Ride on! Ride on in Majesty!
Palm Sunday, April 5, 2009
To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.” A Contemplation of the Sons of Korah. A Song of Love.
1My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
2You are fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured upon Your lips; therefore God has blessed You forever. 3Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, with Your glory and Your majesty. 4And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; and Your right hand shall teach You awesome things. 5Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; the peoples fall under You. 6Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions. 8All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made You glad. 9Kings’ daughters are among Your honorable women; at Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir. 10Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your own people also, and your father’s house; 11so the King will greatly desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, worship Him. 12And the daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; the rich among the people will seek your favor. 13The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace; her clothing is woven with gold. 14She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors; the virgins, her companions who follow her, shall be brought to You. 15With gladness and rejoicing they shall be brought; they shall enter the King’s palace.
16Instead of Your fathers shall be Your sons, whom You shall make princes in all the earth. 17I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.
· Psalm 45 is a beautiful Messianic Psalm. The Father said verses 6 and 7 to the Son. How do we know this? Hebrews 1.8-9 reveals it is so.
· Just as with other OT passages, this Psalm fulfills is dual purpose: 1) It captures the beauty and splendor of a royal wedding in Israel (Solomon’s); 2) It captures the beauty and splendor of Christ’s triumphant entrance into the city of Jerusalem.
· It is obvious as to why the Psalm cannot be limited to an ancient wedding context. Jesus is the King who will ride on in majesty! Jesus is the King who will one day set up His millennial kingdom. The triumphant entry becomes a sliver of things yet to come.
· Understanding weddings in ancient Israel:
o Betrothal - a formal act beyond our idea of engagement; a legal procedure enacted before witnesses and confirmed by oaths taken by the couple. For all intents and purposes, the couple became husband and wife yet without a physical union. Mary and Joseph were betrothed to one another. When Joseph found that Mary was with child, a divorce was required to put Mary away, albeit secretly.
o Dowry - provided by the husband’s family; took time to procure it and led to long delays between the betrothal and the wedding.
§ Friends and attendants of the bride gathered at her home. She prepared herself in the finest clothing and jewelry possible.
§ Friends and attendants of the groom gathered at his home. A great procession traveled through the streets of the city. The groom and his attendants traveled to receive the bride.
§ A second procession made up of both the bride’s party and the groom’s party filtered their way back to the groom’s home.
§ A joyful wedding feast, lasting as long as two weeks (depending on the status and wealth of the groom’s party), followed the processions. See Matt 25; The Parable of the Ten Virgins.
Explanation: This beautiful Psalm begins with a note from its author, a son of Korah. He has a heart overflowing as he presents his composition concerning the King. It’s a good theme from a skilled writer moved by God’s Spirit. If this Psalm depicted Solomon’s wedding, that would be one thing; but to depict a heavenly wedding with the infinite God-Man as the groom - that is something altogether different. It is the noblest and grandest of themes.
Characteristics of the King (45.2-9)
Explanation: The psalmist introduces the King:
1. He is fairer than the sons of men - as the Lily of the Valley, Jesus is the fairest of 10,000 to the believer’s soul. He attracts people to Himself - an inner beauty.
2. Grace saturates his speech. All “bore witness to [Jesus], and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” (Lk 4.22a). Both the beauty of the King’s disposition and the gracious words He speaks promote eternal blessing from God.
3. The King wears a sword upon His thigh. He is the Mighty One - glorious and majestic - “out of His mouth [will go] a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance” will shine link the strong noon-day sun (cf. Rev 1.16). Upon His thigh is His name: “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev 19.16). Ride on, O King! Ride on in majesty! “In Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness” (45.4):
a. His ride is prosperous because of truth. Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us …full of grace and truth (Jn 1.14). Jesus is truth personified. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14.6).
b. His ride is prosperous because of humility. “Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Matt 21.5).
c. His ride is prosperous because of righteousness. John, the apostle, “saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He (that is, Jesus) who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war” (Rev 19.11).
4. The King conquers not in the way expected. His weapons are truth, humility, and righteousness. When Jesus came the first time, His life ended at the cross. Yet He triumphed even though His enemies arrested, condemned and crucified Him.
Ride on! Ride on in Majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die,
Bow Thy meek head to mortal pain,
Then take, O God, Thy pow’r and reign.
5. Our weaponry is not carnal. We cannot take spiritual ground by brute force. Ephesians 6:17 urges us to “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The King’s might will meet the enemies of righteousness. He will pursue them and one day utterly defeat them. His arrows are sharp and lethal in the heart of His enemies. All nations will bow before Jesus Christ.
6. The throne of Christ (called God by the writer) is forever and ever. The writer could not have meant that the historical king of this psalm was God. This earthly king simply stood in the place of Jesus Christ, representing Him. There is only one eternal King.
a. He holds a scepter of righteousness. It is the scepter of His kingdom.
i. “The scepter shall not depart from Judah” (Gen 49.10).
ii. He is a “Star …out of Jacob; a Scepter” rising out of Israel (Num 24.17).
b. He loves righteousness and hates wickedness. God the Father has anointed this eternal King Jesus with the oil of gladness. He has done this more than He had for His companions. It is an abundant anointing and cause of great joy and gladness.
“For to which of the angels did [the Father] ever say: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”? …8But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
7. All His garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia. The myrrh is a gift from another king shortly after His birth. When Jesus left the ivory palaces; He became King and was glad to do His Father’s will.
8. The daughters of other kings were among the honorable wedding guests. They were considered the most prestigious attendants in the wedding.
9. The queen stands at the right hand of the King in gold from Ophir - always considered the highest quality of gold. King Jehoshaphat attempted to send merchant ships to gather gold in Ophir.
1. Jesus came through the gates of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as a triumphant king. He did so because He was to begin a week that would culminate in His death and burial. The beginning of the next week would mark His resurrection. He was victorious in truth, humility, and righteousness.
2. The bride of Christ consists of all those who believe in His work upon the cross. He sanctifies His bride and cleanses her with the water of His Word. He does this in order to present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish (cf. Eph 5.27).
3. As the bride of Christ, we have our place at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19.9).
Song of Solomon 8:6-7
“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised.”
Anticipation of the Bride (45.10-15)
Explanation: The psalmist implores the bride to listen, consider, and incline her ear. He has advice for her. Her husband needs to be the primary object of affection in her life. Genesis 2:24 states that “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” If she followed this advice, the King would greatly desire her beauty. The bride must honor her husband. She must do so because he is now her authority. Genesis 2:18 records the words of the Lord God: “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
If the bride did what the psalmist advised, then she would have favor and respect of powerful people (daughter of Tyre).
The daughter has a king for her father. She comes into the palace as a glorious one in fine clothing woven with gold. A robe of many colors is draped over her. She is attended to by her companions. She is brought to the King. All come with gladness and rejoicing into the King’s palace.
Application: This passage well-develops the great blessing of being part of the bride of Christ:
1. We must forget the past.
a. If we desire to come after Christ, we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily, and follow Him (Lk 9.23).
b. If we desire to come after Christ and do not hate father, mother, wife, children, siblings, and our own lives, we cannot be His disciple (Lk 14.26).
c. Nothing must keep us from wholehearted devotion to Jesus Christ. We forget the past, leave all other relationships behind, and center on our King.
2. We must worship our King. Worship means to bow down. The bride humbly reveres her King. We bow down to Christ not only because He is Almighty God; we bow because He is our Lord and Husband.
3. We must anticipate the future.
a. Against everything inside of me (with the exception of the indwelling Holy Spirit), I believe that the Word of God makes it clear that my King will greatly desire me.
b. I will be honored and given favor because of my relationship with Him (v. 12).
c. The gladness and rejoicing I experience will not cease. It is eternal.
We will enter the King’s palace one day. When we do, we must remember that “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2.9
Conclusion (vv. 16-17):
· The fathers that preceded the King would fade in the mists of time, but the sons would become princes in all the earth. The name of the King would be remembered in all generations. They would praise Him forever and ever.
· How could we think that John did not have in mind Psalm 45 when he wrote the following:
Revelation 19:6-21 (NKJV)
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 10And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” 11Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”