The 45th Psalm provides us with a beautiful picture of Christ and His bride. A great marriage is about to take place, and the writer is "boiling over" with ecstasy and excitement: "My heart is inditing [boiling over] a good matter..." (Psalm 45:1).
The psalmist can hardly contain himself. He is trying to describe something he sees in his mind's eye — an incredible ceremony, with a grand and glorious Bridegroom and a beautiful bride dressed in gold!
Several years ago, the entire world was mesmerized by the royal wedding in England. Millions around the globe were glued to TV sets as Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married. It was one of the most glamorous and celebrated of weddings in modern history.
TV networks had "color commentators" who described every detail of the proceedings. News clips showed the princely, regal life of Charles — his polo matches, his duties as prince, and his inheritance as the next king of England — his throne, his riches, his palace.
The commentators also described in exquisite detail everything about Princess Di. And the picture was incredible: her hairstyle, her royal gown, her retinue, her shoes, her ornaments, her ring, her flowers, her royal carriage. Even during the wedding ceremony, as the couple stood together at the altar, a commentator whispered details into a microphone: "Isn't she beautiful? Look at her shoes, her flowers..."
It was romantic, breathtaking — a prince and a princess united in holy marriage "until death do part." People all over the globe wept at the sight. But today we have lived to see this marriage disintegrate into one of the most sordid, ugly breakups on the face of the earth!
The marriage described in Psalm 45, on the other hand, is a union far more glorious and grand. It too is full of romance, beauty, majesty — but it is a marriage that will never end. It is meant for eternal glory!
This Wedding Is All About King Jesus Taking A Bride!
At this very moment, you and I are seated in heavenly places with King Jesus. Yet, much greater than that, we are engaged to Him! And soon a grand and glorious marriage will take place — a majestic royal wedding beyond anything this world has ever seen. The commentator for this marriage is the Holy Spirit, who unfolds to us a glorious scene:
- King Jesus is standing before His throne — His royal scepter in His hand, His garments full of the wonderful aroma of myrrh and aloes. He has come from the ivory palace of His Father, where He has been anointed with the oil of gladness.
- He is dressed in His full military regalia. His glittering sword is strapped upon His thigh. He has conquered all His enemies, and His kingdom is secure. He reigns in peace and power, Victor over all. And, Scripture says, He is "...fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips..." (Psalm 45:2).
- Every battle this King has fought — every enemy He has laid low, every act of grace and mercy He has provided - has been for His bride. It all has been meant for this moment. And now He is ecstatic, beaming with joy, full of excitement — because He anticipates being joined to His beautiful bride. He gazes down the long corridor of the palace, waiting for her to approach with all her retinue!
The psalmist tells us that the Bridegroom could have chosen a bride from many honorable daughters in the kingdom. "Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women..." (Psalm 45:9). But He chose only one: "...upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir" (same verse).
Now, Ophir gold was the purest, most refined gold made in those days. And this bride is adorned in it. What a sight she is, as she is "...brought unto the king..." (verse 14). She absolutely glows, because her heart is pure.
Her golden gown glistens with incredible needlework. This isn't some broad cloth picked out of endless yards; it has been intricately interwoven with threads of the purest gold. And its gold ornaments shine forth spectacularly.
The queen in gold marches toward the King with great fanfare. And what a glorious sound - tambourines, trumpets, stringed instruments! Behind her, as far as the eye can see, is her retinue — an army of virgins, all dressed in white, singing, dancing, praising with great joy. The bride is leading the whole procession - and they're coming to meet the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Finally, the queen takes her place at the King's right hand. And everyone is rejoicing — because this is the royal wedding of eternity! "...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" (verses 14-15).
Talk about a Holy-Ghost revival meeting! Can you imagine the scene? This wedding is the purpose, the highlight, of all Creation. There stands King Jesus, His heart full of joy. And here comes His bride — the redeemed of mankind — dressed in pure gold, the righteousness of Christ!
Yet, I want to stop here for a moment. So far, this looks like another romantic, royal wedding. My question is: Just who is this bride in gold?
Some commentators say this psalm merely describes an historical marriage between King Joram of Judah and Athaliah. Scholarship shows that there was a great, royal wedding at the time. But to say this psalm is about that wedding is mere conjecture.
I agree with most spiritually-minded scholars that this psalm is messianic. And I believe its message is very clear: It's about Jesus and His bride! The Bridegroom is our King and Lord, Jesus Christ. And the bride is His church — believers who have prepared themselves for His coming — who yearn for Him with great expectancy, and whose hearts are without spot or wrinkle.
"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.... And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
"And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal" (Revelation 21:2, 9-11).
This picture in Revelation 21 is a beautiful picture of the last-day church of Jesus Christ! The great, holy city descending out of heaven is His spotless bride - the overcoming church seated with Him right now in heavenly places. This church is built upon the foundation of gospel truths of the twelve apostles. And it is surrounded by walls and gates that keep out everything impure and uninvited.
Scripture also speaks of a pure, crystal water, which represents a clear conscience. And that is another component of this last-day church: It is transparent, pure, walking in the light — with no other temple but Christ!
As the Queen Stands Before Her Bridegroom, The Wedding About to Begin, the Voice of a Third Party Is Heard!
The queen in gold is honored, favored, greatly adorned. And now she stands at her Beloved's right hand, the marriage about to be performed. But before the ceremony begins, a voice whispers an admonition to her: "Hearken, O daughter, and consider..." (Psalm 45:10).
I believe this voice is the Holy Ghost, warning all who are called by His name. He is speaking a word to overcomers — to those most in love with Jesus — saying, "Harken, consider, listen!" This voice comes to the bride in the final moments just before the marriage is to be consummated.
Now, you must understand — the queen has already been chosen. Her heart has already been won to her Bridegroom. She has left her home, family and country and has committed herself to Him. And she is full of joy because she passionately loves the King.
So, let me ask you: Do you think of yourself as chosen by the Lord? Are you the blood-covered, redeemed apple of His eye? Do you love Him with all your heart? Have you forsaken all the world, all your past, for Him? Can you say, "He is mine, and I am committed to Him. Lord, I love You with all my heart!"
My point is this: If you want to be in the bride of Christ, you must be concerned with more than simply escaping a godless hell. Rather, you must desire not to be absent on that great wedding day! You must shudder at the very thought of not being His bride — of not being in His embrace, not spending eternity with Him.
The Holy Ghost's message to the bride was: "...forget also thine own people, and thy father's house" (Psalm 45:10). The still, small voice was whispering, "It's not enough just to leave your past behind. You must also forget it all — put it out of your mind — all past loves and distractions!"
Jesus said, "...Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33). And the messenger here is saying to the bride, "Are you counting the cost as you prepare to be united to Him? Or are you going to give Him mere lip service after the wedding? Have you started a commitment you're willing to finish? Or does your mind wander back to things of your past — old friends, old habits, old loves? If you commit to this marriage, you must not only leave your past behind — you must forget it completely!"
Are the Holy Spirit's words a call for us to physically leave family, job, career? No — never! His warning isn't an excuse to escape the obligations of marriage or family. In fact, the Bible is full of commands and warnings about providing for our household. We are to cling to our mate, care for our relatives and raise our children in the fear of God.
No, this isn't just a physical call. When Jesus speaks of some "not forsaking all," He is speaking of those who turn from Him and cling to idols. An idol is anything that becomes the sole focus of our devotion — anything that possesses our time, attention, money, love, interest.
"And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers...and followed other gods..." (Judges 2:12).
I Want to Speak Particularly to Husbands And Wives!
I'll address husbands first. Many men can rightly say they are good providers. They work long and hard, don't waste their money, dress their children adequately and spend quality time with their family. But how much time do they devote to Jesus? Do they have what I call a "leaving-and-forgetting time" — a time when they mentally leave and forget everything, setting aside quality time for Jesus alone?
A man can do this on the job, while driving to work, anytime. It's a time to set aside all thoughts of work, family, children and say, "This is Your time, Jesus. I'm Yours alone right now. No one is more important to me!"
Please don't misunderstand me: The problem isn't business or family or career. Rather, it is "loitering" — idle, aimless, lounging around and wasting time. Multitudes of God's people spend their time endlessly loitering — idly spending time with friends or lolling in front of a TV. We loiter away so many precious hours — and we neglect our Lord and Savior!
Now I want to speak to wives: You have given your husband and children the best years of your life. You are hardworking and faithful. You take good care of your family. Yet, I ask you: How much "leaving-and-forgetting time" do you give to Jesus? How many hours a week do you shut the world out and draw close to Him?
Grandfathers, grandmothers, singles, everyone — one day you're going to stand before the judgment seat to account for your time. And God keeps accurate books! He knows exactly how many hours you've spent on "good" things — your children, your spouse, your interests. But He is going to place that on His scales — and then measure it against the few hours you gave Him! Do you think those scales are even going to move?
How jealous the Lord must be over all our other loves — all the things that eat up our time and attention. The old adage is true: It's not the "bad" that is the enemy of the Christian, but the "good": It's family, career, job, children. Yet these things in themselves don't stand between us and the Lord. No — it's our loitering! We could easily take hold of our time for Jesus' sake — but we don't!
Now the Lord stands before us, asking: "...lovest thou me more than these...?" (John 21:15).
Whatever You Love Most Will Get Most of Your Time and Attention!
God is a jealous lover! "...for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God" (Exodus 34:14).
Indeed, it is possible for us to provoke Him to jealousy: "Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?..." (1 Corinthians 10:22). Paul is asking: "You have testified that you love Him. You've even taken His name. Yet, has someone or something else stolen your heart?"
As a faithful shepherd, I am called by the Spirit of God to warn you: When the day of judgment comes, you may not be in the bride of Christ! And when you stand before the Bridegroom, He won't say, "Here is My beloved, who spent so much time with Me.
You couldn't wait to wake up to meet Me, and you didn't go to bed without talking to Me. You have been waiting for Me expectantly — and now we are one. Nothing will part us!"
No! Instead, Jesus will turn His face away from you. He will say, "You loved Me with words — but your heart was far from Me. You went to church and called that 'quality time' with Me. But there was no intimacy, no private time. You were seldom with Me, seldom in My presence. I don't know you. Depart from Me!"
"Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number" (Jeremiah 2:32).
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation..." (Hebrews 2:3).
You can say you love Jesus; you can go to church every time the doors are open. But do you seek Him when your time is your own?
How many books do you devour — how many magazines and newspapers, how much TV and radio — and yet you never give a thought to spending time with Christ? Beloved, time is running out! Soon you'll stand before Jesus. And how will you escape His judgment then, when you have been given every opportunity to know Him now?
Think of whole nations begging for Bibles — old Russian mothers who cry for even a New Testament! Think of the thousands of Eastern European pastors and believers who now sit devouring the Word, weeping at its glorious truth. Then think of your own Bible (if you even know where it is) — and how you neglect it!
Preachers search their Bibles for sermons. Sunday-school teachers study it for lessons. But why do we not turn to it for recreational reading, to be refreshed by our Lord? Why don't we open it to learn of Him, to love Him?
The Bible is Jesus — God's own Word! It is the full revelation of His heart. Everything about Him is unmasked there. And I would think that if you truly love Him — if you expect to spend eternity as His bride — then you'd want to learn everything about Him that you can!
Right now many Christians are being branded in their very souls. Perhaps you are one. Will you go to the judgment with these words marking you: Christ Neglecter? Have you rejected Him, making no time for prayer or His Word? If so, how will you escape?
Many Have Had Their Hearts Won to the Lord — But Have Never Been Satisfied by Him!
It's not enough for Jesus to win your heart. He has to be the satisfaction of your heart! Yet, there are many believers who have never been satisfied with Jesus. They're always up or down according to their circumstances.
That is not a suitable bride for this Bridegroom. No, a certain beauty must adorn His bride in order to attract Him: "So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty..." (Psalm 45:11). But what is this beauty?
You probably have sung of the beauty of holiness: "...worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" (Psalm 29:2). This beauty is beheld in God's eyes; it is what Jesus sees in us that attracts Him. It's what is beautiful about us in His eyes!
And the Holy Ghost is saying to the bride in gold, "If you will lay aside everything, forget all others and adorn yourself for Him alone — then He will desire your beauty!" This means no job, no person, no relationship can come between you!
I heard a godly wife say, "The more godly my husband becomes, the more attractive he is to me." Indeed, that is what a godly marriage is all about. And, likewise, the more you give yourself in entire devotion to the Lord, the more attractive and beautiful you become to Him.
"So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty..." (Psalm 45:11). What an incredible thought: Jesus will not be able to stay away from you! In fact, the Hebrew meaning of beauty here includes the word lust (with righteous connotations). It signifies a strong yearning and desire. In other words, Jesus will draw close to you — overflowing with desire for you!
I have performed many weddings in my lifetime. And there was never a groom who didn't smile with delight at his bride, thinking, "She's all mine!" Beloved, that is the beauty I'm talking about. Our Bridegroom rejoices, saying of His bride, "I'm the apple of her eye. She'd rather spend time with Me than with anyone else. And that makes her beautiful to Me!"
I want to be beautiful in Jesus' eyes. I want to worship Him in the beauty of holiness. He is not merely "first" in my life; He is everything. And the Bible says He is drawn to me because of that!
Indeed, the bride in gold has an inner beauty that makes her outwardly beautiful. She is "...all glorious within..." (verse 13) because she is devoted to her Bridegroom. He knows beyond any shadow of a doubt, "She is all Mine — devoted only to Me! She worships Me and is submissive to Me. I am the only One in her life, the sole focus of her attention. She makes time for Me, is overjoyed in My presence, and desires to be with Me continually. What beautiful devotion!"
In Closing, I Want to Ask You an Important Question:
If Jesus were to come tonight, would you be in the great marriage procession, approaching the throne? Or would you find yourself standing before a jealous, jilted Lover?
Our Lord yearns after us, wanting our time and attention — and yet He sees us spending all our time on other people, other things. And that makes Him burn with jealousy! The day is coming when His jealousy will "smoke" against those who turn to vain idols (Deuteronomy 29:20). It will burst into flames of judgment!
Beloved, when that day comes, will Jesus take your hand with delight and whisper, "At last — we're together! You have desired Me so. You have given Me the best of your life, your time, your attention. Come, now — let us be one!"
Or, will He say to you: "I'm sorry — I don't know you. You said you loved Me, but your actions never matched your words. You had time for a lot of things — family, children, grandchildren, loved ones, career. But you neglected Me. We were never intimate; I never had your heart. And now it's too late!"
How will you stand before Him on that day? Everything of this world is going to burn. But what about your intimacy with Him? Will you be able to stand before Him, because you shut out the world and cried, "Jesus, I want to know You!"
The Holy Spirit is whispering to you right now: "Harken — listen! Forget everything else, and start anew today. If you have missed Him altogether, confess it to your heavenly Father. Repent — and devote yourself wholly to your Bridegroom!"
Pray with me right now:
"O blessed Lamb of God, I want to be beautiful in Your sight! Forgive me for neglecting Your Word, for rejecting Your revealed heart. Forgive me for spending so much time on everything else but You. And give me a new heart to know You. I want to grow in intimacy with You!"
Give the Lord all your devotion — your time, your attention, your thoughts, your finances — and He will take care of all such things. You won't have to seek after them as the heathen do; instead, He will add them to your life liberally.
The Lord has promised to take care of you. And if you turn to Him with your whole heart, He will walk in covenant with you and your family. So give Him your wholehearted attention. Act as His bride — and you will become beautiful in His sight!