Psalm 45, which is subtitled "A Song of loves," begins with these words: "My heart is indicting a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made concerning the king." When the psalmist says that his heart is "indicting," this means that his heart is gushing and overflowing with excitement about the king. The reason for the psalmist's excitement is because this king is no ordinary king, but King Messiah, as the psalm soon reveals.
"Thou art fairer than the children of men," the next verse says, "grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever." Both Jews and Christians recognize the king in this psalm as King Messiah. The Jewish Targum renders verse 2 (verse 3 in Jewish Bibles) "Thy beauty, O King Messiah, is greater than that of the sons of men" (Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Appendix IX, p. 718). The New Testament quotes from this psalm and says that it refers to the Son of God. (See Hebrews 1:8f.)
The psalmist says that King Messiah is fairer than the children of men, more beautiful than the sons of Adam. Isaiah, on the other hand, said that "he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Isa. 53:2). How do we reconcile these two seemingly contradictory prophetic statements? The most likely explanation is that the psalmist is speaking about Messiah's inward spiritual beauty, while Isaiah is speaking about His external appearance. Isaiah is not saying that the Messiah would be ugly or unattractive; he is just saying that there was nothing extraordinary about Yeshua's external appearance. Outwardly, physically, He looked like a typical Jew. He had no halo over His head, as Renaissance artists have portrayed Him. He didn't walk around with glazed eyes like a zombie, as some Hollywood films have portrayed Him. He didn't sew a big Hebrew letter "Mem" for Mashiach on his robe to identify Himself as the Messiah. Outwardly He looked like a typical first century Palestinian Jew. Yet He had an inward beauty which made Him fairer than the children of men.
The psalmist links Yeshua's beauty to the grace which was poured into His lips. At the synagogue of Nazareth, the people "wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth" (Lk. 4:22). They were stunned. "Is not this Joseph's son?" they asked.
Grace was poured into His lips, the psalmist says. The Hebrew word for grace, chen, is translated "charm" in the Stone Tanach--"charm is poured upon your lips." Charm. That is what drew me to Jesus, the charm of His words. When I read the Gospels for the first time, I was charmed, I was enchanted, I was mesmerized, I was captivated by His gracious words. I felt like the men who said of Yeshua, "Never man spake like this man."
The psalmist's heart was overflowing with excitement about the King, and our hearts should be overflowing with excitement about the King, too. Think of it. The King! That is exactly what the world needs. Not just any king, though. Not even just a good king. The world needs King Messiah, the one and only perfect King.
When Yeshua returns as King, He is not going to govern this world by democracy. When He returns, there will be neither a need nor a place for democracy to exist, because His Kingdom will be a Theocratic Monarchy. Yeshua is going to rule as a Monarch, not like some elected official who can be voted out of office the following term. If you look in a thesaurus, you will find that one synonym for the word monarch is the word dictator. Americans don't like the idea of dictators, because most dictators are selfish and oppressive and ruthless. But a dictator is just someone who dictates. He gives commands. He tells people what to do, and expects them to do it. In this sense, Yeshua will rule the earth as a dictator.
Sometimes Kings have to make war. The psalmist continues this psalm of King Messiah with these words: "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee" (vs. 3-5).
The King's intention is to establish truth, meekness, and righteousness in His Kingdom. Unfortunately, not all people are willing to embrace truth, meekness, and righteousness. Therefore the King must deal with the enemies of truth, meekness, and righteousness. He becomes a Warrior King and takes up the sword and arrows to establish His throne.
Of that throne, the psalmist says, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." Here is another Scripture that proves the Deity of the Messiah. We don't have to understand all the "how" details of the Incarnation. We only have to accept the testimony of Scripture, and believe that in some way Yeshua was the Incarnation of God.
"Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest iniquity," the psalmist continues, "therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee above thy fellows." King Messiah not only loves, He hates. He loves righteousness and hates iniquity.
Notice also that it was His love of righteousness and His hatred of iniquity that brought the anointing: "therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." The reason Yeshua received a surpassing love of righteousness and His surpassing hatred of iniquity. There is an important lesson here for anyone who desires the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Your measure of the Holy Spirit's "oil of gladness" will be determined by the measure of your love for righteousness and your hatred of iniquity. A shallow love of righteousness and a shallow hatred of iniquity will bring a shallow anointing of the Holy Spirit. A deep love of righteousness and a deep hatred of iniquity will bring a deep anointing of the Holy Spirit.
The deeper your love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity, the deeper the anointing you will experience. And the deeper the anointing you experience, the more you will send forth the fragrance of the King, whose "garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassai, out of the ivory palaces." This is the fragrance of King Messiah, and this is the fragrance which King Messiah's Bride is to bear.
The Bride is described in verse nine as "the queen in gold of Ophir." This verse is immediately followed by some instructions that are addressed specifically to the Bride of King Messiah: "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house. So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him" (vs. 10f).
Notice that these instructions to the Bride are preceded by a four-fold introduction to get her attention: Hearken. O daughter. Consider. Incline thine ear. The Holy Spirit wants to make sure the Bride is listening before these instructions are given. This should tell us that these instructions are important. The Bride needs to listen closely and consider what she is told to do. The instructions are brief ("forget also thine own people, and thy father's house") but they are important, because obeying these instructions will cause the King to greatly desire thy beauty.
"Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house." How are these instructions relevant to us as the Bride of King Messiah? If you are familiar with the Torah, the psalmist's picture of a beautiful bride being told by a victorious warrior to forget her own people and her father's house may remind you of the Torah portion ki teste, "When thou goest forth." The passage begins this way: "When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and Yahweh thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife" (Deut. 21:10-13).
Psalm 45 makes these Torah instructions about a captive bride spiritually relevant and very meaningful. In Psalm 45 Messiah is pictured as a Warrior King who goes forth to war against His enemies. He girds His sword on His thigh, leaves the ivory palaces of heaven, rides in majesty, and subdues His enemies. Among those whom He subdues, He sees a beautiful woman, a body of people who can be redeemed to collectively become His Bride. He has a desire unto her, that He would have her as His Bride. Like the bride in the Torah portion, Messiah's Bride is a Captive Bride. But she is also a Captivated Bride. She is captivated by Messiah's charm and beauty and glory. As a matter of fact, it is the charm, beauty, and glory of her Conqueror that has conquered her will and captivated her heart and captured her love.
Notice in the Torah portion that before the captive woman attains the status of the man's bride, she must first go through a process of preparation and purification, a "renunciation of her former heathendom" (Hertz Commentary, p. 840). This parallels the spiritual process we need to go through to become part of Messiah's Bride. First, the woman is brought home to the man's house. We first must be brought into the household of faith by believing in Yeshua. Secondly, the woman shaves her head and pares her nails and puts off the raiment of her captivity. This is a picture of how we must strip away those things which were a part of our former life. We have to shed our bad habits and strip away our old identity. Just as the woman was told to put off her raiment of captivity, we are told in the New Testament to "put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts" (Eph. 4:22). "But now you also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth" (Col. 3:8). Thirdly, the woman must remain in the man's house and bewail her father and mother—in other words, as worded in Psalm 45, forget her own people and her father's house. After that, she can become the man's bride.
Those of us who were conquered, captured, and captivated by Yeshua are called to be His Bride, collectively speaking. What does it mean for us to forget our own people and our father's house? For those of us in America, it means to quit being so American in our thinking, especially in regards to spiritual matters. We don't need to be unpatriotic or anti-American, but we do need to "forget our own (American) people" when discerning spiritual truth and trying to understand how our King wants us to live. We need to quit letting worldly American culture influence us.
The typical worldly American's highest priorities are getting money, serving the employer, and keeping the appointed times at the job. Serving the Lord and keeping His appointed times to assemble for worship are very low on the list of the worldly American's priorities, if they are on the list at all. However, the Lord tells us that our highest priority should be to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and trust our Heavenly Father for our physical and economic needs. (See Matthew 6:33.) This is the exact opposite of the typical worldly American's order of priorities. When determining the relative importance of things, we need to forget our own American people, and let the Lord tell us which things matter most.
We also need to forget our own American people when we think about what Yeshua is like. He was not a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Republican. He was a dark-skinned Galilean Jew whose only political interest was the Kingdom of God. He didn't go to church on Sundays, or celebrate Christmas or Easter, or eat pork. Some Christians think, "Yeah, but that's only because he had the misfortune of being born a Jew before the Law was abolished. If He had been born in twentieth-century America, I bet He would have been a Christian and done all those things!" (I think that Christians who think this way secretly wish Jesus had been born someplace in America's Bible belt.)
In order to be the Bride whose beauty the King greatly desires, we have to break free of the influence of the ungodly worldly culture around us. We have to hearken, consider, and incline our ear to the King's command to forget our own people. If there are truly good things and truly good people in your nation and culture, it's okay to be proud of those things and to honor those people. But there is no place in God's Kingdom for any kind of ethnocentricism or national pride that causes you to view others with scorn or contempt.
Those who hearken, consider, incline their ear, and break free from the ungodly influence of the world around them are "all glorious within." They are purified and prepared to be a suitable Bride for King Messiah. Psalm 45 (and this article) ends with these words: "She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace. Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth. I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever."
Join us for Sukkot in Illinois!
Our local congregation, Restored Covenant Community, is hosting Sukkot at Zion Oaks in Pekin, Oct 13-21, 2019.
Click Here for Details!
Click Here to Donate to Gates of Eden
Image (Top): Leah and Rachel in Blue, an original painting by Daniel Botkin from his Monochromatic Monotheistic art Gallery on DanielBotkin.com