Psalm 45

Here Comes the Bridegroom

Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. Psalm 45:6-7

What is the “noble theme” that “stirred the heart” of the poet in Psalm 45:1? Many scholars believe this psalmist was inspired by Solomon’s marriage to an Egyptian princess. The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that this psalm is also messianic. Hebrews 1:8-9 connects Psalm 45:6-7 to Jesus’ future reign: “To the Son, [God the Father] says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever’.”

Like Psalm 2, Psalm 45 paints a portrait of the Messiah that would have resonated with Jews who expected a conquering king—arrayed in splendor and victorious in battle (vv. 3-4). But it isn’t a picture most first-century Jews associated with Jesus.

Jesus, however, identified Himself as a king many times. For example, in Matthew 25:31, a few days before His crucifixion, He told His disciples: “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory.” And at His trial, He told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

The psalmist praises the noble character of the king—a description that fits Jesus perfectly. Who else can truly be called “the most excellent of men” (v. 2)? Who else spoke with “lips … anointed with grace” (v. 2)? And although Jesus didn’t wear a sword or clothe Himself in robes of splendor (v. 3), He certainly walked in “truth, humility, and righteousness” (v. 4). In miracle after miracle, including His resurrection, His right hand displayed “awesome deeds” (v. 4). All these characteristics, some veiled and others showcased on earth, will also characterize His future kingdom.

In verses 10-12, the psalmist speaks directly to the king’s bride, advising her to leave her family willingly and to meet her bridegroom joyfully. The king is enthralled with her, and she should delight in his love.

When we apply these verses to Jesus and His future bride, the Church, the message to us is clear: Our bridegroom is coming. Does that “noble theme” stir our hearts? When He arrives, will we greet Him with joy?

 DIG DEEPER:

Compare the description of the Messiah King in Psalm 45 with the account of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem in Matthew 21:1-11. What similarities and differences do you see?

Read Matthew 22:1-14. Why is this royal wedding celebration so different than the one described in Psalm 45? What point was Jesus trying to make in this parable, which He told a few days before His crucifixion?

Read Matthew 25:1-13, another parable about a wedding. Compare Jesus’ caution in verse 13 with John’s declaration in Revelation 19:7-8. Are you ready for Jesus’ return?

After Henry Barraclough heard a sermon on Psalm 45, he wrote “Out of the Ivory Palaces.” To see the parallels he draws between Jesus’ first and second coming in this beloved hymn, go to http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/v/ivorypal.htm

 Denise K. Loock

Note: This devotion is part of a series: Psalms of the Messiah

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