International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending October 24, 2010
Purpose: To understand how God's sovereignty over all is something to celebrate.
Scripture Text: Psalm 47 (NRSV)
(1)Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy.
(2)For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth.
(3)He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.
(4)He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah
(5)God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
(6)Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
(7)For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm.
(8)God is king over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
(9)The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This psalm is the first of seven enthronement psalms; it speaks of God as king of all creation. It may have been part of a litany designed for one of the high holy days.
The instructions seem to clash with those of us that like a more somber service, it seems to encourage noise as a form of worship. I realize God loves noise as has been stated; “make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” I will admit I have never been a big fan of applause during a worship service, having been raised in a conservative environment; I have often viewed it as applauding man rather than God. Regardless of my personal feelings, it appears that the psalmist is encouraging us to use whatever we have at our disposal to praise God, shouts, songs, or hands. I pray that I can overcome my hesitance to use what is available to me to praise the Most High, as long as it is praising God and not man.
In today's world the word “awesome” is probably one of the most over used words in our modern vocabulary, therefore at first reading the word does not have the power that it deserves, but truly our God is an awesome God, the King of all kings.
The verses three and four of our text offer a bit of controversy. Did God use the nation of Israel to subdue the Palestinians? Or did God use the nation of Israel to showcase Himself? Sometimes we start believing that somehow we own God, rather than Him owning us. As we continue reading this psalm we see in verse nine, that all nations come under the same umbrella of God's universal love for all of His creation. Indeed “the pride of Jacob,” is the nation of Israel, and when one looks today at this small nation and its restoration that took place some 64 years ago, it was indeed a miracle, that has placed this tiny nation as one of the great powers of the modern day world. God indeed loves the “pride of Jacob” but he also loves all of the nations. We should not confuse His plan of redemption for all nations, with His unique love for those He chose to convey this message to the entire world.
Verse five is often associated with the ascension of Jesus, some days, after his resurrection. And the use of trumpets heralding His return is used in the Book of Revelation. When the psalmist uses the phrase “God has gone up with a shout” then continues that “the Lord with the sound of a trumpet” he may be implying that God is still on His throne and from that throne He continues to rule over His creation. All of this creates a response of “Sing praises” over and over again, because our God reigns.
God sitting on His royal throne, rules over all of the “princes” and “shields” (kings in the NIV) of this world. This does not sound like a God that issues conditional love just to the “pride of Jacob” but rather is assuring the world of His universal love for all nations and people. Sometimes we confuse His plan of desiring all men come to Him, with an exclusive right that we as believers feel we have earned. God's grace is that He has made available to everyone who wishes to acknowledge him, as the one that rules all of creation, can call Him Lord. He can become for each of us a way of restoration to what He intended us to be. He deserves our highest exhortation; all praise is deserved by Him. He is worthy of our hands clapping, our shouting, our loud songs of joy, as well as our quiet reverence. Selah