Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
When a work assignment for God is completed, who gets the praise and kudos? When we struggle through a huge, mind altering, life changing issue in our lives, who do we shout thank you to first? When you finally get the job of your dreams, the one you’ve been waiting for all your life, what victory song comes immediately to mind? When a relationship is finally restored, who do you tell?
The promise of 46:10 is fulfilled in 47: “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (nasb). Five times the people are commanded to “sing praises” to the Lord, who “reigns over the nations” (v. 8 nasb). If this psalm was written to celebrate the defeat of Sennacherib (see 46), then it describes the people of Israel proclaiming to the surrounding Gentile nations the glorious victory of their God, a victory won without their having to fight a battle!
This is also a messianic psalm, with an emphasis on the coming kingdom. As the people of Israel praise their God to the Gentiles around them, they make three affirmations about Him. Look for it…
Psalm 47, The Message
A Psalm of the Sons of Korah
1-9 Applause, everyone. Bravo, bravissimo!
Shout God-songs at the top of your lungs!
God Most High is stunning,
astride land and ocean.
He crushes hostile people,
puts nations at our feet.
He set us at the head of the line,
prize-winning Jacob, his favorite.
Loud cheers as God climbs the mountain,
a ram’s horn blast at the summit.
Sing songs to God, sing out!
Sing to our King, sing praise!
He’s Lord over earth,
so sing your best songs to God.
God is Lord of godless
sovereign, he’s King of the mountain.
Princes from all over are gathered,
people of Abraham’s God.
The powers of earth are God’s—
he soars over all.
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
How God’s people praised Him help us to praise Him in our lives. The three affirmations of God’s power, love, mercy, grace and strength are:
1. Our God Is an Awesome King (vv. 1-4). We have moved from “Be still” (46:10) to shouting, clapping, and the blowing of trumpets. Jewish worship was enthusiastic, but they also knew how to be quiet before the Lord and wait upon Him. Since the theme of the psalm is the kingship of the Lord, they worshiped Him the way they welcomed a new king (1 Sam. 10:24; 2 Kings 11:12-13, 20). “The shout of a king is among them” (Num. 23:21).
The early church patterned its worship after the synagogue and emphasized prayer, the reading and expounding of Scripture, and the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. When the Jewish people clapped their hands and shouted, it was to the Lord in response to His marvelous works. They did not do it to praise the people who participated in the worship service.
To know God is to know One who is awesome in all that He is, says, and does.
2. Our God Is a Triumphant King (v. 5). God fills heaven and earth, but when He acts on earth on behalf of His people, the Scriptures sometimes describe Him as “coming down.”
The night 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were slain by the angel, God came down and brought judgment (Isa. 37:28-29, 36) and then “went up” in great glory to His holy throne (v. 8). David gave a similar description of victory in 68:18, a verse Paul quoted in Ephesians 4:8-10, applying it to the ascension of Jesus Christ.
From the human viewpoint, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was a great defeat and tragedy, but not from God’s viewpoint. In His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus won the victory over the world and the Devil (John 12:31-32; Col. 2:15) and satisfied the claims of God’s holy law so that sinners could believe and be saved. What a victory! He then ascended to heaven, far above every enemy (Eph. 1:19-22), where He sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb. 1:3).
3. Our God Is King of Kings (vv. 6-9). A remarkable thing occurs: The rulers and peoples of the Gentile nations join Israel in praising the Lord Jehovah! He is not simply the God and King of Israel, but He is the “King of all the earth.” It was God’s plan when He called Abraham that Israel would be a blessing to all the earth (Gen. 12:1-3; John 12:32; Gal. 3:7-9), for “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).
Throughout their history, Israel has been persecuted by many nations of the world, yet it is Israel that has blessed the world. Israel brought us the knowledge of the one true and living God, they gave us the Scriptures, and they gave us Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Today, Jews and Gentiles in the church are praising God together (Eph. 2:11), and one day in the glorious kingdom, Jews and Gentiles will glorify and praise Him (67:1-7; 72:8-11; Rom. 15:8-13).
For God’s people, every day is Ascension Day as we praise and worship the exalted and ascended Lord!
Who do you praise first and often?
What do you say?
Do our prayers include praise?
Write down ten praises to God every day. They more we praise God the more we value Him. The more we give Him glory, the more we live our lives in joyful gratitude. Begin now…try it for 30 days. See what happens when we develop a habit of praise.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are awesome! You are the One and Only to be praised! You are King of kings and Lord of lords. You are the beginning and the end. You are the Giver of life. You are our Savior. You are with us. You never change in your love for us. You are wisdom. You are our strength. You are who You claim to be…the lover of our souls. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.