Updated: Mar 10, 2021
"The creation of the world seems to have been especially for this end, that the eternal Son of God might obtain a spouse, towards whom He might fully exercise the infinite benevolence of His nature, and to whom He might, as it were, open and pour forth all that immense fountain of condescension, love, and grace that was in His heart, and that in this way, God might be glorified."
J O N A T H A N E D W A R D S
That quote uses some complex language, so let me simplify it's message a little. The creation of the world seems to have been for this specific goal: to produce a wife for Jesus, towards whom He can show the infinite goodness of His nature/character, and on whom He can lavish and flood all of the fountain of grace, love and kindness that is bursting from His heart, and that in this way God would be glorified.
In yet other words, God's (and Jesus', because they are one God) heart contained so much goodness and grace and love and kindness, He decided to create us so that He could have a special bride to lavish this goodness/grace/kindness on. He did not need us, of course, because the one God is made of three Persons and these three Persons infinite community, fellowship, and opportunity to show love to each other. But He wanted us. He wanted a bride for Christ.
I was reading one of my favorite psalms this past week; it is one of my favorites because it is a fairytale with a fairytale ending - a royal wedding. I love it far, far more because I know it is my story; my fairytale ending and it gives me a glorious narrative to hold on to as I endure the unpleasant parts of this life while holding on to my faith in what is coming for me.
The fairytale, as narrated by someone who likens himself to a palace scribe, begins with a a description of the hero and Prince Charming himself:
My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is 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!
In your majesty ride out victoriously
for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!
Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies;
the peoples fall under you.
This is how the first 5 verses of Psalm 45 describe the main character of this fairytale: He is handsome - not just handsome - but the most handsome among the sons of men. That means model/movie star/dreamboat good-looking, with gorgeous hair and eyes, profile, and body. The most handsome man you can imagine that would set your heart racing the moment you laid eyes on him.
But this man isn't just handsome. He's a good guy. The picture painted here is of some sort nobleman that has mounted a horse and girded his sword on. He is going out and defending the cause of truth, meekness, and righteousness. His achievements are awe - inspiring, and he seems to be on some king's mission to defeat the king's enemies. I'm getting a strong superhero character that is decimating the bad guys in his path. We as Americans pay an inordinate amount of money to see this exact storyline, again and again, in movie theaters, because it appeals to us. We love a superhero who is motivate by justice for the oppressed.
The psalm continues with:
Your thone, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
you have loved righteousness and hated 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;
daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
So we're not talking about a nobleman here, but a king. This section further completes our picture of this knight in shining armor. He's not just a knight, he's the actual king, and when we imagine him mounting his powerful steed in flashing armor and girding his sword on, we're seeing the king going out to battle at the head of his armies, riding forth victoriously for the cause of truth and justice. You may or may not have a good imagination, but certainly this imagery is food for it. I'm now imagining a young, powerful and handsome king striding through the marbled halls of his palaces with gorgeous robes fragranced with expensive perfumes. From cool, shadowy corners, the sound of harps and other stringed instruments wafts as musicians add to the peaceful and pleasant atmosphere of the king's house. Large archways along the halls allow dappled sunlight and the swaying arms of resplendent plants to reach in, and along these same, soaring hallways, lovely noblemen and noblewomen, daughters of kings and sons of queens, wander. Laughter tinkles and mixes withe the sound of water splashing from intricate fountains.
I skipped over the queen in gold, because it's a whole new idea. If I was a fantasy writer, I would have fun with this idea of the queen in gold - I can see her now - a stunning and shapely woman clothed in silky robes that glint with a golden and glorious sheen. Truly one of the loveliest women in the land, fit for such a king. Anything less would be a dishonor. Her hair falls in thick, luxurious curls down her back and her skin is perfect. Her eyes are doves.
Who is this woman, I wonder, as I more peer closely at the picture in my mind's eye? The king that this psalm describes reminds me of my silly girlish daydreams. You see, as a little girl, I used to tell myself a story, as I lay in bed at night, trying to fall asleep. I imagined I was a peasant girl dressed in rags and that my bed was actually the back of a rough cart that was headed to the palace of a kingdom. I imagined that I was poor but lovely beyond compare. The story line varied, but it always consisted of the young, powerful and handsome prince/king taking notice of me, falling in love with my beauty, and making me his queen. I must have "played" this story over a million times. Unfortunately, as I think happens to many young girls, I imagined that my future husband would be like this noble, incredible prince I was imagining, and though in many ways he is my real life prince, he is a human and simply a man, and nothing like the king described in Psalm 45 or the gorgeous prince of my imaginations. Of course, when I grew older, Disney gave a name to this figment of my imagination: Prince Charming. And as I grew still older, I came to understand that Prince Charming is a figment of most girls imaginations that is never realized. Or is it?
The next part of the psalm addresses this queen of gold, as I understand it. And here's something interesting. I don't think she was always a queen. In fact, much like my imaginary self, I think she was not only a peasant, but something much, much more dishonorable. More on that later, but for now:
Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:
forget your people and your father's house,
and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him.
The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,
the richest of the people.
The girl is urged to do something. Forget her origins. Forget her past. On this condition, the king will desire her beauty. This makes me think that her origins and her past are not comparable to the honor of being made his queen. The phrase "and the king will desire your beauty" brings me back to my girlish imaginings that the prince of the land would be undeterred by my peasant status and fall in love with me for my beauty. If the girl does this, she will be raised to a position of riches and honor: "The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people." I think we often get thrown off by the language and the historical distance of the Bible. So instead of imagining the rich people of Tyre, the richest of that time, imagine the richest people of this time. Imagine the billionaires, with their mansions and yachts and private jets and private islands and oodles of money and privilege coming to seek this girl's favor. She is being raised to the highest high, to the cream of society. She is being made glorious with the king's glory:
All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.
In many-colored robes she is led to the king,
with her virgin companions following behind her.
With joy and gladness they are led along
as they enter the palace of the king.
She is led to the king, presumably, on her wedding day, glittering in splendor and a bride truly fit for a king. The last bit of the psalm I won't quote since it is short and just another blessing upon the king.
The beauty of this psalm is not only in its fairytale-like quality, its inspiring characters, or even its gorgeous imagery. It is something bigger, better. The beauty of this psalm is that it is a true story. Though we don't know if this was a poem written for the wedding of an actual, historical Israelite king, it is abundantly clear that it also refers to the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings. I find it so interesting that so many little girls have this Prince Charming story so deeply embedded into their hearts. That's why we teach and warn them not to fall for the first charming man that comes their way. That's why, as women, we grow so disappointed and disillusioned with the men in our life when they don't meet this high, princely standard, this secret yearning after a king's love that is buried in the depths of our hearts.
The true story refers to Christ; so then who is the queen in gold? Who is the lovely bride? It's you. You are the queen in gold. You are the Bride of Christ. Literally this universe and everything that has happened and will happen, centering and culminating on the death and resurrection of Christ, was for the purpose of making you worthy to be His bride. My post this week comes from a heart of encouragement. I am imagining so many of you, including myself, going about our weary, sometimes dreary, mundane lives. Wondering what went wrong. Looking at the billionaires or maybe not even that; maybe the millionaires, or maybe not even that; maybe the rich next door Johnsons with their fancy cars and gorgeous vacations while we are here on the struggle bus, doing our duty and trying to do what's right. I'm not saying rich people aren't doing what's right; that's not my point. I'm just speaking to those specifically who are discouraged, who are busy investing for the kingdom and God hasn't chosen to show much reward, much fruit, or even much blessing in return.
My message is, that it is coming. There are far better things ahead. You are in fact a royal son or daughter of the house of God, and furthermore, you, as part of the church, are the bride of Christ. You cannot imagine the wealth and honor that is coming to you as part of the house of God. Scripture tells us that everything is ours; we will inherit the earth.
But that's not even the best of it. We'll enjoy the riches and honor, sure, but the best of it is that the Love of our Life is coming for us. He is literally everything our hearts could desire and far more. He wasn't beautiful at His first coming; in His incarnation, his poor and toilsome life, and his miserable death. But yea...He's not coming that way again. The next time He comes, He will literally burn people's eyes out with His glory. The moment you see Him you will ache and ache for Him to look your way far more than you did when you ached and ached for your first earthly love to pay you attention. You will feel absolutely unworthy that He should even glance at you, and yet He will turn and tell you you are beautiful to Him, and marry you.
What a nice, imaginative spin I've given to this psalm, right? Except I haven't. It's what the psalm is saying. The author is trying to create this image in your head of a future that's kind of unimaginable but wholly real. I think if we used our imaginations a little more, if we realized that no insanely-budgeted film with the best of graphics and most thrilling plot, that no imagined fantasy world can come close to the new, sinless world God, in the great infinity of His imagination has prepared for us, where He will introduce the reign of God and we will reign with Him - I think we would have more joy. A sparkle in our eye. Less bitterness about our "struggle bus" life right now. We're heading to the kingdom, and to our wedding day, and straight into His heart.
He will spend the rest of eternity lavishing goodness, grace, kindness, and favor on you, His beloved one. He has spilled blood making you worthy, and now you are a queen.
Chew on that one for awhile. It's 100% true. And it may be sooner than you think.
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