Easter Sermon Series: Finding Jesus in the Psalms
“Psalm 45: Praise to King Jesus!”
March 4, 2018 by Pastor Jerry Ingalls
We continue in our Easter series of messages called, “Finding Jesus in the Psalms.” Thankfully finding Jesus in the Psalms is not as difficult as finding Nemo, although it may require a little diving below the surface of our own. As we learned last week, “diving below the surface” means that on the surface every one of the Psalms is written with an immediate historical situation in mind. The Psalms are real words of faith in life’s highs and lows, written in Hebrew by either King David or another. As we read these Psalms 3,000 years later, in many cases we can read them at two levels: The historical context on the surface in which the human author wrote and the biblical context in which God weaves His Story from Genesis to Revelation. I believe in the inspiration of Scripture; therefore, it is my heart’s desire to find how the unchanging God has weaved Himself, His thoughts, His plans and His purposes through each of the authors of the Bible.
Like last week’s Psalm 2, Psalm 45 is royal psalm, but instead of a coronation service, Psalm 45 is set at the time of a wedding. Regardless of whether or not this psalm was written for King Solomon and his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter (1 Kings 3:1) or one of his other royal brides (1 Kings 11:1-3) there is a larger context and deeper significance to Psalm 45 than the actual wedding between an earthly king and queen-to-be. Are you ready to dive under the surface and find Jesus in Psalm 45?
After a short, but poetic introduction by the writer in verse 1, verses 2-9 point to the grandeur and majesty of the king; a king worthy of eternal praise. Is this simply a poem about Solomon or is Someone greater than Solomon being exposed by this inspired pen?
2 You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
3 Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
4 And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
5 Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.
6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
8 All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
9 Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.
We see that there is Someone greater than Solomon being described in these verses. From both a simple reading and an extensive study of the text, it takes more work to limit its interpretation as exclusively a wedding poem for Solomon, than to see it also point to the future Messiah. Let’s be honest, there is a level of flattery that is acceptable on wedding days (even in today’s culture), but verses 6-7 would be well beyond the acceptable limits of flattery for a Hebrew wedding. This level of flattery may have been found in other Ancient Near Eastern weddings where the kings actually took the status of deity onto themselves, but that was not an acceptable practice for the people of Yahweh. At most the kings of Israel represented God as administrators of God’s people, but never as a god. So, if this is not flattery and blasphemy is not an option, then what is going on in these verses?
King Solomon knew that one day he would die, just like his father, but his hope was that through this wedding a son would come to fulfill the promise of God given to his father David. The promise that through the line of David the King of kings and Lord of lords would come as Israel’s Messiah. Listen to 2 Samuel 7:12-16—the promise anticipated in Psalm 45 and fulfilled in Jesus 1,000 years later: “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”
The actual king written of this Psalm was a type, a foreshadow, of what was to come in Jesus the Christ. Jesus is the only One who could possible match all the descriptions of Psalm 45 for He is the only King worthy of our praise! King Jesus is the only One by which these words are fact and not wedding day flattery! The Messiah, the Anointed One of Israel, Jesus the Christ is the King worthy of all our praise because He far exceeds any human king in every aspect: His stature is majestic (v. 2); His power is incomprehensible (vv. 3-5); and His authority reaches to the highest heavens and to the lowest places of Hell (vv. 6-9)!
In Hebrews 1:8-9, the New Testament author uses Psalm 45:6-7 to explicitly talk about the reign of King Jesus. Listen to the New Testament context in which this Psalm is quoted, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:1-3a).
As we reflect upon this King who is described in such magnificent terms, let us now turn to who His bride is in the verses 10-15. What is the reasonable response of the King’s bride-to-be, the queen who is described in verse 9 as being wrapped in precious gold and standing at the King’s right hand?
10 Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear:
Forget your people and your father’s house;
11 Then the King will desire your beauty.
Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him.
12 The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift;
The rich among the people will seek your favor.
13 The King’s daughter is all glorious within;
Her clothing is interwoven with gold.
14 She will be led to the King in embroidered work;
The virgins, her companions who follow her,
Will be brought to You.
15 They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing;
They will enter into the King’s palace.
In the historical context, the bride is certainly foreign to Israel, such as Pharaoh’s daughter, an Egyptian princess. Her marriage to the king calls her to three things that encompass her whole life: 1) to break ties with her past (v. 10); 2) to honor (obey) her king today (v. 11); and 3) to anticipate the future (vv. 11-15). The bride must cut off the loyalties to her former nation and submit to the king to experience the fullness of the blessings that have been set before her. When the bride is taken by the king, she is required to do homage to the king (v. 11; cf. Psalm 2:12) which represents a change of loyalty away from her father’s kingdom, to her new king’s household and kingdom. Her marriage to the king demands of her to count the cost of these three commitments, but the benefits and rewards far outweigh any sacrifices required.
This is the call of discipleship put before each and every follower of Jesus Christ, for what this psalm foreshadows is not just the King who is worthy of our praise, but the Church who is called out of the world and into fellowship with God as His radiant bride!
Listen to the Apostle Paul in the classic biblical text on Christian marriage, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:25-32).
It was with this Psalm in his mind that John the Beloved wrote in Revelation 19:7-9, “‘Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.’ It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God.’ ’ ”
Psalm 45:16-17 ends with a great promise: there would be children to the King! The King’s children have the right of inheritance and succession of authority, from the King and through his bride.
16 In place of your fathers will be your sons;
You shall make them princes in all the earth.
17 I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations;
Therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever.
Listen to who you are according to the Apostle Peter, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9; cf. Revelation 1:6; 5:10). To this end and purpose, we are His Church and so are the spiritual children who come through His Church—the bride of King Jesus who is worthy of all praise. What should our reasonable response be to this great revelation of finding Jesus in Psalm 45 and seeing the great wedding set before us and Christ?
- We must break ties with our pasts! We have been redeemed—bought back from Satan’s grip—into a new Kingdom. Jesus invites us to leave all that behind and follow Him. Will you count the cost?
- We must honor our King with our present! By putting our faith in King Jesus and trusting Him with our very lives today. The loyalty our King requires of us is total and complete; tried and true! Will you try Him?
- We must anticipate our new future! It is enough to marvel at the mystery of those who will enter the King’s palace. Jesus has promised. Will you trust Him with your tomorrows?