Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre 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.
Psalm 45:6-7On September 9th 2015, Elizabeth II will become the longest serving monarch in British history, surpassing the record set by Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years plus fifteen days. I know that there are some who feel that a monarchy is an anachronistic system that has no place in the twenty-first century, but I believe that Elizabeth deserves our respect and gratitude for her years of service and for her commitment to her role of Governor of the Church of England. Of course, the time will come when Queen Elizabeth will cease to reign; she will not live forever, and eventually she will pass away.
Unlike mortal rulers, God’s rule endures forever. Today’s Psalm is a song in praise of the king on his wedding day. The king to which it immediately referred was a member of the family of King David. The words have been applied to Christ, however. Not only is he a descendent of David, but his rule, or throne, will ‘last for ever and ever’. Christ’s rule transcends time itself and is a constant for which we should be grateful. No matter where we are in time or space, nothing can separate us from Christ’s rule.
What is Christ’s rule like? This Psalm helps us to understand the nature of Jesus’ kingship. Jesus reigns over us with ‘a sceptre of justice’. A sceptre is a ceremonially staff (or stick!) that represents the power of the office holder. It is telling that Jesus’ sceptre is justice itself. Christ’s sceptre shows that his rule is just and fair; good news for those who live according to his rules, but more problematic for those who do not. We will all be judged according to God’s justice, and we need to consider the outcome of this.
The next section of the Psalm picks up on this point. Jesus loves righteousness and hates wickedness. His kingdom is a righteous place, a fair place, and therefore a pleasant place in which to dwell. Evil and wickedness has no place in Christ’s kingdom, and therefore will be punished appropriately.
Perhaps most interestingly, Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords has been anointed by God with the oil of joy. His kingdom is a joyful place. Joy radiates from the King himself, and touches all those who love him.
What a wonderful picture we gain from this Psalm; a picture of a fair and righteous king, whose reign will last forever. The kingdom will be full of joy. Let’s be thankful that this king is Christ, and that we already dwell in his kingdom. Let’s strive to live righteous and joyful lives.