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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.

Miabelle Meredith Lano in Ephraim

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.

Psalm 45:9

Let us ponder what this means.


1. What stands out to you from the above and why?


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?



Tight or

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.

How to Enjoy God – Mike Reeves

14. Notes and comments


15. What is your take-a-way and why?

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    9. Now, on the basis of all the above, we have verses 10-11. What does this say?
    I am definitely reminded of SOS here. He  tells the daughter to leave her family and come with him. He wants to take care of her and honor him, for he is her king.

      1. LOL! So funny!

  2. Good Evening Dee,
    I am an English lady from London,England and moved to the USA with my family, I was directed to your page today by a very dear friend who has followed you for a long time. In England Dee we know God but do not have a personal relationship with Christ our Lord so coming to the USA and being “born again” changed my life so very much, I became on fire for the Lord after a miraculous healing from two large lumps in my breast. I went to my Lord as a child and asked for healing and I watched week by week these large lumps slowly disappeared. By that healing dear Dee my faith and trust in my God was set firmly in place and I wanted to give something back to Him so I became a prayer counselor for Guidepost Ministries. Over the years I have had many tests and trials but I know that God is faithful and He will lead me through them all. Your page is wonderful, and I will follow it with much excitement as I expect to learn and be blessed by it as my dear friend is. In Gods Love. Yvonne Marie Miller.

  3. 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.”)
    I’m thinking we leave the familiar ways of our families to be with God. Sometimes we grow up in a family (like mine) where the routine of going to church is just that, routine. I believe my mother truly knew and loved God, but we children didn’t understand the difference between knowing Him and doing church. It’s the religiousity versus spirituality that Tim Keller speaks of often times. My sister has never gone to church because she was humiliated once as a teen and vowed to never go again. My brother goes some (in the past), but more recently has not (not sure why – I think it’s an excuse of being too busy). I have tried to dive into knowing more about Jesus, and yes, I have giving up sometimes in doing so…sleep, time, work, etc. 
    Other families may never even go to church and the children wouldn’t ever even know about Him. These children would have a lot catching up to do. They would have to give up more than I did to really know Christ.
    Some people don’t know anything about God. Maybe they grew up without a family and were never exposed to Christianity. I wonder if it would be as hard for them to leave their familiar surroundings (not a family) to be with Him? Maybe they would find their true comfort and love for the first time getting to know Jesus? I don’t know.
    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?
    I have definitely died with respect to my children and been lifted to Christ. I am way more spiritual than I have ever been in the past. I want to know everything about Him and sometimes it seems an impossible task. I admit that I get tired sometimes and struggle in the knowledge. I hope I actually learn what I need to know before my time comes!
    12. What do you think this means for the invisible church, true believers of every tribe and nation? For the local church?
    I’m not sure I understand this question. Do you mean each must die to their earthly needs and focus on their heavenly need? As a church should we pray more instead of giving money? I don’t think the church leaders would like that! You need money to help people.
    What do you mean by “invisible church?” Are you saying people who don’t go to church but are believers? In this case I think it is like I said above….these people need to understand that God wants us to have corporate fellowship, so they may need to step outside themselves and learn to go to church. Die to their insecurity and get going! 
    “Tribes” I don’t get because I don’t live in places where they exist. I suppose these people may not even have places to go and worship. Maybe they have to learn to construct actual churches themselves to have a place of worship? They would have to die to their fear of accomplishment perhaps? Maybe they would round the skilled people of the tribe and get them to teach others basic construction techniques. The women and children could occupy themselves and make food for the hungry laborers. 
    Nations I can handle; I live in a wealthy (getting less so) country where our money is used to buy lots of “stuff.” Some of this stuff is important; shoes for people’s feet, food to live, and payment of mortgages on houses. However, a lot of the money goes for pleasure; we take vacations, buy the latest clothing styles, and electronics….perhaps we, as a country should think more about less spending and more praying? Maybe we give some of our pleasure spending money to the churches so they can get back to what they do best; helping people? Our country has turned into what the churches used to be. Because, it seems, that churches are dying, the government thinks it should pick up where the churches left off. I think the churches need to get back to that idea of helping others succeed. Our church has a church garden. We can always get cukes, tomatoes, and squash if we want. The tomatoes are to DIE for (no pun intended)! If you want to help with the garden then you can. If you don’t, that’s okay too. You still get to eat ?. In this case, we are dying to our individual needs and rising to help the corporate need of our church members. Jesus would like that. 

  4. 13. Read Psalm 45:13-16 and discover what happens to this bride.
    Basically, she is blessed.

  5. Notes on the Mike Reeves Lecture
    The aim is not to equip you to do anything, not to change your behavior.  Our aim is to go much, much deeper.  It is to deal with our hearts.   It is to deal with what we love, with what we desire.   With the things, in fact, which drive our behavior.   We hope that these (sessions) might stir up in you a deeper delight in God, so you leave with a deeper taste for God – so you leave thinking from the bottom of your heart that you rejoice in such a good God.   Hope that you will leave with a more enjoyed Christianity. 
    Jonathan Edwards was a joy-filled and affectionate father, husband, and believer.  He was a British pastor living in the first half of the 18th century in New England.   Many rationalists of that day said Christianity is knowing about God.   It is knowing the truth of the Gospel (full stop).  Edwards could not have disagreed more strongly – that is NOT Christianity!    Edwards paraphrased Dane Aukland:   If the modern world is saying the brain is where it is all at – over the affections – that’s really what is important, we could sign up the demons to teach it, because surely they understand the truth of the gospel better than anyone.   But another way exists, because what makes demons fundamentally different from saints – Saints delight in God; demons gnash their teeth at Him.    In James 2:19 – You believe there is one God?   Good!   Even the demons believe that and shudder.   And so what marks out the believer?   Aukland is saying and James is saying is not a mere knowledge of the truth, but a new inner relish – a delight in God.  
    Edwards says the devil once seemed to be religious in Luke 8.   When the devil saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before him and with a loud voice said, “What am I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high?   I beseech thee, torment me not.”     Here, says Edwards , is external worship.   The devil is religious – he prays.  He prays in a humble posture.  He falls down before Christ.  He lies prostrate.  He prays honestly.  He cries with a loud voice.  He uses humble expressions.   He uses respectful, honorable, adoring expressions – Jesus, thou Son of God most high.   Nothing was wanting or lacking, says Edwards.  Nothing was lacking but LOVE!   
    So Edwards is saying we can do all sorts of Christian stuff.   We can pray.  We can behave outwardly as the devil did, with the appearance of holiness, but if we do not have an actual heart love for God, it is like this:      If a wife should carry it very well to her husband (She does nice things for him), but doesn’t actually have any love for him, but for other reasons, which her husband knows about, would he at all delight in her outwardly out of respect anymore than if a wooden image would contrive to make respectful motions in his presence?   It is like she doesn’t actually love him at all, but she is doing the nice things like “Here is a cup of tea.”   He might say she is a great wife, bringing him a cup of tea (like a slave), but he is not delighting in a loving wife.   And that is the problem you have, if your relationship with God is one of mere external performance without any internal actual enjoyment, delight in, and love for God.  
    One of Edwards’ greatest books was The Religious Affections.   This is his thesis sentence: True religion in great part consists in holy affections.”    He says when someone is converted, they are palpably moved.   The motion of the blood, the animal spirits begin to be sensibly altered to love for Christ and joy in Him.   
    The first thing God does to us in salvation is this: He gives the heart a divine taste of sense.  He causes it to have a relish of the loveliness and sweetness of the supreme excellency of the divine nature.   Reeves says we don’t hear the word “loveliness” used in this way much.   It is striking that Edwards uses this word.   Edwards says this is all the immediate effect of the divine power there is.    This is all the spirit of God needs to do.   That is how all good is produced – by the spirit of God opening your eyes to see the supreme loveliness and sweetness of God.  The word “sweetness” is absolutely key for Edwards.    A man may understand that honey is sweet.   The second man loves honey and greatly delight in it because he knows the sweet taste of it.   That’s how it is with conversion.   It is “I have tasted and see that the Lord is good.”   
    Edwards says that is why God gives us preachers.   God has ordained preaching to affect sinners – to stir up the minds of the saints, quicken their affections by bringing the things of the gospel before them.   God gives preachers to promote these two affections in the saints – love and joy.  What a definition of preaching!    It is not that I have a passage open in front of me and do you see my 8 points in it?   Okay!   Goodbye!   It is to put these things before the people in their proper colors so that they might come to love Christ and have joy in the end.   We can see overall where he is going:  
    Being a Christian is all about loving, delighting in Him, having a taste for, enjoying Christ.  Isn’t that a high, warm, attractive vision of Christianity?   Enjoying Christ!      Being a Christian isn’t about sin– it is about the opposite.   Sin is about having a hardness, a coldness of heart.   Simply not moved or affected by the beauty of Christ at all.   So he is highly wary of the rationalists of his day.  He is thinking of people who are so skeptical of affections.   They teach that religion is the intellect simply choosing the right logical path.  If it is so much about enjoying God, how do you cultivate that enjoyment?   
    Reeves points out something the is critical here. Edwards is trying to make a distinction to medieval Roman Catholicism.   Basically grace had come to be seen as some stuff.  God is up there, and we are down here, but God gives us this stuff called Grace.   In Medieval Roman Catholicism, grace was supposed to become like a spiritual adrenaline shot   So Catholics would pray “Hail Mary full of grace.”   It is like Mary is a bottle and she has got lots of this stuff in her called grace.  But when the angel appears to Mary in Luke, he is actually saying “Hail Mary, you who are highly favored.  Hail Mary, freely beloved.”   It is that the Lord has been kind to her which means the delight of the Christian is not in some thing called salvation or grace or whatever it is.  The delight of the Christian is in the Lord who is gracious.  
    Edwards was aware that it is very possible for someone to have an interest in the gospel, but it is not actually that they love Christ at all.  Christ has bought them something they want – they are using Christ as eternal fire insurance.   Christ gets me heaven, and that is really what I want for me. I want heaven, not really him.  That is the danger of hypocrisy.   But the true Christian enjoys, desires, and delights in Him.
    How can we grow in a heart-felt, sincere , real enjoyment of Christ?    By knowing that He is supremely enjoyable.   This is exactly the reason we don’t want to spend time with the Lord, because we don’t actually think He is that great.   Other things seem better than Him.   So I’d rather spend my time with other things.  Edwards’ answer:   God is God and distinguished from all other beings and exacted above them chiefly by his divine beauty.   Reeves says that is an immensely surprising thing to hear.   This is holiness language being used here, right?   Doesn’t holiness come off as sort of off-putting?   If holiness means to be set apart – we think, “Set apart are you?    Too pure for the rest us, eh?”   That tone comes across when people say things like God is loving but He is holy.   You have the nice side – loving, but then you have the other – the holiness will stop him from being too loving.   This is as if holiness is something different.  Holiness is the beauty and sweetness of the divine nature.   In reality we are cold, selfish, vicious.   God is holy, distinguished from us.    There are no ugly traits in Him.   In reality, God is more attractive, more desirable, more beautiful, more enjoyable than anything else.   If we feel there is dark tyrannical, off-puttingness about God, it is because we are thinking of our idolatrous notion of God rather than the living God.   He who is once brought to see or rather to taste the superlative loveliness of the divine being will need no more to make him long for the enjoyment of God.    
    The atheist Christopher Hitchins thinks of God as the cosmic, North Korean style dictator.   Raw absolute power.   This is how non-Christians describe the God they don’t believe in.   It isn’t just non-Christians failing to see the beauty of the living God of reality is crippling Christians everywhere today.   
    Reeves began comparing Scripture passages that Edwards had pointed out: 
    Psalm 27:4, Psalm 84:10, Ezekiel 1:28, Ezekiel 10, Isaiah 60:1, Luke 2, Revelation 21:23.   John 12:24, Isaiah 42:1-8, I John 3:1. Hebrews 1:3. 
    All of these passages had to do with God’s essence being radiance and glory – a shining light.  
    God shines His glory on us, revealing His innermost being to us and that enlightens us – it is like light to our eyes.   It also communicates the heart of warmth.   As our eyes are opened, our hearts are drawn to Him.   God does not aim at receiving, but that he may go forth.   The point is not that He can have His rays reflected back to Himself, but that the rays may go forth.  He delights in loving.   His people rejoice and enjoy how good He is.   Hebrews 1:3 calls Jesus the radiance of God’s glory.  Jesus goes out from the Father, so He is the glory of God, exactly showing what the Father is.   
    When you see that this God is a God of spreading love, His innermost being is overflowing love and kindness, you get to enjoy Him as He reveals Himself.   He shares all that is His with us through Christ.   Isn’t that a gospel?      

  6. What is my take-a-way this week and why?
    I am once again overwhelmed by the visual in Psalm 45 of how much the God of the universe, my bridegroom, loves and cherishes me. I am undone by the fact that He sees me beautiful and desires a close and intimate relationship with me. He radiates His love and kindness to me through Jesus whether I feel deserving or not and this unravels me. All He wants is for me to enjoy Him and radiate His love to others. I so often fall short in sending out those rays of love and kindness to others around me. That being said, this week’s study has caused me to want to simply spend more time with God, enjoying Him. I also want to continue to smash idols in my life in order to open up more space for Him to reside inside of me.

  7. 10. So, we must ask ourselves, what does God mean when he says, “leave your people and your father’s house?” We’ve discussed This before…I don’t remember when or in what context but I do remember my take-a-way was that our identity does not come from our upbringing or anything else that this world uses to label and identify but we go with Him, we find our identity, our family, our “standing” with him. We leave all preconceived notions and expectations behind as we embrace our newfound selves within Him.
    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? Oh goodness… The death that comes to mind isn’t one that has been fully resurrected yet, but it is control over my children. The way I want to make them what they “should be”. But I miss the Forrest for the tree! They are on their own journey with the Lord, to become their own selves with their own calling from God. There is a huge difference in rearing my children within the path and making them into a “good product”. Gazing on His beauty reminds me of who He is and who I am not. I cannot control my children nor their path. I can only trust Him in what He has given both me and my kids. And His beauty reminds me: He is good and trustworthy and faithful. So I die to self and selfish desires and strive to see Him. It softens my heart and gives confidence in the steps to be taken.
    12. What do you think this means for the invisible church, true believers of every tribe and nation? For the local church? That we must separate ourselves from “tradition” for the sake of tradition. Our actions must be motivated by the love of Christ, not a “it’s what we do and are comfortable with.”  This may mean that we continue tradition because it is good and someho encourages our faith and our remembrance, but it may mean to find a new way for things to look and we can do this without fear because we have our identity in Christ, our approval in Christ and not anything else…..we can embrace one another in love and the common purpose of seeking Him and glorifying Him.
    13. Read Psalm 45:13-16 and discover what happens to this bride. She enters the palace of the king with joy and gladness.