“Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.” – Psalm 45:6
From the poetry and imagery of this psalm, there can be little doubt that it was a song composed for a royal wedding. The heading, for example tells us that this is a love song. It gives instructions to the choral director as per the composers, the sons of Korah, to use the tune Shoshanim which means “lilies” or “roses”. We note too that this is a maskil, (A nice name for a young woman wouldn’t you agree?). We note, too, that this is a maskil, a musical term probably derived from the Hebrew verb sakal, “to have insight or comprehension”. Musicologists generally agree that this term is used in a song of celebration, likely with a lead soloist and a supporting choir.
While the bulk of the psalm captures the grandeur and circumstance of a royal wedding during the monarchies of Israel, I want to call you attention to verse 6. Clearly this verse transcends the time and place of a royal wedding in ancient Israel. In fact the writer to the Hebrews quotes verses 6 and 7 in Hebrews 1:8, 9. The royal wedding in ancient Israel becomes a type of the wedding of Christ and the Church. There is a theological trajectory in the psalm which moves it beyond the historical event which occasioned it to the millennial kingdom where Christ will rule in glory upon the earth. The royal wedding will be realized with a royal reign.
What lessons might we learn from this song at a royal wedding for the Canto Deo Choir?
- Songs composed and sung at special events in the people of God are important to the live and nurture of God’s people.
- Songs should transcend the present moment to look back at the acts of God in history and look forward to God’s purposes fully realized.
- The message, messenger, and message should all align biblically and theologically to fulfill the purpose of heralding God’s message.
Dr. Keith Wells is the Chaplain for Canto Deo and also a Professor at Denver Seminary.