praises the king for his graciousness, his might, and his justice. In a time where the previous kings had been corrupt and evil, we see the Lord’s immense grace to provide His people with a good king.
While the psalm was written specifically for the marriage feast of Solomon and Pharaoh’s daughter, the imagery clearly points forward to the coming Messiah. This psalm that describes the marriage of a king to his bride points to the future union of Christ in marriage to His bride, to the church, to us. Revelation 19, a text that continues the marriage imagery that is begun in Psalm 45, describes the marriage supper of the lamb. The bride is clothed in fine linen and Christ, riding on a white horse, is “called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war” (verse 11). In Psalm 45 the king is said to “ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness” (verse 4). How cool is it that these qualities that God upheld as the standard for a good king are the same qualities that Jesus fulfills on the coming day?
And for us, as the bride of Christ, our role is to make ourselves ready for the coming of the King. To clothe ourselves in fine linen, bright and pure, the “fine linen being the righteous acts of the saints.” The coming of Christ is our future hope and our motivation to obedience and righteousness.
So. While at first glance I might not have been able to “get anything applicable out of this text,” upon further study I was reminded of some of the most beautiful truths about the Lord. God’s gracious provision to give a good king to His people. God’s character of faithfulness to always uphold His promises. God’s grace through the marriage of King Solomon to continue the line that would lead to Jesus. God upholding the qualities “faithful and true” as descriptors of who He is. The future hope and expectation of our marriage supper with our King.
God is faithful and good and true. This is an applicable truth that changes the way we live and think.