Journey with Daniel
“Psalm 45”Categories: Seeing God Through the Psalms
Today’s Psalm is a song of love, a royal song dedicated to the king and his bride. When you read v. 11-15 it’s as if we’re reading the description of a wedding. Verses 1-9 are addressed to the king, verses 10-17 are addressed to the queen.
Who is the king addressed in this psalm? The king had praises coming out of ivory palaces (v. 8) – king Ahab built a house of ivory (1 Kings 22:39). The queen is a foreigner (v. 10) – king Ahab married Jezebel, the daughter of the king of the Sidonians (1 Kings 16:31). Solomon also married pharaoh’s daughter, and perhaps other foreigners (1 Kings 11:1). Historically it’s not clear who this song could be sung/written about.
However v. 6 helps identify who this King truly represents. This verse is quoted in Hebrews 1:8-9. The writer of Hebrews is illustrating how Jesus is greater than the angels, even those who brought forth the words of God. Without a doubt the king in this psalm is pointing to Jesus. The King:
- Rides on victoriously for the cause of truth, righteousness and meekness (v. 4) – meekness seems to be a strange characteristic for a king’s pursuit, and yet Jesus is described as meek and lowly (Matt. 11:29). He came to earth as a human, as a child (Phil. 2:5-10), and offered Himself as a servant of others (Matt. 20:28).
- His throne is forever and ever (v. 6) – prophesied of David’s descendant (2 Sam. 7:13, 16 – see Rev. 11:15).
- He was anointed, with garments of sweet fragrance (v. 7-8) – Those anointed were the kings of God (1 Sam. 16:13). The word for “anointed one” in Hebrew is “Messiah”, translated in Greek it is “Christ.” The special fragrance he is wearing is seen elsewhere. The High Priest was anointed with this very oil (Exodus 30:22-31). Jesus our King is also our High Priest. We also see this same fragrance used for Jesus after His death (John 19:39).
If Jesus is the King, then we – His people – are the bride (Rev. 21:2; Eph. 5:32). Notice how the bride is described:
- Forget your people, your father’s house (v. 10) – it is a call to forsake where she came from, certainly pointing to an aspect of marriage, of leaving and cleaving (Gen. 2:24). There’s also a connection to Deut. 21:10-13 – Christ has left His ivory palace and come to a destitute land and saw us, not as beautiful princess, but as slaves to sin (John 8:24, Rom. 6:17). Yet He pursues us in marriage, to bring us back to His place of royalty. This certainly points to a practical application – to pursue Christ one must leave the world behind (Luke 9:61-62, 2 Cor. 6:17, Eph. 4:17).
- The Queen is glorious (v. 13) – this is what we find described in Eph. 5:25-27. Christ is the One who cleanses us, washes away our sin, to present the bride in all her glory. We become more and more like our King, and leave the world we came from behind.
We sing the song in our hymn book, “Out of the ivory palaces….” That’s our King. That’s our Jesus. He left Heaven for us. He gave His life for us. He pursues us to be His bride, until the day He welcomes us home. What a glorious day that will be!
King of Kings, what an amazing thought that You left the comforts and brilliance of Heaven to come to Earth for me. You took on flesh, suffered and endured great pain, even willingly faced the cross, for me. You are the King, and we – Your church – are Your bride. Help us each day to become more and more like You, less and less like the world. We long for the day to be united with You in glory.