Throughout September 2022, I managed to read and reflect – briefly – on a Psalm each day. For December 2022, attempted to pick up the discipline. I got part-way through that month, and so after a long hiatus, am determined to get going. I’ll read the Psalm, pray, and then ponder a few questions:
- What is this Psalm about?
- What does this Psalm teach about God?
- How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
I’ll close the post with a simple prayer, trying to draw the themes together.
On the 12th of September 2023, here’s Psalm 45:
1 My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
2 You are the most excellent of men
and your lips have been anointed with grace,
since God has blessed you forever.
3 Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one;
clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously
in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.
5 Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies;
let the nations fall beneath your feet.
6 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.
8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
from palaces adorned with ivory
the music of the strings makes you glad.
9 Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.
10 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
Forget your people and your father’s house.
11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.
12 The city of Tyre will come with a gift,
people of wealth will seek your favor.
13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber;
her gown is interwoven with gold.
14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
her virgin companions follow her—
those brought to be with her.
15 Led in with joy and gladness,
they enter the palace of the king.
16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
you will make them princes throughout the land.
17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;
therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.
What is this Psalm about?
This is a Psalm for the wedding of a king – and on the face of it, it is easy for Christians to associate that King with Christ, and the wedding with the eschatological wedding supper yet to come. Reading it simply, though, it is notable as a Psalm for being entirely joyful and glad. If we take it as having something to do with Christ, and following God, we’d do well to note verse 17, and the challenge to remember God through all generations.
What does this Psalm teach about God?
Implicitly this Psalm might teach us that God loves marriage, and rejoices in the marriage of a man and a woman. Verse 2 makes it clear that this marriage – like other things – is an example of one of God’s characteristics: God loves to bless. The language of royalty is wrapped up with divinity, with verse 6 referring to God’s throne – and that this is a rule and reign that will last forever. Verse 7 also teaches us several things about God – firstly that God is a personal God (‘Your God’), that God sets people in the places God desires, and that it is God who anoints kings. Psalm 45 teaches us some remarkable things!
How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
I think that one challenge from Psalm 45 is that we can enjoy blessing and goodness without tinges of other things. That may seem unlikely to you today, or be impossible, but it is a taste of the ultimate wedding feast that God and his people, or Christ and his bride, will enjoy. Another is the challenge already noted in verse 17 – how will we perpetuate the memory of God through all generations, in a way that ensures the nations will praise God for ever and ever?
A prayer drawn from Psalm 45
Lord, you are a good King, and you love to bless your people. Thankyou for the blessing of Scripture, disrupting our everyday, and thank you for the blessing of marriage, echoing the end of things. Help us by your Spirit to remember you for generations, and to join in our part in helping the nations praise you, for ever and ever, Amen.