We continue today in the Psalms of the Sons of Korah, and I’m going to focus exclusively on Psalm 45. It is introduced as “For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song (or a song of love). Listen to the first three verses:
My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty!
Focus in on that middle verse: “You are the most handsome among men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever.” This is a Psalm of praise about the human king of God’s people. It is about the king in Jerusalem, not the King above.
Later on, things get even more complicated when the king’s new bride is encouraged to “forget your people and your father's house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him. Though there is a brief centerpiece acknowledging God above: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,” even this is unclear about its subject, since the rest of the stanza concerns the king in Jerusalem.
Which leads to the questions I want to address today: what makes a Psalm, a Psalm? Why is this one included in the worship book? Does the mere mention of God allow it to qualify? Is there a nostalgia for the bygone kingdom days, connecting the theme of memory from the previous Psalm?
It’s not enough to say, “It’s in the Bible, so it’s supposed to be there.” Someone – many “someones” – over hundreds of years, considered this Psalm as worthy to be included in the worship catalog. God has preserved it here for thousands of years. Yet it is unlike anything else. Read it closely. What do you notice? Is it about the past, the present, or the future? Does it even matter to figure this out? Meditate on it, and see what you discover.
Our verse for this week is 2 Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
Psalms 44 through 50. Now let’s read it!
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,