WHAT IS IT ABOUT A WEDDING THAT
MAKES US SO EMOTIONAL?
LAST MONTH OUR FIRSTBORN SON, J. R., WAS MARRIED,
TAKING OUR BREATH AWAY WITH THE SURPRISE.
IT SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN A SURPRISE, BECAUSE HE TOLD US,
THAT GOD HAD TOLD HIM ONE DAY HE AND DIANNE WOULD BE MARRIED.
BUT THEY HAD BEEN LIKE BROTHER AND SISTER FOR SO LONG,
AND THEN ENGAGED FOR SO LONG WITH NO WEDDING PLANS.
I FINALLY RELEASED IT TO THE LORD.
BUT IN TRUTH, WAS NO LONGER LOOKING FOR IT TO HAPPEN.
ON THIS OCTOBER 14TH,
AS I WAS LEAVING MY FAVORITE RESTAURANT,
I SAW THAT J. R. HAD LEFT A MESSAGE ON MY PHONE.
CALL ME MOM, IT’S IMPORTANT.
STILL, I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS.
WHAT’S UP, HONEY?
DIANNE AND I ARE GETTING MARRIED TONIGHT.
J. R. told me the story. “We drove down to Brown County, Indiana to see the autumn leaves. While we were walking, Dianne said she’d like to be married in the little chapel of the Presbyterian Church where she trusted Christ as a child. And she would like their family’s long time pastor, Dr. Riley, to preside. I’m close to Pastor Riley and so I called him to see when we could make it happen. He said he was heavily booked — and the chapel was also! So I asked, ‘What about tomorrow?’
Dr. Riley said, ‘Oh, I’m booked all day tomorrow.’
‘What about today?’
‘Oh J. R., I’m sorry — I’m presiding over a funeral.’
Mom — my spirit rose up in me. I didn’t want to let this open door close. So I asked, ‘What about tonight?’
Dr. Riley paused, giving me hope. Then he said warmly, ‘Well, I could do it tonight! And the chapel is free at 6:00 P. M.’
I said, ‘I’LL TAKE IT!! LET’S DO IT!’‘
‘And so you are getting married tonight?’
I looked at my watch. Could I possibly make it? I knew I couldn’t. J. R. knows what I am thinking.
J. R. said, “I’m a little broken-hearted, Mom, that you won’t be there. Do you want us to try to postpone?”
“Just get married,” I cried!
He put Dianne on the phone. She is breathless. ‘It feels like when Jesus comes back for His Bride!'”
They ask me to pray. They are two hours away. Dianne has to find a wedding dress — J. R. a suit. There are people to call. And they must make it to the church on time!
God was with them, opening door after door, giving them His kisses all the way. Dianne walked into a bridal store and they brought out the perfect dress, the first dress, and it fit her perfectly. “It was my dream dress,” she told me, “and I found it in seven minutes.” A dear couple who were close to them postponed a flight so that she, Rosa, a gifted soloist, could sing, and so that he, Patrick, could film the ceremony. Even Dr. Riley commented on the light of the moon causing the stained glass above them to dance. The joyful presence of God surrounded them.
Last week they left for their honeymoon — but before they flew off, they took “The Badger” (the Michigan/Wisconsin ferry) to see me so I could share in their joy and pray over them.
I met them when they landed and loved how giddy they were with excitement. J. R. told me, “I still can’t get over it. She’s my wife!”
What is it about a wedding that penetrates our hearts?
Could it be that it whispers of the great wedding day ahead, when Jesus will come with a shout for HIs Bride?
That it is just a faint rumor of The Midnight Cry?
I asked J. R. and Dianne if I could share their story in conjunction with Psalm 45, and J. R. told me that that was one of his favorite psalms, and went on to explain why. “Jesus never plainly and clearly says, “I am God,” though He says it in many and mysterious ways. But Hebrews 1, which quotes Psalm 45, surely makes it clear. The Father is pouring out His love on God the Son. Here is the quote from Psalm 45 in Hebrews:
But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness,
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
PERSONAL NOTE ABOUT PARTICIPATING ON THIS BLOG
We have a good problem! We have so many wonderful women sharing so many good thoughts, that we are beginning to feel like we can’t keep up reading the comments. So I suggest trying these two things:
1. Everyone share your icebreaker on Sunday and your take-a-way at the end of the week — and then your deeper thoughts from the Bible study rather than every answer. You can work on a word document and come back and re-write your best on the blog, or copy and paste, but if you do that, to avoid gibberish, “paste as plain text”. If you left click to paste, those words are below the word “paste”. You don’t have to do this, but if many of you do it will help all read what is there more carefully.
2. Renee and Dianne are administrating a private Facebook page for active participants on this blog — for prayer and more personal sharing. Click on the maroon banner on the home page to find out how to join. You can still share prayer requests here, but it helps if you share most on the private page, and is a safe place to do so. They will also be the gate-keepers. We want it to be for active participants only.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY
Prepare your heart with this:
This is going to be fun! Jonathan Edwards was persuaded that The Song of Songs was no common love song because of the parallels he found in it to Psalm 45. This week we will find those exciting parallels. And, then, I have a treasure of a sermon, from a Scottish preacher who preaches in the style of the great Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read Psalm 45 out loud.
2. Compare Psalm 45:6-7 with Hebrews 1:8-9. How does this irrefutably show this psalm is about Jesus? And what do you learn about Jesus and HIs Deity from this?
3. Jonathan Edward’s final entry in his diary was his notes on the Song of Songs and why, because of the parallels with Psalm 45, he was convinced the Song was about Christ. Read through Psalm 45 and see, before you look at what Edwards found, if you can find any parallels. (If you aren’t familiar with The Song, you can skip this.)
Do the following and then look over your answers and come back and share your best insights or “aha!” moments on the blog.
4. The Song of Songs is a love song. (S. S. 1:1) What evidence can you find that Psalm 45 is a love song?
5. The Song of Songs is a wedding song. (S. S. 3:11) What evidence can you find that Psalm 45 is a wedding song?
6. In the Song of Songs, the bridegroom is a King. (S. S. 1:1) What about Psalm 45?
7. The bride in the Song is a king’s daughter (S. S. 7:1) What about Psalm 45?
8. The bride is beautiful in The Song. (S. S. 1:15) What about Psalm 45?
9. The bridegroom is the fairest of ten thousand in the Song. (S. S. 5:10) What about Psalm 45?
10. The bridegroom desires the beauty of the bride in the Song. (S. S. 4:9) What about Psalm 45?
11. The speech of the bridegroom is excellent and pleasant. (S. S. 5:16) What about Psalm 45?
12. The ornaments of the bride are costly, beautiful, and splendid. (S. S. 1:10-11; 7:1) What about Psalm 45?
13. The excellencies of the bridegroom are represented as perfumed ointments. (S. S. 1:3) What about Psalm 45?
14. The bride is both singular and plural (S. S. 1:2-4) What about Psalm 45?
15. The place of the King is a place of beauty and splendor. (S. of S. 1:16-17) What about Psalm 45?
Oh — I loved this sermon by a Scottish preacher who preaches in the style of Charles Haddon Spurgeon:
16. Share your notes and comments.
17. What is your take-a-way and why?
I have been having a hard time deciding when and how to jump in on this week’s study. I have been working on it off-line. I haven’t listened to the sermon yet, however. Since the study Bible I have been using is literally falling apart from great use, I treated myself yesterday to a new study Bible which uses a translation called the Common English Bible (completed in 2011). It was sponsored by an alliance of denominational publishers including Presbyterian (USA), Episcopalian, United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, and United Church of Christ. The work was done by 120 biblical scholars from 22 faith traditions. Since I am a member of the Disciples of Christ denomination, which was involved, I was intrigued enough to buy it, and I am just beginning to use it.
So I want to share what I found in my new CEB relating to comparing these two passages of Scripture.
On Psalm 45:6-7: “ These verses were understood in late Judaism to refer to a coming Messiah, and they were applied to Jesus by the early Christians to support their belief that Jesus was the Messiah (which in Greek is Christos; see Hebrew 1:8-9).
On Hebrews 1:8-9: “God, your throne is forever. Hebrews directly refers to Jesus as God by way of Psalm 45:6, a royal psalm for the wedding of a king. However, the focus of the quotation is the contrast between the never-ending nature of Christ’s kingship and the angels’ temporary service in Hebrews 1:7.”
So it seems to be pretty obvious to these experts that there are definite parallels between Psalm 45 and Hebrews 1.
Deanna, Congratulations on your new addition! I’ll look forward to more observations from you. I think it would be very hard to choose a new Bible, except for a connection in some way, as you had to these denominational publishers. (mine is currently held together with duct tape and a cover to hide that….smile) Perhaps, I will go browsing one day.
I have enjoyed looking at this psalm and the parallels in Song of Songs. I’ve been thinking this week about beauty, and where did it come from? Fall is my favorite season, and as I see each day the beautiful fall foliage with its rich, vibrant colors, I think even though we live in a fallen world, there is still so much beauty! And where did beauty originate? As I read the descriptions in this part of Scripture about Jesus our Bridegroom, I see beauty was His idea – it all began with Him. The description of Him in SOS 5:10-16 shows this, and then that His desire is to make us beautiful…”The King is enthralled by your beauty.” The Lord creates physical beauty to be sure, but it is so much more. I am amazed that we have a God who IS Beauty, whose “lips have been anointed with grace”…who is “clothed with splendor and majesty” and His “robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia” and whose dwelling is like “palaces adorned with ivory” and there is music there. He is a God to be enjoyed and experienced with our senses. It is amazing that He relates to us in these ways.
I enjoyed the sermon too. He makes the point that Psalm 45 is “A summary of all God’s purposes in this world of ours…a philosophy of history” and that “this is the way to look at everything which has ever happened in the world and is yet going to happen.”
Psalm 45 tells us that what God is going in the history of the world is this: He is preparing for a great wedding which is going to happen at the end of history, and that wedding is going to be between His Son and His Bride – the Church.
I never had thought of the description of the King in this psalm as He girds his sword and goes riding forth meaning that He is going to get His Bride. That “the purpose of the sword and arrows is a purpose of love.” He said, “Our Lord is going to make war; not to slay or kill, but to make love to sinners, to speak to them words by which they may be saved and come to love Him in return.”
Interesting interpretation then of the sword being the Word of God and the arrows being arrows of 1)awakening 2)conviction 3)conversion 4)assurance and 5)euthanasia.
So I kind of see the gospel in verse 5, “Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies” in that we were His enemies before we belonged to Him, so being pierced in our hearts with the truth and being awakened to Him and convicted of our sin are all good piercings. These “wounds of the heart” do not lead to death but to life. Then I find it amazing that Jesus, who is “the most excellent of men and whose lips have been anointed with grace…the mighty One clothed with splendor and majesty…riding forth in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness…” came cloaked in humility and poverty in the form of a helpless baby. Yet even as He lived His earthly life, God enclosed in flesh and choosing to stay His power, He was accomplishing all these things.
I feel if I keep looking, there is no end to the new things to discover in this Psalm!
Love your 2 posts Susan….you helped me see the psalm in a whole new perspective. ..thank you!
Such a good post, Susan. Very curious about the euthanasia part. Sermon sounds wonderful. Looking forward to listening
I so liked your thoughts about beauty and the senses. So good/thought provoking. I skimmed the rest, because I haven’t listened to sermon yet.
I am definitely seeing Mike Reeve’s point in this Psalm…that if we feel our affections for Him waning, we don’t try to stir up our affections (look to ourselves), but rather we look to Him, behold His beauty, and that will stir our affections. When I read this Psalm, that is what it does…I can almost “smell” His robes which are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia!
Love this Susan–I need the continual reminder of what Reeves said–and how he also applied that to evangelism…show them Jesus, and the heart will melt. But also as you have said, turn my own eyes to Him–look to Him, “behold His beauty, and that will stir our affections.”
So beautifully said, Susan, and so true!
“This is the way to look at everything that has ever happened in the world…”
16. Share your notes and comments.
I think someone else already mentioned this but I was also very struck by his referral to our deaths as being “euthanasia!” Certainly the death most Christians die is not painless (which is part of the definition of euthanasia) but it definitely does release us from a painful condition of living in a fallen world, affected every day by our own sins and by the sins of others and just the fallen creation, itself…and death, for the Believer, certainly is a total, merciful release from all of that. I liked his description of the five arrows with which Jesus draws us to Himself and I loved that he repeatedly made it clear what is not salvation (baptism, church attendance, etc…) and what is.
So true Mary…thank you for helping me see that too.:)
Mary–love your wording “death, for the Believer, certainly is a total, merciful release”–good insight–I need to get to the sermon!
Thoughts about the sermon by Rev. Maurice Roberts:
1.) Well, in a way, this kind of preaching took me back to my childhood, and I could imagine myself sitting in a pew in a country church or a very uncomfortable bench/pew at a Bible camp chapel….and feeling miserably under conviction as he spoke of. His voice as well, and some of the observations he made seemed so, like some of the older preachers I remember. (Except the dialect would have been Scandinavian 😉 )
2.) I just really needed to hear the emphasis on the wedding feast- the marriage supper of the Lamb…..as being THE most important event and that for which everything else crumbles. I liked the reminder that the beginning of the Bible records the marriage of Adam and Eve and the end of the Bible, records the marriage of the second Adam, Christ and His bride, the Church.
3.) Now I see the gospel clearly in this psalm! But, I really only saw it after I read Susan’s comment. Somehow, then the pieces fit.
When I read, ‘we were His enemies before we belonged to Christ in Susan’s post, it made me look up Romans 5:10, which clearly spells out the gospel “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of His Son, how much more having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life.”
Wow….now the picture of the King going forth armed with the Word as His sword and His quiver of arrows with which to seek His bride became so powerful in my mind.
Amazing! I would not have ever seen this without this teaching and the help of each of you here. Praise to His Holy Spirit for opening these words to our hearts.
OH..:)))))) Here are the places i was quickened:
“The Lord will have a faithful Bride who will never ever let Him down in the end.”-He is bringing elect sinners to himself and welcoming all who come and telling them he loves them with an everlasting love.
Jesus is the fairest..nicest person who ever lived..more kind, lovely, desirable, generous, loving, affectionate than anyone who ever lived. Put beautiful flowers, sun moon and stars up against Christ and we say, oh black flowers, black sun, moon, stars. What is the distinguishing mark of Christians which makes us different than all other ‘religions’? Our love for one another. Jesus said to his disciples, I bring you a new commandment that you love one another. Men shall know that you are my disciples if you have love one to another. How we treat one another. They say, see how these people love one another. He that loveth not, knoweth not God. Here is the proof that we are true Christians if we have love one to another. That love isn’t from the horizontal level but from above. The Love of Christ passes knowledge of all it’s length, breadth and heighth. Not that we have loved God but that God has given his son to be the propitiation for our sins. This is peculiarly true for Christianity..not only love toward one another but love toward God, and Love for Jesus Christ.
Finally, what struck me was how he expounded upon the arrows..and especially when it is time for Him to take us home in death Jesus shoots the arrow of euthanasia. It was beautiful! when the Christian has served the Lord, a missionary, preacher, servant etc..a mother, father, teacher. The day will come when Jesus looks down upon you and say, my beloved friend you have served me faithfully..my dearest beloved friend you have been long enough in this wicked world I don’t like to see you here anymore, I want you to come home..Take this love from me..he puts the arrow in and lays him to his death and takes his soul to glory.
I agree, Rebecca, I also liked how he pointed out love as a distinguishing feature, unique to Christianity!
Something is quickening inside me with the sermon: When Peter denied Jesus and then when Jesus rose and was with Peter. Jesus could have said, great friend you are! How unfaithful you are! You denied me three times!! BUT HE DIDN’T!!! 🙂 He said, “Do you love me?!” “Do you Love me?!?!” “Do you love me?!?!” THREE TIMES AND WITH PASSION! I can’t help but notice He asked Peter three times which correlates with the three times Peter denied Him. I am starting to see this as Jesus drawing Peter in to Him loving Peter, melting Peter’s heart and freeing him from the guilt satan must have laid on him. I am sure Peter’s head was spinning already, and then Jesus comes and shoots the arrow of assurance into His heart. How could Peter say no? His Love-OH.
Love the emphasis of the sermon being love…love is the bedrock of Christianity, the defining characteristic.
God is preparing for a great wedding that will occur at the end of history. This is the wedding of Jesus and His bride (i.e., the church of believing people). There is love between Jesus and His bride that will never end…this is the theme of Psalm 45.
The purpose of Jesus’ sword and arrows is love, not to slay and kill, but to speak words by which His people may be save and love Him in return. Jesus is bring sinners to Himself; welcoming them with open arms and loving them with an everlasting love. Jesus’ weapons are weapons of love.
Rev. Roberts cautions that “religion” does not equate to belief in Jesus…one can be “religious” in the sens of doing but not seeing the love of Christ, not giving their whole heart to Jesus.
Jesus’ bride (the church) is described in view as:
The bride’s clothing is indicative of the bride’s justification…she is clothed with Jesus’ righteousness…Jesus’ righteousness is imputed to the believer and cannot be lost. The bride’s heart refers to an inward character of spirituality and holiness. It speaks to her sanctification. The bride entering into the king’s palace refers to her glorification. Jesus sees us in a state of sin and brings us into a state of grace; His bride will enter into a state of glory in eternity.
It was ironic that Rev. Roberts referenced Spurgeon and spoke to Spurgeon’s impressions…I was reading Spurgeon’s commentary notes on Psalm 45 while doing the study earlier in the week…:)
Nanci, ‘Like’. :))
Dee, How did the event go last night? I am praying for today. Love you.
I finally got around to listening to the sermon. I agree with Wanda that this sermon reminded me of “old style” preaching from my childhood. Rev. Maurice Roberts emphasized that love is a peculiarity of Christianity. He assured us that Psalm 45 made no reference to any earthly king or royal wedding, but only to our blessed redeemer Jesus Christ. It gives a summary of all of God’s purposes for this world of ours. It gives us a way to look at history, destiny, and everything in our world. The ultimate purpose of God is that, in the end, there will be a wedding feast between Christ and His believers (the Church). Throughout the course of history Jesus is searching out his bride — He brings in sinners and tells them that He loves them with an everlasting love, and that He will make them eternally happy.
I particularly liked one remark, and I’m not sure whether it should be attributed to Roberts, or whether he was still quoting Samuel Rutherford. The remark was that “We want heaven for Christ’s sake, not Christ for heaven’s sake.” Whoever said it –I like it alot!
Roberts’ description of Christ’s love and kindness as “astonishing” is something I have thought about before, but never heard anyone address it in a sermon. I have always been struck by Jesus’ kindness to Peter after Peter betrayed him — three times! But as Roberts pointed out, Jesus’ main question of Peter was not “why did you do that to me?” It was “Simon, do you love me?” Roberts also referred to the thief on the cross, and the pardon and love that Jesus extended to him.
He also linked up the “weapons” of Jesus that are mentioned in Psalm 45:3 and also verse 5. The sword and arrows he thought symbolic of the words of the gospel by which believers are brought to Him. He listed the five arrows in Christ’s quivver: awakening, conviction, conversion, assurance, and euthanasia. I thought euthanasia was an unusual term, used to describe the “rescuing death” of the believer from this world, taking the soul to glory.
He makes the point that just because you have been baptized, catechized, or have “been in the church all of your life” does not necessarily mean you have made the grade. The main thing is that you have believed in Christ — that he died on the cross for you, and that you love Him with all your heart. It is your heart that He wants, not outward form.
Roberts ends the sermon, saying “If you love Christ that is all you need to be part of the bride, so that you will be in the palace with the King of Glory forever.”
This was a wonderful summary of the whole message, Deanna! I also liked what he said about wanting heaven “for Christ’s sake” (because He will be there and we will be in His presence!)
Yes, Deanna! I really liked this thought as well.
Song of Songs study deeply impacted me spiritually, emotionally, and had a profound effect on how I see God. I remember specifically paralleling Psalm 45 to Song of Songs and for some reason it really sort of ‘cemented’ in the truth that the Song really is about how Christ loves His bride, the individual (the church, too, but really the individual). Just to realize the depth of God’s love and pursuance of us is life changing. One of the most challenging things for me was to accept the reference of the bride as beautiful and lovely and even “flawless.” I could except that I perhaps have potential but my life is so bombarded by “fail” that I did not see myself as lovely let alone flawless. In the Song of Songs study we talked so much about the garment that Christ gives us and the fragrances that come from this wedding ceremony and the truth that eventually sunk deeper was that HE clothes me with His righteousness and while me, myself, is desirable to Him, it is His robe that makes me flawless and allows for the union to be perfect. Not that I will not fail but it is the covenant promise that He will always say “I do” or rather “I did, it is finished, you are mine.” No changes… I have been rejected so much in my life that it took an act of God opening my eyes that the bride of Christ, me, is accepted for eternity, full stop. What is really interesting is that when I no longer have to work so desperately hard to earn His favor each and every day I am freed, not just in my life and my struggles, but in my love for Him. Before it was a game – I do this, He does that, I give Him this, He gives me that, etc. But to accept the wedding is to accept Him for who He is… to love Him for Him, to yearn for Him, not what He can/should/would give me! Oh dear, I’ve gone off babbling… I do not know if this is even in answer to any question but it is where my thoughts are. After studying the Song of Songs it never fails to stir me deeply (and so Psalm 45, too) because in my life it was a sincere letter of love to a gal that was severely broken and bruised and lost and He touched me and made me whole. And this is the truth that He keeps speaking to me – He bounds to me, He delights in me, He has made me lovely, beautiful, flawless with His robe of gracious righteousness.
P.S. I really enjoyed the sermon (and the accent!!), justification: the wedding garment. Sanctification: that garment changing the inward character. Glorification: physically entering His presence.
Beautiful comments, Jill. You are loved with an everlasting love. Isn’t this amazing- his amazing love for us?
Jill…..it’s good to hear from you and I just love your words about how the Song of Songs touched your heart. So beautifully spoken that I can just feel the difference it made for you.
My take away was that this Psalm 45 will have new meaning for me forever! After the sermon on A song of loves, by Maurice Roberts and the comparison with Song of Solomon it is forever etched in my heart!
The descriptions of the garments , the scents, the ivory palaces are all wonderful. “Hearken , O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear…Such beautiful imagery. Now yesterday I was at a luncheon, with a beautiful message and testimony whose theme was that we are all princesses. We were given tiaras and our chairs were covered with a white cloth and a lavendar bow. How special after studying this psalm.