Reading: Psalms 45-47
Click on the link for the reading to read the Psalms for this week. As we read, let us not do so in haste. Take time to read each Psalm at least three times: once to understand the content, once as a poem or song to feel the meaning, and once as a prayer to appropriate the Psalm into your life. There will often be a hymn attached at the bottom of the page that helps bring meaning to one of the Psalms for the week.
PSALM 45: For the Cause of Truth, Humility, and Righteousness
Unique in the book of Psalms and the entire Old Testament, Psalm 45 is essentially song of praise addressed to a human being: the king. It is a wedding song. Most likely written for the wedding of a Judean king to a foreign princess. Some scholars suggest it was written for the wedding of Ahab to Jezebel since verse 12 mentions the “Daughter of Tyre.” So why was this seemingly secular psalm included in the book of Psalms? After the disappearance of the monarchy, Psalm 45 became connected to the messianic promise by Jews as well as by Christians (Heb. 1:8-9 quotes Ps 45:6-7). Christians have traditionally viewed the psalm as a son of love between Christ and the church.
PSALM 46: Our Refuge and Strength
Psalm 46 is the biblical text for Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Both the psalm and the hymn celebrate the confidence that the people of God may have in his help because of his choice to be with them: in the psalm through his presence in the City of God, in the hymn through his presence in Christ. For the early Christians, Jesus Christ became what the Temple had once represented. Indeed, Jesus became the new center of God’s presence and power to such a degree that the Gospel of John can say that “the Word became flesh” (1:14). The fundamental message Jesus proclaimed and embodied is essentially the same as that of Psalm 46: God rules the world (Mark 1:14-15). Like Jesus, the psalm calls people to decision (vs 8, 10); that is, it invites its hearers to enter the reign of God, to live in dependence upon God, to find ultimate security in God rather than in self or in any human systems or possessions.
PSALM 47: King of All the Earth
Something has happened, and Psalm 47 was sung as a processional to celebrate the event. Verse 5 stands as the central verse between two hymns and seems to depict the liturgical enthronement of God. It describes the royal entry of Yahweh, at which he himself is present, symbolized by his holy ark. It is the persistent temptation for God’s people to make our God too small. We are quick to recall that God loves us (v. 4), but we are quick to forget that God loves the world and that all the world’s rulers and people “belong to God” (v. 9). The Christian practice of speaking about Jesus as a personal Savior may symbolize our forgetfulness, for often we seem to mean that we own God rather than that God owns us. To worship the God of Abraham and the God revealed in Jesus Christ is to worship a universal sovereign, and it means claiming every other person in the world as a sister or brother.
This is the Psalm in hymn form. Read or sing it through with melody to give the Psalm another dimension.
Here is a video clip Shane & Shane singing Psalms 46 as part of their “Psalms” series.
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