THE IVORY PALACES
By Wayne S. Walker
"All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made You glad" (Psalm 45:8). Psalm 45 is understood to be a Messianic prophecy. Verses 6 and 7 say, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions." This statement is quoted in Hebrews 1:8-9 as something that God the Father said to the Son to show that the Son is so much better than the angels.
We sometimes talk about scholarly academics who sit in their laboratories and write articles telling people what to do but never come out into the real world themselves and see how people actually live as being cooped up in their "ivory towers." However, this Psalm pictures Jesus as coming "out of the ivory palaces." Of course, this process began when the Word was made flesh (John 1:1, 14). He, "being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:6-7). He left His ivory palaces to come to earth as a man,
Furthermore, He showed that He truly left the ivory palaces by living as mankind does and subjecting Himself to the temptations that we face. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). In the life that He lived and the suffering that He experienced, He left us an example that we should follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21). He showed us how to live so as to be victorious over sin and the other problems of this life. Yes, Jesus experienced the “real world.”
However, the ultimate way in which He demonstrated that He left the ivory palaces was that "being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8). He died for us that we might "have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:14). Truly, "Out of the ivory palaces, Into a world of woe, Only His great eternal love Made my Savior go" (Henry Barraclough). Jesus never tells us, "Do as I say and not as I do." He did it Himself! To illustrate how we can live and die to please God, He came out of the "ivory palaces."