“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.”
Not all biblical passages are story or history, or exhortation or instruction, commandments or proclamation or typical praise and worship. And not all Revised Common Lectionary passages are either. Sometimes, beloved reader, the bible just waxes poetical about wonderful things and wonderful people. Now, bible commentators will tell you these verses are about and directed at the Messiah to come. And I certainly would not be one to say praises and accolades such as this are not appropriate for Christ Jesus. But at its heart, this a love song to the Divine. And it is set to standards of earthly appreciation, not heavenly spiritual attributes. And in verses 1 to 2 it seems like the object of these verses is not the Divine, or else the Divine blesses itself.
Later on in Psalms 45 it seems like there is a shift and God is the one being praised and adored.
But by the second half of verse 7 the focus has switched from God to the one God has anointed.
“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.”
The notes that accompany this passage, especially in The Message version, make it abundantly clear it is a poem for a wedding. And I feel it would do a disservice to the psalmist to make it about anything else.
The bible is a book about God’s people; their lives, their successes, their failings. The Old Testament is about God’s people before Christ came to the people in God’s world. The New Testament is about what the situation was at the time Jesus born and what happened in the one hundred or so years after his death. The history of those times and the words that were preserved from those times have been passed on from generation to generation. And great lessons can be learned. But let us not forget those were real people just living out their lives. God had always intended the world to be a place where creation was born, lived, and died. And that God would oversee it all, inviting us to be in relationship with each other and with the Divine.
May you, beloved reader, learn the lessons that are presented to you, and give thanks for the people and blessings that come in this life. Selah!