Psalm 47: a prophecy
Psalm 47 God is King Over All the Earth To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. (1) Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! (2) For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, 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 reigns 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! ESV
For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah. NLT
Some Bible scholars believe this psalm is a continuation of the previous, others disagree. Some believe the “sons of Korah” are the authors here, others clearly hear David’s voice and see the descendants of Korah as performers or musicians.
What we will agree upon is that God wanted this song exactly where He placed it. He wanted it sung in His temple and read in His Word by His people throughout time. The authors and performers are clearly celebrating a great victory and giving God the glory for it.
Whether the immediate subject of this Psalm be the carrying up of the ark from the house of Obed Edom to Mount Zion, or the celebration of some memorable victory, it would be hard to decide.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
For centuries now, this psalm is sung during the “Feast of Trumpets “(Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish calendar). The celebration of a new year. Originally, trumpets were a big part of this celebration; like God winning a victory in battle or the ark finally ascending into the temple or Jesus ascending His throne at the end of days!
Come everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the LORD Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth. He subdues the nations before us, putting our enemies beneath our feet. He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance, the proud possession of Jacob's descendants, whom he loves. Interlude. Psalm 47:1-4 NLT
The call is to everyone. Come everyone. Clap and shout and praise God.
Not just the Israelites, but everyone.
The Hebrew word in verse 2 is interesting in English, here are two different translations of that same word:
For the LORD Most high is awesome, the great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:2 NIV For the LORD Most High is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:2 KJV
Our God is King over all kings through time and forevermore. There is none above Him. That makes Him “terrible” and “awesome” at the same time.
. . . none can resist his power or stand before his vengeance; yet as these terrors are wielded on the behalf of his subjects, they are fit reasons for rejoicing. Omnipotence, which is terrible to crush, is almighty to protect.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. Psalm 47:3 KJV
Here, the author is sure in his faith that God will do great things for His people. God will be King over all. He will have vengeance for His people.
When the world persecutes the children of God for their beliefs, we take heart in God’s promises, in His truths and in His faithfulness.
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19
And truly, if God is for us, no one can stand against us. But it is still hard to live in a world that we know we do not belong in. Jesus, who did nothing but speak love and truth in His time here, was persecuted and hated by some, then tortured and killed. His life is a reminder to stay strong.
God will do what He said He would do.
He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance, the proud possession of Jacob's descendants, whom he loves. Psalm 47:4 NLT
Here the author is talking about Canaan, the Promised Land of God’s people. In the Old Testament, God promise this “land flowing with milk and honey” to His children from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Moses to Joshua, the story is long and hard.
On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates- Genesis 15:18 I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD. Exodus 6:8 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. Joshua 1:4 ESV
But .. . . how long did they wander around the desert? How long before they lost faith in its existence? How many of them made it into the Promised Land? How often did they grumble about how hard it was to get there?
God made the expectations of entrance into their inheritance very clear, from the beginning. As He does for us. We have an inheritance as His children, not on earth, but in heaven. His expectations are still clear.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5
And when Jesus came,
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 22:37-40 ESV
We are given the same inheritance with the same expectations, yet it is still hard. How long do we wander? How long do we fight with our own selfishness? How long until we submit to our Father and wait upon His provision?
Once the people had settled within the Promised Land of Canaan, the Lord was still having to remind them and demand their attention:
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15
God chose us. He loves us and will provide for us . . . but He demands that we choose.
God has ascended with a mighty shout. The LORD has ascended with trumpets blaring. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm. God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne. The rulers of the world have gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham. For all the kings of the earth belong to God. He is highly honored everywhere. Psalm 47:5-9 NLT
God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of the trumpet. It is worthy that this mention of the shout, and the voice of the trumpet, serves to connect together past and future events in the history of the church and of the world, and carry our thoughts forward to Christ’s coming to judgment.Charles Wordsworth, Scottish bishop, 1806-1892
These verses sing of God taking His throne, the Great King ascending the steps with shouts of joy from all the peoples of the earth. This is not merely the celebration of the ark entering the temple or a victory on the battlefield; this is prophetic. This is Jesus.
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Matthew 25:31 ESV Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22:1 ESV The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever." Revelation 11:15 "Look, he is coming with the clouds," and "every eye will see him, even those who pierced him;" and all the peoples one earth "will mourn because of him." So shall it be! Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:7-8
The words “sing praises” is actually one Hebrew word.
God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: For the shields of the earth belong unto God: He is greatly exalted. Psalm 47:8-9 KJV
Here all the nations have come together to celebrate. All princes and peoples are present together.
For we were all baptized by one spirit so as to for one body-whether jews or gentiles, slave or free- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 1 Corinthians 12:13
Something great had happened for the people of Israel. Something so wonderful that they were shouting and singing and praising the Lord. Even the nations around them were there and celebrating with them.
Who are the “shields of the earth?” Are these great warriors or strong men of renowned deeds?
No one knows for sure. But truly this is a prophecy of the coming of the Lord. All peoples, all nations, all tribes will worship, shout, and sing to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
In this amazing little song- written thousands of years ago- we very clearly see Jesus and the future of God’s people. God has a hand in all of time, and that brings us peace today.
Father in heaven, you are good and faithful. Thank you for this psalm and for what you have revealed through it. Help us to treasure your works and may they truly sink into our hearts. Then let us proclaim them to everyone around us with shouts of joy. Thank you for being our Good Father. Amen.