Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Your Wedding Song

Reading: Psalm 45   
Did you know your wedding song was in the Bible? This Psalm is titled, “A Wedding Song.” Literally, “a love song,” but contextually “a wedding song” describes well the kind of love song it is. When you understand this song, you will see that it is your wedding song as a believer in Christ, and it has some important instructions for us.
This wedding song, however, is one that is out of sorts with our culture in a number of ways. First, because the groom is a king. He is not a politician—most of us might feel sorry for a woman getting ready to marry a politician. But this groom is a king. We don't have kings. Secondly, it is contrary to our culture because of how the bride, a princess soon to be queen, is called to honor her husband, to orient her life around her husband. Thirdly, but not in order of importance, this wedding song is unusual to us because of what it seems to be saying about the king. Who is this groom?
In Psalm 45:1-2, it is clear that this groom is “the king,” and “the most excellent of men.” In Psalm 45:4, he fits the description of the hoped for king whose government would be one of righteousness and justice, who would be the opposite of this world's kings who live for self-gain, self-protection and bilk their people for all they can get. He rides “forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness...”
Then, in Psalm 45:6-7, it almost seems as if the recipient of the song changes from the king to God. “Your throne, O God,” hardly seems like language befitting an earthly king, a king who was already described as “the most excellent of men.” However it is followed by, “therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions.” So now this king is called God and is also the recipient of position or status from God. So it is the same King we read of at the beginning of the psalm; yet, he is called God. He is the same king described in Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; 11:1-4; 16:5; 32:1 as we spoke about on Sunday 3/13/2011, in the message, A New Kind of King and His Kingdom.1
It should be no surprise, therefore, that the writer of Hebrews wastes no time quoting these verses in reference to the Son, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:8-9). He is the one the virgin gave birth to (Isaiah 7:14) who is the king Isaiah kept speaking of that would come. He came. YHWH incarnate is the King.
Of course no wedding song, or love song, is complete if it only speaks of the groom—even if he is the king. So the second half of the psalm addresses the bride. A number of things are said to the bride about her honored position, but in the midst of this is some very important instruction given to the soon to be queen.
10Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father's house. 11The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. (Psalm 45:10-11)
I am immediately reminded of Ruth, the valiant woman who was the grandmother of David. Even though urged to return to her father's house, she made it clear that she had made the people of God her new family, she had made Naomi's God her God (Ruth 1:16-17). Here in these two verses, I believe we find some very important, even sobering counsel.
Before we can understand why it is sobering, we must answer the question: Who is this bride? Given the identification of the groom with Christ, this bride can be none other than the body of Christ. Therefore, the counsel given this bride applies to those of us who would name the name of Christ.
Like a bride might be told to forget her people and her father's house and cling to her husband, to honor him, to revolve her life around him, for he is her lord, so here, we are being told to leave our people and our father's house, to cling to Christ, to honor him as our Lord. I wonder if all too often we view this counsel as optional. Does our life reflect that we have left our father's house—the world and its ways—and are clinging to our new husband, and living to honor the one who gave Himself for us?
Our culture rejects the idea that a bride should follow her husband this way (and many husbands commend their thinking by being horrid leaders). And we might want to complain about how our culture has rejected this ideal. But do we follow it in how we follow Christ?
If not, I suggest you spend time contemplating who your new husband is. Go back to the first part of this Psalm which describes Him. Study the Gospels. Read the book of Isaiah looking for who this King is. Contemplate His excellence, glory, and self-less love.
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,
1For those who were there Sunday, or listen to this message, compare Psalm 45:16 with Isaiah 32:1-2. It may help fill out the meaning of this Psalm's promise to the bride.   

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