You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. (Psalm 45:2)
I was drawn to Psalm 45 recently. The NIV bible has this instruction preceding the Psalm: For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song. This Psalm is about a Royal wedding, bringing to mind all the sights, sounds, movement, splendor and emotions of the occasion. The song falls into two parts – the first is addressed to the king – the second, addressed to the bride. You can just feel the longing, the love between the bride and the groom as you read this psalm.
The language and images of this psalm are very similar to the Song of Solomon. Psalm 45:2 reminds me of the following passage, a description by the bride of her lover.
10 My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand. 13 His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume. His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh. 16 His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
(Song of Solomon 5:10, 13)
Notice the lips in both of these passages – anointed with grace – lilies dripping with myrrh – his mouth is sweetness itself. The lover in these passages point to Jesus Christ, the Messiah King. His lips – His words are full of grace and truth (Luke 4:22, John 1:14). His words are sweet to the taste and more precious than gold (Psalm 119:103, Psalm 19:10). His words are strong, satisfying like lilies – life sustaining (Matthew 4:4). The bride longs for the ‘kisses’ of her lover; His lips, His words, His presence.
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth- For your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; Therefore the virgins love you. Draw me away!
(Song of Solomon 1:2-4)
If you’ve ever been in love, you’ll recognize this feeling. Your heart grows faint, you feel those butterflies in your stomach just thinking of the one you love. It’s a thrill just to be in your loved one’s presence; you hang on each word. This love is so strong you can’t keep it to yourself — you just have to tell the one you love how you feel. It’s no coincidence that both Psalm 45 and the Song of Solomon are love songs. What better way to express your love!
In the same way, we are happier and more complete when we express our love for God in praise. C. S. Lewis says it like this, “It’s not out of a compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are. The delight is incomplete until it is expressed. In the same way, we delight to praise God because our praise of him not merely expresses, but it completes our enjoyment.”
Have you ever thought of your praise and worship time as a time to express your love of the Lord to the Lord? To express your love of the Lord to the Lord as a bride or lover would — in a love song?
At first this idea of being Christ’s bride and expressing my love for Christ as my bridegroom caught me off guard. I’d always thought of Jesus as more of a Father or friend. I never really considered him as a bridegroom, a lover. I’d never really thought of singing a love song to Him in private or corporate worship. It made me feel totally unworthy. Then I remembered the following scripture.
8 I am the LORD, who makes you holy. 26 You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.
(Leviticus 20:8, 26)
It is the Lord who makes you holy. It is the Lord who makes the church holy. It is the Lord who prepares the church as His bride.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25)
It is the Lord who clothes us/ the bride with garments of salvation and robes of righteousness, with jewels.
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
It is the Lord who crowns us / the bride with splendor.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, [Hephzibah means my delight is in her] and your land Beulah [Beulah means married]; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons [builder] marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
We the bride belong to the bridegroom. He has summoned us by name.
But now, this is what the LORD says- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, I am not the Christ [Messiah] but am sent ahead of him. The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
The bride – the wife of the Lamb is beautiful.
The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.
6 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. 7 All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you. 10 How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice! 11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon.
(Song of Solomon 4:6-7, 10-11)
2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
(Revelation 21:2, 9-10)
So if it is the Lord who sets us apart, makes us holy, crowns us with splendor, and makes us beautiful — what do we have to do?
Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
‘Kiss the Son’ – the Hebrew translates nashqu bar as “pay homage in good faith” or “pay homage in purity”. The homage is to the Lord of Psalm 2:2 and to the Son of Psalm 2:7 — the Messiah King. Homage, kissing a King also implies submission. The Greek word for worship captures this idea – proskuneo – to kiss the hand toward, to do reverence or homage by kissing the hand, to bow oneself in adoration. This is to pay homage in recognition of royalty, to show submission to a king, to be under the king’s reign.
Are you willing to ‘Kiss the Son’ – ‘Kiss the Messiah King’ – ‘Kiss the bridegroom’?
His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this my friend…
(Song of Solomon 5:16)
Why not express your love to Jesus the Messiah King, the lover of your soul today? Sing a love song to Him and see if your joy, your delight in Him is not made more complete.