Save the Date! (Psalm 45)

What is this psalm about?  The Jewish rabbis clearly saw it as a Messianic Psalm.  That’s a psalm (song) that is primarily related to Israel’s Messiah (Anointed One), the historical figure of Davidic descent who would one day arise from within the nation to deliver His people from oppression and oppressors, and begin an eternal reign marked by international prestige and dominance, and national righteousness, prosperity, and security.  The book is full of such Psalms, and has legitimately been called “the Prayer-book of the Messiah.”  The last words He spoke on the cross were a quotation of a verse of the Psalms, and it appears that Jesus clearly saw His own life and ministry, death and resurrection, etc., as the fulfillment of the book of Psalms.  His apostles seemed to view it the same way, with the very first sermon preached (on the day of Pentecost, by Peter) taking the structural form of an exposition of two of the Psalms, 16:8-11, and 110:1.  In the gospels, Jesus clearly proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah of Israel.  The writers of the book of Hebrews clearly affirms this messianic identity of the Lord when he quotes a couple of verses of Psalm 45, introducing the phrase, “But concerning the Son…” (Hebrews 1:8).  In doing do, the writer identifies the Lord Jesus as THE Messiah figure promised to Israel, and desired with great anticipation by that nation.  Therefore, this is clearly a psalm written in anticipation and worship of the coming Messiah, our Lord Jesus.

After an introduction to his psalm in which the author identifies himself as a member of the “sons of Korah,” and reveals the type of psalm he has written (perhaps to inform the music director of the type of music to play in accompaniment).  He then goes on to share why he has written the psalm:  He has been meditating on his Messiah, and through divine revelation has learned amazing things about this coming King—and he simply must record what he has seen…

My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. (1b)

A loose but workable outline of this psalm can be expressed in one sentence: The awesome Messiah-King, Jesus Christ, is coming to fetch His bride, to return to His Father’s home where the grand wedding will take place, commencing an eternal marriage.   I have placed this sentence as large divisions of the passage, over a textual outline of the passage.  I hope in doing so I have not created too tangled an outline of the marvelous love song written to our dear King Jesus!

I.  The Messiah-King, Jesus Christ, is coming… 2-9

A.  He is handsome appearance and gracious speech 2

2 You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.

B.  His astounding might in battle 3-5

1.  He is a mighty warrior 3

3 Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One, In Your splendor and Your majesty

2.  He always fights for the right things 4

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.

3.  He defeats all His enemies 5

5 Your arrows are sharp; The peoples fall under You; Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

C.  He rules over an eternal kingdom 6-9

1.  He rules in eternal righteousness 6

6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

2.  He loves what is right, and hates what is wrong. 7

7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows.

3.  He is desirable to all who draw near to Him. 8-9

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.

II.  …to fetch His bride the Church… 10-15

A.  She lives with longing for her King alone 10-12

1.  She leaves all to follow after Him alone 10

10 Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father’s house;

    2.  She worships Him alone 11            

11 Then the King will desire your beauty. Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him.

3.  She expects future blessing through Him alone 12

12 The daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; The rich among the people will seek your favor.

B.  She is adopted into a royalty when she marries Him 13-14

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. 

III.  …to return to His Father’s home where the grand wedding celebration will take place. 15-16

15 They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; They will enter into the King’s palace. 16 In place of your fathers will be your sons; You shall make them princes in all the earth.  

Cross-ref: Revelation 19:6 Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7 “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.” 8 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. 9 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.”         

Post-script: The author’s blessing on the King 17

In response to the marvelous things the author has seen of this King and this beautiful bride—symbolic of the Lord Jesus and His Church, the author resolves that he will do one thing:  he will seek to write so that the name of the King will always be remembered, so that thanks would be given to the King forever.

17 I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever.

Conclusion: What does this mean for us today at Grace Bible Church?  

Sharon and I received a card last week in the mail that simply said, “Save the date!”  It was a pre-invitation, asking us to be sure to “save the date” of my nephew’s wedding in July.  We have to make plans, or NOT make plans—in order to be sure to make it to the wedding.  In the same way—expecting the King, our Groom, to return for us one day, to take us to His Father’s home, where He is preparing a “place” for us—that requires a change in how we plan and look at life, too.   I bleive this Psalm is a type of “Save the Date” message to us from God.

This Psalm presents a warning, an invitation, and celebration to us today:

1.  There is an underlying warning that runs throughout the Psalm: This King loves righteousness, and will one day return to judge the unrighteousness of our world.Cross-ref: Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.  

2.There is a clear invitation here, an announcement for us to “Save the Date.”  We can ignore that announcement, if we so choose.  But we are all invited.  We’ve been invited—will we now “Save the Date” in our hearts and lives, in a practical way, be living with a view to that future, indescribably joyful day when our King arrives to take us to the Father’s home, to live with Him forever? There are some clues here in this Psalm about how we might join the celebration:  Listen, O daughter…give attention…incline your ear…Forget your people and your father’s house..”   We only save the invitations that we receive that we truly value, and intend to respond to.  Do you value this invitation from God to have a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ?     

3. There is a matchless celebration coming, where the Groom and His Bride are finally together, for all eternity. While we are certain the Bride of Jesus today, as His beloved Church—there is still an ache, a longing and desire to finally be with Him forever—to have our “marriage” to this King finally, once and for all time celebrated and commenced.  The Bible promises that one day there will certainly be a grand wedding feast where we will indeed finally be with Him forever, face to face!

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