To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves. My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
I. The Messiah is "fairer than the children of men" as the Son of God. Children of men are born in time; the Messiah was in the beginning with God. They have only a creature nature; He has the nature of God. He is absolutely one with God, and in every respect equal with God.
II. Christ is "fairer than the children of men" as the Son of man. They are born with a sinful taint, but He was born without sin. They go astray as soon as they are born; He was a holy and harmless Child. The children of men fail chiefly in love, but the love of our Saviour surpasseth knowledge.
III. Christ is "fairer than the children of men" in three things which He shared with men—work, suffering, and temptation. (1) Work. (a) He knew His work. He knew what it was. Some people spend their whole lives in finding out their work; hence they never do any work which is worth doing. (b) Christ made His work His meat and drink. He did not call work a curse. He did not account it a hardship. (c) Christ finished His work. (2) In suffering, too, Christ endured completely all that He was appointed to suffer. He also bore it patiently, and His patience had her perfect work. (3) Look at temptation. Christ was undefiled by temptation. Thoughts of wrong-doing were cast into His mind like firebrands thrown into some dwelling formed of combustible material, but those thoughts never tainted Christ.
IV. Christ is "fairer than the children of men" in His official characters of Prophet and Priest.
V. Christ is "fairer than the children of men" in four things in which good men notably fail: (1) in the harmony and variety of His excellencies; (2) in the unbroken consistency of His actions; (3) in the perfection of His manifold works; (4) Christ's influence was in all respects superior. Hence the variety of metaphors used to represent Him.
S. Martin, Westminster Chapel Pulpit, 4th series, No. 12.
References: Psalm 45:2.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 80; Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 71; Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 173. Psalm 45:3.—Expositor, 3rd series, vol. v., p. 312; C. Wordsworth, Sermons at Harrow School, p. 188; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 377.
Psalm 45:3-4The three offices of Christ.
Our Lord is here spoken of in two distinct characters—as a Teacher: "Full of grace are Thy lips;" and as a Conqueror: "Gird Thee with Thy sword upon Thy thigh," or, in other words, as a Prophet and as a King. His third special office is that of a Priest, in that He offered Himself up to God the Father as a propitiation for our sins.
I. These three offices seem to contain in them and to represent the three principal conditions of mankind: endurance, active life, and thought. Christ undertook them all, suffering that we might know how to suffer, labouring that we might know how to labour, and teaching that we might know how to teach.
II. In these offices Christ also represents to us the Holy Trinity, for in His own proper character He is a Priest; and as to His kingdom, He has it from the Father; and as to His prophetical office, He exercises it by the Spirit. The Father is the King, the Son the Priest, and the Holy Ghost the Prophet.
III. Christ left behind Him a ministerial order, who are His representatives and instruments; and they, though earthen vessels, show forth according to their measure these three characters: the prophetical, the priestly, and the regal. Nay, all His followers in some sense bear all three offices, as Scripture is not slow to declare. Knowledge, power, endurance, are the three privileges of the Christian Church. (1) Each state, each rank in the world, has its particular excellence; but that excellence is solitary. The kingly office has this great defect, that it is all power and no subjection, all doing and no suffering. Christ was not a King without being a Sufferer too, and so in like manner His followers after Him. (2) The soldier comes more nearly than the king to the pattern of Christ. Yet there are great drawbacks here also. (a) There is the carnal weapon. (b) The soldier is but an instrument directed by another. Christ and His ministers are bloodless conquerors. (3) The great philosophers of the world, whose words are so good and so effective, are themselves too often nothing more than words. Who shall warrant for their doing as well as speaking? They are shadows of Christ's prophetical office, but where is the sacerdotal or the regal? Where shall we find in them the nobleness of the king and the self-denial of the priest? Such is the world, but Christ came to make a new world. He came to combine what was dissipated, to recast what was shattered, in Himself. He began all excellence, and of His fulness have all we received.
J. H. Newman, Sermons on Subjects of the Day, p. 52.
References: Psalm 45:6.—Expositor, 3rd series, vol. v., p. 312. Psalm 45:6, Psalm 45:7.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 341. Psalm 45:7.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxii., No. 1273; Ibid., Morning by Morning, p. 150. Psalm 45:7, Psalm 45:8.—Ibid., Sermons, vol. ix., No. 498. Psalm 45:8.—Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 46. Psalm 45:9.—J. M. Neale, Sermons on Passages of the Psalms, p. 129. Psalm 45:10, Psalm 45:11.—G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 136.
Psalm 45:11The forty-fifth Psalm is the coronation oath of Christ to His Church. And here are three thoughts strung together to do honour to the occasion—Christ's delight in His Church's beauty, Christ's claim to His Church's service, and Christ the centre of His Church's worship.
I. The service of worship is giving honour to God. And this is a higher and more heavenly thing than the worship which we make for our own sake, to satisfy our own desires, and to supply our own necessities. Both in public and in private, the highest part of prayer and the far end of all that we ask for ourselves or others is the confession and acknowledgment which that prayer contains of the majesty and the love of Almighty God.
II. Notice more accurately how we are to make worship service. It is only as any worship of our own mingles with the intercession of Jesus and is perfumed with His sweet name and merit that it goes up pleasantly to God. It is the Christ which is in everything that makes it service. (1) Therefore the first requisite to make worship service is the presence and the recognition of the presence of the great High-priest. (2) Remember that if worship is service, you are the servants who are to do the service. You are God's priests—it is God's own word—you are God's priests to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God in Jesus Christ. (3) Service implies all that makes a good servant's work—order, accuracy, painstaking, reverence, a lowly feeling, a distinct aim to please and honour Him whose we are and whom we serve. To a man rightly taught the whole world is a temple, his heart is the fane, and all life is the service of worship.
J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 9th series, p. 55.
References: Psalm 45:13.—Expositor, 3rd series, vol. v., p. 313; J. M. Neale, Sermons on Passages of the Psalms, p. 140. Psalm 45:15.—J. Sherman, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. v., p. 1.
Psalm 45:16I. Christ's princes are princes born. The reason is that their birth is a new one, and any child may have it. Into the world in which Christ's princes are born no one can bring them but God.
II. They are princes by getting a royal education. Christ provides both a good textbook and a good Teacher. The textbook is the Bible; the Teacher is the Holy Spirit.
III. They are princes by training in royal work. The first subject that any Christian prince gets to rule is his own spirit. If you want to know whether you are a prince, ask if you can take care of yourself. Can you rule your own spirit? Apart from the general idea of ruling, there are three kinds of work that princes made by Christ get to do. The first is prayer; the second is patience; the third is peacemaking.
IV. All persons royally born may be said to have a crown in prospect. All princes do not come actually to be crowned with earthly crowns; but this is one of the best things about Christ's princes: they will all be crowned and all wear their crowns in heaven. The crown may be known by the inscription on it, "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
J. Edmond, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 161.
References: Psalm 45:16.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. vii., No. 424, and vol. xxi., No. 1260. Psalm 45:17.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. vii., p. 342; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 384; J. M. Neale, Sermons on Passages of the Psalms, p. 149. Psalm 45—J. G. Murphy, The Book of Daniel, p. 46. Psalm 46:4.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. vii., p. 214; J. H. Evans, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. xv., p. 189.
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.
Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;
So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.
The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.
With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace.
Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.