It says in the title of this song that it was written for the wedding of a king. But in it, we see the wedding not only of the king it was written for, but the wedding of the great King of kings.
We are called the bride of Christ, and in this passage, we see both our groom, and how we are to respond to him as his bride.
In the first part, we see the description of the king, and in it we see many pictures of Christ. It shows him as a man of grace, saying,
You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. (2)
It also shows him as a mighty warrior.
Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet. (3-5)
And it shows him as our king.
Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. (6-7)
These last two verses in particular are attributed directly to Jesus in the book of Hebrews (1:8-9).
But then the psalmist talks to the us, Christ’s bride, saying,
Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house. (10)
The idea behind this actually comes from Genesis where God says that when people get married, they are to leave behind their parents, be joined to their spouse, and become one with their partner. Of course, the passage in Genesis specifically talks of the man doing this, but we see here that it applies equally to his wife.
When we are bonded to Christ, we are to leave behind all ties that would keep us from truly being one with him. I’ve been truly fortunate to grow up in a Christian home, but I know others who in deciding to follow Christ have had struggles with their parents over becoming a Christian. Others have had to leave behind friends that would have held them back from following Christ.
Ideally, of course, we wouldn’t have to literally do that. Ideally, they would see Christ in us and decide to follow him too. But there are times when we have to say to our family and friends, “I’m sorry, I can’t go the way you are going. I’m following Christ.”
The psalmist goes on to tell the bride,
Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. (11)
What kind of beauty is this? Physical beauty? No. As Peter said in talking to wives,
It should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (I Peter 3:4)
And we are to honor him with our whole lives, since he is our Lord.
He then sings,
All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her — those brought to be with her. Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king. (13-15)
Why is the bride glorious? Because she has been clothed and made beautiful by the king who has chosen her. This passage reminds me of what Christ has done for us, who,
…loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 25-27)
May we ever live lives bonded in this way to our King.