What does a wedding of a king of Israel have to do with my life? Why does the Book of Psalms include a song written about a king and his bride? Let's take a look at Psalm 45, one of the more unique poems in the book of psalms.
The psalm divides into two large sections. The first section describes the king and the second focuses on the bride. The ending two verses close with a blessing on their descendants.
Psalm 45 is a wedding song written for one of the kings of Israel. Scholars are not sure which king was intended but figuratively it is often interpreted as a messianic psalm. So, if Christ is the King pictured in the psalm then who is the bride?
Hallelujah, because our Lord God, the Almighty,
has begun to reign!
Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory,
because the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and His wife has prepared herself.
She was given fine linen to wear, bright and pure. Revelation 19:6-8
Although not explicitly stated in scripture, the church is consistently compared to a bride. One passage that comes very close to calling the church the bride of Christ is Ephesians 5:22-33. 2 Corinthians 11:2 is another passage that make it clear that the bride is the church:
I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.
With that in mind lets look at Psalm 45 remembering that Christ is the King and we are the bride.
The King's Excellence
You are the most excellent of men
and your lips have been anointed with grace,
since God has blessed you forever. Psalm 45:2
In this very first section we have an immediate indication that this psalm is pointing to someone greater than an earthly king. This king is one who is blessed forever and is the most excellent of men. Although the original author may have wrote this as a hyperbole to honor an earthly king, there is only one person who could truly be called the most excellent of men: Jesus.
The King's Majesty
In your majesty ride forth victoriously
in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. Psalm 45:4
Once again we see Jesus as the One who truly fulfills this psalm. He rode into Jerusalem to conquer sin once and for all. But Jesus did it in such an unexpected and upside down way! He rode in on a donkey not a stallion. He conquered death and sin by humbly submitting to death on a cross. He defeated sin and violence by being violently murdered. Jesus displayed his power and majesty not by human standards of warfare, but by love, humble strength and the power of an Almighty God.
The King's Authority
Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. Psalm 45:6
This passage is quoted in Hebrews 1:8-9 to show that Jesus is superior to the angels. Jesus is not only the highest King, but He is God and His kingdom will last for ever and ever!
The King's Wedding
After a quick view of the Kings clothing, palace and musicians, the poet expertly transitions to the bride in this section. It is as if we are watching a camera that has been focused on the King zoom out to show us the King and His bride together before focusing in on the bride.
Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir. Psalm 45:9
The Bride's Welcome
The bride is welcomed with some wise advice:
Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
Forget your people and your father’s house.
Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord. Psalm 45:10-11
This picture is a little awkward for men and even many women. For men because it is strange to think of ourselves as a bride and for women because the picture of a husband as a "lord" is certainly not culturally acceptable today. But let's set aside cultural and gender differences and focus on what this teaches us about our relationship with Christ.
As the bride of Christ we are to forget our past. We are to turn away from the world and its desires and focus our attentions on our husband the King. He is the Lord of all creation. He is the King of Kings and, like no other king, like no other husband, He deserves our complete submission and respect.
But don't miss the beauty in this passage by focusing only on the call to submission. We have a Lord who is enthralled by us. Jesus loved us so much that He died for us. I personally feel sorry for Christians who constantly focus on their sin and failure to measure up to Christ. Yes, we need to confess our sin and fight against it. That is the submission we just talked about. But don't forget that you have a God who loves you deeply - more than any husband has ever loved his wife.
You are loved and God is enthralled by your beauty. Meditate on that thought.
The Bride's Beauty
All glorious is the princess within her chamber;
her gown is interwoven with gold. Psalm 45:13
The church, the bride of Christ, is glorious and beautiful to God. In Christ we are spotless and clean. God sees us as sinless and perfect because of Christ.
The psalm ends by describing the children that will come of this union. As believers we should be extending God's kingdom by reaching more people for Christ. As the bride of Christ reaches out and brings more people to Christ the earth is filled with the children of God all praising Him together.
I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;
therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever. Psalm 45:17
Life on earth is imperfect. Relationships are often hard. But this psalm reminds us that we are part of a beautiful relationship - the most beautiful relationship.
If you are a believer, you are the bride of Christ. You are infinitely loved and your husband, Christ, is perfect and worthy of all praise and worship. This should bring joy to every believer.
You are loved! You are valued! You are glorious in Christ!