A Leader Worth Loving
Speaker: Rev. Charles Drew
Sermon Series: Psalms
Psalm 45 (ESV)
To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah; a love song.
1 My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
2 You are the most handsome of the sons of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you forever.
3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
in your splendor and majesty!
4 In your majesty ride out victoriously
for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!
5 Your arrows are sharp
in the heart of the king's enemies;
the peoples fall under you.
6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
10 Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:
forget your people and your father's house,
11 and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him.
12 The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,
the richest of the people.
13 All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.
14 In many-colored robes she is led to the king,
with her virgin companions following behind her.
15 With joy and gladness they are led along
as they enter the palace of the king.
16 In place of your fathers shall be your sons;
you will make them princes in all the earth.
17 I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations;
therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.
Psalm 45 is a love song, composed for a royal wedding and arising from the imagination of a song writer who is delighted by the prospect of it. Lovely in itself, it points to a deeper reality that has meaning for us.
I.) The “happy couple”
A) The groom/king (vv. 2-9)
Surpassingly handsome: v. 2: “The most handsome of the sons of men”
Nobility of words and character:
Words: v.2—“grace is poured upon your lips”
Jesus: “No man ever spoke like this man.” “And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth.”(Luke 4:22)
Character: vv. 4, 7: In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;… [Y]ou have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Unflinchingly loyal to what is true, good, and real.
3. A champion.
v5: Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; the peoples fall under you.
A winner in the battles worth fighting: Like David before Goliath.
Like Jesus before sin, sickness, deceit, and arrogance
B) The bride/queen (vv. 10-15)
Beautiful (v 11)—deeply attractive—reflected in her exquisite clothing: v. 13-14-- All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. 14 In many-colored robes she is led to the king…
Surrounded by joyous and loving friends: v. 15-- With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.
Ready to commit everything to the new arrangement. v. 10: forget your people and your father's house, and the king will desire your beauty. ..Bow to him.
Honor and respect are freely given and received.
The outcome is great and world-wide goodness.
II.) What does this love song mean?
A) God himself intends to satisfy our deepest social longings—
v.6: Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
We are cynical about weddings and politics because people disappoint us. But God will not disappoint.
B) The love of Jesus for us and our world.
v. 11: …the king will desire your beauty…
“I will betroth you to me forever” (Hosea 2:19)
Psalm 45: A window on God’s heart.
III.) Take away
Don’t be so cynical about love stories and politics.
Let our hearts overflow with a pleasing theme
“See through” our stories to the big story.
Address our verses to the king.
The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord.
She is his new creation by water and the word.
From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride.
With his own blood he bought her and for her life he died.
Questions for Reflection
Reflect on Derek Kidner’s summary of this psalm. Do you agree? Where in the text do you see the elements he speaks of? Does he leave anything out? [The song] is as dazzling as the occasion it graces. The outward splendor of the event is evoked in every line, and beneath the surface we sense the momentous event that it is for the two central characters [the groom/king addressed in vv. 2-9 and the bride/queen addressed in vv. 10-15]: both an end and a beginning, pivotal nor only for them but for the kingdom, whose future is bound up in the sons they will produce.”
Social commentators point out that more young people than ever choose not to marry these days, making this choice because they are cynical about the institution. Are you cynical about marriage? Why? Why not?
The groom is also a king. What characterizes him (vv. 2-9)? Compare him to a prominent world leader of our time (take care not to bash the leader in question: simply draw an objective comparison). Describe what our world would be like if leaders and citizens everywhere reflected the qualities found in vv. 2-4.
Describe the bride/queen (vv. 10-16). What appeals to you about her? Does anything not appeal to you? Why?
Look carefully at v. 6-7a, where God himself is abruptly addressed in the midst of the address to the groom/king (with equal abruptness, v. 7b returns to the human king). Why does the psalmist do this?
Reflect on how vividly vv. 2-9 describe Jesus. Spend some time in prayer, thanking him that he is your (and the church’s) groom/king. Pray for his triumph throughout out world—for the beauty and grace of his words, together with his truth, meekness, and righteousness, to permeate human experience. Pray that he will help his people to leave behind their former alliances and “bow to him.”
Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, no ruler is like the one you have given us. Jesus’ every word is gracious, his every deed true, humble and righteous. We confess that we often spurn him, choosing rather to follow our own inclinations and the opinions of others. Forgive our folly. Give us grace to heed the warnings of your prophets and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy his coming. For he is our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.