I’m excited to approach Psalm 45 afresh, for this is the psalm that Jonathan Edwards said, “is the Song of Songs in a nutshell.” For those of you who are new to us (and welcome!) I have, with the help of the dear sisters on this blog, been working on a book on the Song of Songs for four years! They have prayed, tested my attempts (twice!) and encouraged me so! I am now in the editorial process with the same editor who did The God of All Comfort and Idol Lies, and I love and trust her. So when Elisa told me I was way over peoples’ heads, I listened. I don’t want my readers to be like deer caught in the headlights. Instead, I want them to be like the child in this picture, experiencing the wonder of a God who loves them, who sings over them, who set the stars in place, yet, is mindful of them.
We belong to a God who is a bridegroom who sings over us. He asks us to leave the things of this world, our idols with their siren songs, and be married to Him, and Him alone. With these little deaths we experience more of Him, this “most handsome” of the sons of men. God uses the metaphor of romance and a wedding, for it is the least inadequate metaphor for this intense love.
This is the best song, living up to the title “Song of Songs,” and this is the noble theme that stirs the heart of the sons of Korah, causing them to write their love song to the King. Psalm 45 is meant to affect our hearts, to help us experience God’s love. So slow down this week, savor, and allow HIS Spirit to penetrate your heart, for this psalm has a mighty power to do so. So, “Hear, O daughter, and incline your ear!”
Mike Reeves, whom many of us have grown to love, looked at verse 10 and said, “Ohhh — there is such gospel here.” Do you see it?
Hear, O daughter, and consider, and
incline your ear.
Forget your people and your father’s house,
and the king will desire your beauty.
Let us ponder what this means.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY
2. Psalm 45:1, Derek Kidner writes, “is one of the rare occasions when the psalmist allows us to glimpse the process of composition.” What do you see?
For me, as a writer, my best books (and blogs) have come when my heart overflows with something wonderful I have discovered from the Lord — and I ponder, since I know all Scripture is inspired by God, exactly how this works for the writers of Scripture. Does God give the theme and then they compose the words? Or does God simply dictate to them — but then how is it we see their personalities flowing forth? I have come to recognize how Paul writes, how Solomon writes… Is it different with different genres? Did God dictate Leviticus but give the Psalmists freer rein?
3. What thoughts do you have on how the Scriptures were written?
4. Read Psalm 45:2-5 and describe the beauty and power of this king.
5. Compare the above passage to the following and note similarities:
A. Song of Songs 5:16
B. Song of Songs 3:7-8
C. Revelation 19:11-16
6. Many are the tribulations of His bride, but He will fight for you. Give an example of how He has fought for you recently.
Ponder this from Jonathan Edwards:
Christ was a person of infinite majesty. It is he that is spoken of, Psalm 45:3. “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.” It is he that is mighty, that rideth on the heavens, and his excellency on the sky. It is he that is terrible out of his holy places; who is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea: before whom a fire goeth, and burneth up his enemies round about; at whose presence the earth quakes, and the hills melt; who sitteth on the circle of the earth, and all the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers, who rebukes the sea, and maketh it dry and drieth up the rivers, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, from whose presence, and from the glory of whose power, the wicked shall be punished with everlasting destruction; who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who hath heaven for his throne, and the earth for his footstool, and is the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and of whose dominion there is no end.
7. This is your King. Worship Him here through prayer. It is not that God desires His praise for Him, but for what it does in our hearts. Our hearts must be affected by His glory or we will never turn from our idols and experience His presence.
8. Read Psalm 45:6-9. What else do you learn about your King? How can we be sure this is speaking of Jesus?
9. Now, on the basis of all the above, we have verses 10-11. What does this say?
What often fills my heart with wonder is that way the 66 books of Scripture, written by many authors, are tied together by the inspiration of God. Here we have an echo of the primary verse about marriage, beginning in Genesis 2:24 and repeated four times until it culminates in Ephesians, where we are told that the leaving, cleaving, and becoming one flesh points to the mystery of Christ and His bride. Do you see? Jesus left His Father in heaven, His mother at the cross, in order to cleave to His bride. Now He asks her, both on an individual and a corporate level, to leave the world, “her father’s house and her people” (think of Ruth leaving idol-worshipping Moab to cleave to God’s people). There is pain in leaving, but it leads to intimacy with her Bridegroom.
10. So, we must ask ourselves, what does God mean when he says “leave your people and your father’s house?” (Charles Spurgeon says it is “renouncing the world so as not to have a divided heart.” Mike Reeves says: “There is such gospel here.”)
11. With every death, there is a resurrection. Where have you “died” and seen a resurrection in your life? How has taking the time to gaze on His beauty affected your heart?
12. What do you think this means for the invisible church, true believers of every tribe and nation? For the local church?
13. Read Psalm 45:13-16 and discover what happens to this bride.
Thursday-Friday: Mike Reeves on Enjoying God
This is a message from Mike Reeves who draws upon Jonathan Edwards. Edwards knew what it meant to enjoy Christ, and was concerned when thousands who were proclaiming Christ during the Great Awakening could recite the doctrine but showed little affection for Christ. Edwards said famously, “There is a great difference between knowing honey is sweet and having a sense of the taste of it.” You can recite the Apostle’s Creed, agree with the great doctrines of the church, and even defend them to an unbeliever. All this may be evidence of a heart for God, or it may only be in your head. Do you delight to sit under his shadow, as Mary of Bethany did, “hanging on His every word?” Do you long for His presence? Do you fear quenching His Spirit for it is so sweet to you? Are you enjoying Christ? See what you can discover from this message and share your notes and comments.
14. Notes and comments
15. What is your take-a-way and why?