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From the editor: A Good Matter (Ps 45.1)

J Grant

The marriage of Solomon to the daughter of Pharaoh has often been considered as the cause of this psalm, although other suggestions have been made. No matter the historical background, there is no doubt that it looks forward to the coming of Messiah for whom the faithful of Israel wait expectantly. This is one of sixteen psalms that have been recognised as being "Messianic" psalms. Note that the writer of the book of Hebrews quotes from verses six and seven (see Heb 1.8-9). A G Clarke in his book Analytical Studies in the Psalms comments: "Contemplation rather than comment, meditation rather than ministry, befit this psalm".

The psalmist opens by speaking of his heart. In Scripture the "heart" does not always refer to the physical organ. "In its abstract meanings ‘heart’ became the richest biblical term for the totality of man’s inner…nature" (TWOT). The heart of the writer has been caused to be moved by excitement, so much so that he has a bubbling heart. It cannot contain itself; it gushes over, as a fountain bubbles up. The matter which occupies him is so valued that it is worthy of his greatest holy intensity. Surely we have met believers whose hearts bubble over with their contemplation of the Lord, and who have left us with something of the fragrance of Christ.

The bubbling heart, however, is fed from the mind. There are things that he has "made" touching the king. How we use our minds is a vital issue for the believer. Means of communication today allow an endless and continual amount of information and entertainment to fall on our ears and lodge in our minds. Much of this is spiritually unhealthy, but gradually that which would never in the past have been accepted by those who love the Lord is taken in. We hear language and opinions and see actions which no longer cause the feeling of distaste which was felt in bygone years. We understand that what we see and hear is sinful, but we come to accept ungodly behaviour as a factor of present day society without the horror that we felt previously. By this means the adversary seeks to fill our minds with his sordid material.

All the more necessary is it, therefore, to seek each day a little time to "consider Him" (Heb 12.3), to meditate on what the Scriptures say of Him, and to bow in thankfulness for Him. In that way we have a concentrated mind the result of which will help us greatly to face the world and keep our minds clear. In so doing we find that our hearts overflow with the things that we have "made" in our meditation.

What a joy it must have been to the psalmist to realise that his tongue was "the pen of a ready writer". Under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit what was bubbling in his heart and concentrated in his mind was now able to be expressed, and indeed placed in writing, so that we can enjoy it today. "Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile" (Ps 34.13) is wise advice and can be practised by keeping our minds pure. "Rapidly, like the style of an agile writer, does the tongue of the poet move; and it is obliged to move thus rapidly because of the thoughts and words that flow forth to it out of his heart" (Keil & Delitzsch). What joy it is to meet believers whose conversation reveals that they have bubbling hearts and minds filled with the Lord. Such believers have a fruitful tongue, the use of which is of great value to those who hear it. In his contemplation the psalmist states that "grace is poured into thy lips" (v.2). "Grace" is only found twice in the Psalms (see 84.11). There the grace is bestowed upon those who seek the sanctuary. Here it is a beautiful feature of the One who is the object of their contemplation.

So fitted, we will not only enjoy the Lord daily, but will also help others as we leave in their hearts and minds things "touching the king".

Our Lord, our Life, our Rest, our Shield,
Our Rock, our Food, our Light;
Each thought of Thee doth constant yield
Unchanging fresh delight.

(Philip Doddridge)


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