Heaven holds a glory that is unseen by a cynical age. Take the fulfilment of Psalm 45 –
You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you for ever. [v2]
When sent to arrest him, the temple guards returned empty handed saying, “No one ever spoke the way this man does.” (John 7:46NIV) The religious leaders were indignant, saying the guards had been deceived. Do I have that simpleness of heart that recognises Jesus’ words of excellence and grace in today’s life situations – and lives in their light?
Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendour and majesty. [v3]
When Jesus refuted the Sadducees concerning the resurrection from the dead using a passage from Exodus, some teachers of the law commented, “Well said teacher” (Luke 20:39). One would have expected such wisdom to bring a desire for greater insight yet it brought only frustrated silence. Am I willing to openly wear the splendour of Christ speaking God’s word to a cynical world?
In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. [v4]
When, in Luke 7 Jesus is anointed by a sinful woman they are both judged by Jesus’ host. Can I, like Jesus, face the condemnation of the influential to ride in the cause of truth, humility and justice?
Going with Jesus is victorious! Yet the victory is perceived only by those with eyes to see.
The call to become a disciple of Jesus is a call to leave. We see this in Psalm 45 where the bride is called to forget that which has been precious to her and even defined her.
10 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house.
As I go with my King I embrace a new future. This requires me to let go of my old life, however good it might have been. This might seem a betrayal, but it is essential. Jesus calls us, yet many are so stretched between a misguided duty of maintaining what has gone before, and desperation to take hold of what Jesus has ahead that neither is achieved.
11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honour him, for he is your lord.
King Jesus is enthralled by me, yet will I let him? My poor self-image refuses to allow it. Yet if I allow that He is enthralled by me then I will be free to go with Him. As I receive His love, the love of His rivals will fade from my view.
13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold.
Those who allow Jesus to do this work in them become glorious and are clothed with Christ.
16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
you will make them princes throughout the land.
The fruit of a life with the King takes the place of our fathers. Our hearts are satisfied by what Jesus does.
How did Jesus respond to abuse? It seems He responded with an honest statement of the truth, often in the form of a question.
Take the betrayal of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He asks Judas, ‘Do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’ No accusation was needed, no anger, rather He confronted his betrayer with truth.
Take the incident of the slap. John 18:22-23 ‘When Jesus said this, one of the officials near-by struck him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” He demanded. “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me.” Jesus does not justify himself; nor does He accuse his assailant, rather He confronts with truth through a question.
A spiritual leader is behaving badly and I am unsure how to deal with it. I was all for charging in on a white horse named Truth and Righteousness. Then I read in Psalm 45, alluding to Jesus, that he comes ‘on behalf of truth, humility and righteousness.’ (45:4) The attitude I was missing was humility. It is so easy to exchange righteousness for self-righteousness. The problem with self-righteousness is that it wants to stand over the other in order to force its own will. There is nothing of this in Jesus’ responses. He seems more interested in helping the other person to understand himself and develop as a person towards righteousness, and so He exposes the truth behind the situation, while permitting the abuse to continue. What amazing love.