Psalm 45:10-171NIV New International Version Translations
10 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house. 11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. 12 The city of Tyre will come with a gift, people of wealth will seek your favor. 13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. 14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her—those brought to be with her. 15 Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king. 16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land. 17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.
The psalmist writes an ode for a royal wedding. In vv. 2-5, he lists the king’s admirable qualities: he is “most handsome”, full of God’s grace, splendid (“glory”, v. 3), a conqueror “for the cause of truth” (v. 4) and of justice. “Your throne …” (v. 6) probably speaks of God rather than of the king (although the word translated “God” can mean superhuman being, so it may say the king is superior to all other humans). God has made the king greater than the kings of other nations (v. 7). His robes are perfumed with fragrance: with “myrrh” (v. 8, an aromatic gum from Arabia, Ethiopia or India), “aloes” (a fragrant wood) and “cassia” (a tree native to India and the Far East). Stringed instruments play music in his palace which is decorated with “ivory”. The ladies of the court include daughters of fellow kings (v. 9). The bride’s dress is ornamented with gold from Arabia or east Africa (“Ophir”). She is a foreigner, perhaps from “Tyre” (v. 12). She is to forget her people, to please and honor the king, her master. The rich seek her favor with expensive gifts. A glorious sight (v. 13), she enters, followed by bridesmaids (v. 14); it is a joyous occasion. May the king have male heirs who will be “princes” (v. 16, rulers over all peoples); may his reign be celebrated for ages; may the peoples praise him forever.
If we desire to share these blessings, we must hearken to Christ’s word. We must forget our carnal and sinful attachments and pursuits. He must be our Lord as well as our Savior; all idols must be thrown away, that we may give him our whole heart. And here is good encouragement, thus to break off from former alliances. The beauty of holiness, both on the church and on particular believers, is, in the sight of Christ, of great price, and very amiable. The work of grace is the workmanship of the Spirit, it is the image of Christ upon the soul, a partaking of the Divine nature. It is clear of all sin, there is none in it, nor any comes from it. There is nothing glorious in the old man or corrupt nature; but in the new man, or work of grace upon the soul, everything is glorious. The robe of Christ’s righteousness, which he has wrought out for his church, the Father imputes unto her, and bestows upon her. None are brought to Christ, but those whom the Father brings.
This notes the conversion of souls to him. The robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation, the change of raiment Christ has put upon her. Such as strictly cleave to Christ, loving him in singleness of heart, are companions of the bride, who partake of the very same grace, enjoy the same privileges, and share in one common salvation. These, every one, shall be brought to the King; not one lost or left behind. Instead of the Old Testament church, there shall be a New Testament church, a Gentile church. In the believing hope of our everlasting happiness in the other world, let us always keep up the remembrance of Christ, as our only way thither; and transmit the remembrance of him to succeeding generations, that his name may endure forever.
Items for Discussion
- In what ways are accepting Christ as our Savior similar to a bride at a wedding?
- How might a royal wedding differ from an ordinary one?
- Why would the Psalmist be using a royal wedding as a basis for comparison rather than an ordinary wedding?
- How are the many characters mentioned in this Psalm acting? Look at the king; the bride; the town where they are being married; and the heirs to be?
- What is God’s promise and why is this important to us?
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
The Book of Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that Salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is by far the longest of the Pauline epistles, and is considered his “most important theological legacy”.
Paul addresses the faithfulness of God to Israel, where he says that God has been faithful to His promise. Paul hopes that all of Israel will come to realize the truth vv. 9:1–5 since he himself was also an Israelite vv. 11:1 and had in the past been a persecutor of Early Christians. In Romans 9–11, Paul talks about how the nation of Israel has been cast away, and the conditions under which Israel will be God’s chosen nation again: when the Israel returns to its faith, sets aside its unbelief.
Verses 14-25: Paul had used ‘I’ and ‘me’ in verses 7-13. He spoke there about the past. In verses 14-25, he speaks in the present tense. It is clear that he is describing his own struggles with sin. Most people have had such an experience. So Paul speaks for everyone, not just for himself.
There are two opinions about when this struggle took place:
- Maybe Paul was writing about his experiences before he became a Christian. At that time, Paul wanted to please God. So Paul tried to obey God’s law. Paul was very sincere. But he discovered that he was unable to obey God’s law completely. Paul did not want to sin. But sin controlled his human nature. So Paul was even doing things that he knew to be wrong (verses 18-20). This was a terrible struggle for Paul. Paul loved God’s law (verse 22). But Paul could not obey it. So he made himself rules in his mind (verse 23). But he could not even obey those rules because the control (law) of sin was too powerful for him. So Paul felt miserable and desperate. He needed someone to rescue him from sin (verse 24). At last, he realized that he could not save himself by his own efforts. And that is when Christ changed his life (verse 25; Acts 9:1-22; Galatians 1:11-17).
- Or maybe Paul was writing as a Christian. He said that he loved the law (verse 22). Someone who does not believe probably would not say this. But a Christian is not ‘a slave to sin’ (verse 25; Romans 6:17-18). And a Christian should not say, ‘nothing good lives in me’ (verse 18). In fact, God’s Holy Spirit lives in a Christian (1 Corinthians 6:19). However, many people still believe that Paul was writing here about his struggles as a Christian. Paul wondered how he could show his love for God in actions. The Christian life is not easy. There is a struggle against sin. Paul says in Philippians (3:12-14) that he is not perfect. He is like someone who is running a race. He has to try very hard to reach the goal. Paul urges Timothy to ‘fight’ for his faith. If this opinion is correct, Paul’s cry in verse 24 was not a cry of despair. His cry expresses his great desire to be free from his weak human nature. He wants to become more holy.
Paul clearly shows us that human knowledge is not enough. We can know what is wrong. We may decide to do what is right. But our power to carry out our decision is weak. Peter said that he would never deny Christ. But he failed soon afterwards. We cannot live in a manner that pleases God by our own efforts. Paul emphasized this in Galatians 3:3. We can only become Christians by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. And after we have become Christians, we can only please God by the power of his Holy Spirit.
Verse 23: Paul uses another military description. A law was fighting a war against his mind. The law of his human nature was making him a prisoner of the law of sin. He struggled to obey his conscience. He knew what was right. But he could not do right things. His cry in verse 24 is a cry of despair.
Verse 24 Paul is grateful that he can win the victory over his sinful human nature because of Jesus Christ. Paul will explain in chapter 8 how the Holy Spirit can give to Christians the power to live a holy life.
Verse 25 In verse 25 Paul emphasizes again his moral struggle, which he described in verses 14-24. And the words lead naturally to Romans 8:1, which begins with the word ‘Therefore’.
Items for Discussion
- What might the differences be between people that love sin and those that hate it? (keep in mind, we are all sinners)
- Why is it that we cannot, with human power, overcome sin?
- What is the hope that each Christian should carry from these verses?
- Why does every Christian need the Holy Spirit’s help if they are to have any hope for overcoming sin?
- If sin is so hard to stop, why should we keep on trying?
- Why is it that human knowledge and intellect is not sufficient to overcome sinful behavior?
- Why should a Christian have hope?
- How do we spread the words of hope to those we love?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations