I invite you to think for a while only on those things that can actually help us lay aside some of our hindering weights and focus on what is really important.
Psalm 45:13 says, "The king's daughter is all glorious within: Her clothing is of wrought gold." Imagining her, we are transcended into a heavenly scene and can envision the splendor connected with it. The glory covers us as we are transported there instantaneously. We are welcomed by our Lord Jesus, and by all who have gone before, and are embraced by Him.
The Apostle Paul was given a vision of heaven. We are told he was "caught up" to heaven and given a glimpse of its glory in 2 Corinthians 12:1-5. This vision enabled and motivated him to endure many hardships and physical persecutions in the name of Christ. This vision comforted him in his days of exile because he knew that much better things were to come in the next life. Imagining and meditating on our future glory can also give us the power to submit to God and transform our minds to think on heavenly things instead of earthly hopes and ambitions (Romans 12:2).
The beautiful imagery of this chapter represents God's heavenly Kingdom, when the Bride and Bridegroom are together at the marriage of the Lamb, spoken of in Revelation 19:6-9. The Bridegroom is a symbol of Jesus, and the Bride is a symbol of the small group of people who have dedicated their lives to the Lord and have been found faithful and worthy to be part of this very special "little flock." The first part of Psalm 45 refers to Jesus as the Bridegroom, and the remainder to the Bride, also known as the Church Class.
"For the choir director; according to the Shoshannim. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love. My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer" (Psalm 45:1).
In verse 1, the Church Class, represented by David, begins with a love poem to her groom. David wrote that his heart "overflows" (as translated in the New American Standard Version), or "boileth" or "bubbleth up" (King James Version). As Christians who are dedicated to following in Christ's footsteps, we can feel the same awe and reverence for our "Groom" and all He has done for not only us, but the whole world! He died as a ransom for all, to pay the price of Adam's sins (1 Timothy 2:6; 1 John 2:2).
God was willing to call a "bride" for His Son out of the world, to offer her an opportunity to be a member of His immediate family.
Think of your own beloved household, whom you love so deeply and with such care. Now imagine going to a juvenile detention center, finding some derelict who has committed all sorts
of crimes. You invite him home to live in your house, equally sharing all you have, including your most tender affections with your own precious children.
We would likely never consider such a thing. But the gap between us and Jesus is far greater than this poor illustration, and yet God asks us to come be part of His family! All He asks is that we try to copy Jesus, walking in His steps.
Why would we think that we deserve such a relationship with Jesus? It is not because we are better or wiser than anyone, but because the Father has drawn us. John 6:44 says "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him..." And 1 Corinthians 1:26 says "For you know your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called," and further, in vs. 29, "that no flesh should glory in his presence."
"You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever" (Psalm 45:2).
While on earth, Jesus was perfect in body and heart, and proved His purity and absolute loyalty to the Father's will, "for in Him was found no sin" (1 Peter 2:22). This is what is meant when David wrote "grace is poured into Your lips."
Luke 4:22 adds "all bare Him witness and wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth." So wise, just and true was he that even though His enemies were continually seeking to find some fault, they still marveled at his answers, and admitted they had never heard a man speak like Jesus did (Luke 20:26; John 7:46).
In Colossians 4:6 Paul admonishes us to likewise speak graciously, "Let your speech be always with grace." We should try to always speak with love and kindness, having our words "seasoned with salt," ministering grace to our hearers.
"Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One, In Your splendor and Your majesty! And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; Let Your right hand teach You awesome things. Your arrows are sharp; The peoples fall under You; Your arrows are in the heart of the King's enemies." Psalm 45:3-5
The sword of Truth is our Bridegroom's weapon. With it, He will smite the nations. During the future earthly Kingdom, divine knowledge will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Micah 4:1 says, "But in the last days, …the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it." This is when the truth about God and His plan will spread throughout the whole earth, like arrows are fired into the hearts of men. Everyone will have the ability to truly understand it. "The sharp truths and righteous judgement will fill the earth as the waters cover the deep" (Isaiah 11:9). Truth will fill the earth!
"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom." Psalm 45:6
Isaac Leeser's translation of the Bible renders this as, "Thy throne given of God is forever and ever." Jesus never usurps God's authority, but the throne of the earth is part of what He earned when he died on the cross. And thus, all mankind will be led to the perfection lost when Adam sinned in the Garden Eden and be able to stand before God's justice.
"You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness" Psalm 45:7
In order to be pleasing to God and worthy to be part of the Bride, we must overcome the very difficult challenge of only loving those things that are righteous and hating all things that are wicked and sinful. Some of the most degraded people on earth love God. But loving Him is only the beginning. In addition to loving God with all our hearts, we must hate anything that is not in harmony with Him and His will. In this world today, that can be a challenge! It is not popular or acceptable to say that something is wrong. Gallop polls show that in the last 40 years, the only thing still considered "wrong" is adultery. Drug use is rampant, being legalized in many states and being marketed under various packaging to be obtained at our local stores. Things that clearly go against Scriptural standards are now common and accepted in today's society.
As Christians, we generally find these grosser sins easier to hate. However, it is the subtlety with which we are surrounded that makes this more difficult. No more are the ugly things of society hidden from innocent eyes and ears nor can we protect ourselves from being bombarded by them. To some degree, we may even allow ourselves to be desensitized. We may not be bothered by little foibles of ungraceful speech, outbursts, immorality and violence in entertainment because we've become used to experiencing them. We may forget that God considers evil-speaking murder, not loving brethren as hatred, and entertaining false doctrines as fornication and whoredom! Evil is evil. And "the end thereof is death" (Proverbs 16:25). Every Christian should be aware of the subtle dangers that surround us.
"Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of joy above Your fellows. All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad." Psalm 45:7-8
Jesus' garments are pictured with the fragrance of myrrh, aloes and cassia. These are all types of sweet-smelling oils and perfumes. We, too, are to be clothed with the sweet influence of God's Spirit, speaking words of healing in all of our affairs of life. Scent in Scripture is connected with holiness, like the incense in the Tabernacle. Our dealings with others are to send a sweet smell to the Lord, by our loving, soothing demeanor. "A soft (gentle) answer turns away wrath." (Proverbs 15:1)."Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, a healing to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24). So then, the Holy Spirit in our lives becomes our heavenly fragrance that we should apply liberally!
The remainder of Psalm 45 describes the group of individuals who as a whole make up the "Bride." Knowing what they are to look like helps those of us who are running for this prize to know how to prepare for the wedding.
"Kings' daughters are among Your noble ladies; At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir" (Psalm 45:9).
At the right hand of Jesus stands the queen in gold from Ophir. Ophir was a port located on the Red Sea in Arabia and was the gateway from the east through which all types of precious stones, gold, and silver passed. It stood for great wealth.
"Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father's house; Then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him." Psalm 45:10-11
These verses are calling to the Bride. In order to stand beside her groom, a bride must leave her family. So, we must leave our family, our former sinful life. As we do so, we embark on a path different from other human beings, and even different from many other Christians, as a bride is different from her bridesmaids. Every decision, every act, expenditure, thought and human relationship must be viewed in the light of our engagement, our dedication to the Lord, and how that will be affected. We are to live "in" the world, but not be "of" it; we are to live by God's standards, not those of the world around us.
Imagine a marriage where the bride says, "I love my husband, but can only spend a couple of hours a week with him. I have so much to do, and so many others are depending on me." That kind of marriage would never work! It is only when we give up our whole will, when we give Him our all that the Father can use us. This is not easy. When we agree to lay down our lives in sacrifice and try to live a righteous life, the Lord sees us as perfect. This is because we have Christ's "robe of righteousness" covering our imperfections (Isaiah 61:10). God sees us through the perfection of Jesus, and will do so as long as we continue to strive against our weaknesses and live a life of righteousness. And then we can truly claim the precious promises of this psalm.
These verses talk about the Bride's beauty – the beauty of a loyal heart and a meek attitude of submission. This is what Jesus admires in the Church because it is a reflection of His own character (Psalm 40:8).
"The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; The rich among the people will seek your favor" (Psalm 45:12).
Tyre represents those who will come to receive the blessing of the Bride and Bridegroom in the future Kingdom, so that they might prosper. We read in Zechariah 8:22-23, "Yeah, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; in those days it shall come to pass that ten men out of all languages of the nations even shall take hold of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you." The Jewish nation will be the visible representatives of the invisible Jesus and the Church in the coming Kingdom.
The King's daughter is all glorious within; Her clothing is interwoven with gold." Psalm 45:13
This is a description of the completed Bride Class in her glorious condition, in heaven with her Bridegroom. If we dedicate our lives to the Lord, and are faithful to that commitment, we can be part of that Bride and be all glorious within, clothed with gold, a symbol of the divine nature.
But we start our journey with a simple pure white linen bridal robe. There is individual work to be accomplished. This special work of embroidering our robes is done as our characters develop into Christ's likeness, as explained in 2 Peter 1:4-8:
"For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Peter describes eight elements which must become part of who we are: 1) faith, 2) moral-excellence, 3) knowledge, 4) self-control, 5) perseverance, 6) godliness, 7) brotherly kindness and 8) love. Just as in fine needlework, skill, patience and practice are necessary. It is a gradual daily lifework, adding one beautifying stich upon another and the more intricate the pattern, the more highly developed are the traits and the more embroidered our white bridal robe will be.
The measure of our effort to attain these goals will prove the measure of our faithfulness and desire to be pleasing to the Lord despite our imperfections.
"She will be led to the King in embroidered work; The virgins, her companions who follow her, will be brought to You. They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; They will enter into the King's palace." Psalm 45:14-15
These verses identify "the virgins, her companions" as a group of Christians who also dedicated their lives to God, but were not as faithful as the bride. Hebrews 2:15 tells us that they were in fear of giving up earthly possessions and they failed to keep their robes spotless and pure. Neither are they depicted as wearing robes of character development. They lack ZEAL, as they serve the Lord when convenient, unwilling to give up all the longings of the flesh, trying both to live a spiritual life and an earthly one as well.
Sobering, isn't it? How sad would it be to be in love with the Bridegroom, yet be only a bridesmaid. It is a blessing to see that in His mercy, the Lord still includes them and provides them with a Heavenly reward and the privilege of being part of the wedding celebration (See Revelation 19:7-9).
Let us therefore meditate upon this beautiful vision of a bride with her Bridegroom so that we can be more inspired to make this our own personal reality.