“My heart overflows with a goodly theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. You are the most handsome of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever.” (Psalm 45:1- 2)
I’m up against in, beloved reader. Commentator after commentator insists that this psalm speaks of the Messiah, the Son and Sent of the Divine. So of course it should be filled with superlatives, praising the Lord God and the Triune Lord on all aspects of the Divine. Except . . . there is one or two little problems. First, it is introduced as a “wedding song” and concerns the sons of Korah. Second, the psalms exhorts the warrior to strap a sword onto his thigh. The portion chosen for the lectionary excludes that, as it does verse 10 where the psalm addresses the lady of the couple. The commentators so artfully discern this as directing women to focus on the Lord God as their spouse and not think of human relationships. This makes sense if we cast the Song of Solomon as a love ballad concerning believers and the Lord God. Which actually I did several days ago. But, oh beloved reader, it rubs my strictness of biblical interpretation to allow this psalm to be other than what the psalmist wrote about.
It is filled with praise for the Lord God.
“Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity; you love righteousness and hate wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad; . . .” (Verses 6 – 8)
It truly was my intention to let this psalm stand as a praise of the Lord God, lifted up by devoted believers. But I still chafe at some of the verses being so . . . . re-appropriated!
“. . . daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.” (Verse 9)
It is easier to just move on to the next psalms passage, the one attached to the previous Old Testament passage, Deuteronomy chapter four. Here I feel on more solid ground.
“O LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart; who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors; in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the LORD; who stand by their oath even to their hurt; who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.” (Psalm 15)
But this is less praise of the Lord God and more a description of those who love and follow the Lord.
Back at the beginning of the week, the thrust of my comments centered on how the Lord God instructs us, what type of language the Divine uses to woo us into belief. There was the compassionate passionate invitation to faith from a loving committed God. And there was the stern commands of an authoritative God. And I posed the question, which type of invitation from the Divine would most draw you in? Because, beloved reader, the way you are drawn into the Lord often determines the way you praise the Lord. Do you see yourself in a Lover/Beloved relationship the Divine that has all the outward signs of commitment and matrimony? Or do you see yourself as worthy of being in relationship with the Divine because you have passed all the tests of character that have been given to you? I have to wonder and ponder what your answer might be. Shalom!