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Summary: The same God who "chose an inheritance for Jacob" (Psalm 47:4) is also "King over the nations" (Psalm 47:8).

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A PSALM FOR THE ASCENSION

Psalm 47

This is a Psalm of exuberant rejoicing, in which “all peoples” are exhorted to clap their hands and shout (Psalm 47:1). Worship is not an optional extra, but God’s due, and embraces the whole of life.

“God” is identified as “the LORD most high” (Psalm 47:2). This term reminds us of Melchisedec, king of Salem, ‘priest of God most high’ (Genesis 14:18-20): who gave Abraham communion, and blessed him, after the defeat of the kings. This God is a great King over all the earth (Psalm 47:2), to whom we owe our allegiance.

In our Psalm, the LORD comes down to subdue the nations (Psalm 47:3), only to rise up again with a shout and the sound of a trumpet (Psalm 47:5). The same God who "chose an inheritance for Jacob" (Psalm 47:4) is also "King over the nations" (Psalm 47:8).

This is an enthronement Psalm: “God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet” (Psalm 47:5). We are reminded of the Ark of the Covenant being ‘brought up’ to the holy of holies in Jerusalem in the days of King David (2 Samuel 6:15).

Thereafter pilgrims would ‘ascend the hill of the LORD’ (Psalm 24:3) in the worship of the three great annual feasts, singing praise (cf. Psalm 47:6) to the ‘King of glory’ (Psalm 24:7-10), “the King of all the earth” (Psalm 47:7).

JESUS came down, to go up (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus first came down not to judge, but to save (John 3:17). He came to give His life as a ransom instead of many (Mark 10:45). He went down into the Pit, and is raised up out of Hades (Psalm 30:3).

For forty days the risen Lord Jesus walked this earth, as testified by many witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:3-7). Then, we are told, He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19), where He ever lives to make intercession on our behalf (cf. Romans 8:34). From thence He shall return for His own (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), and to judge both the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

Our Lord Jesus Christ provides a reconciliation for those who had once been His foes, and outsiders to His people (Ephesians 2:19). We are gathered together in Him (cf. Ephesians 1:10), and grafted into the olive tree which represents Israel (Romans 11:17-18).

It is in the Lord Jesus Christ that we stand with, and as part of, the people of the God of Abraham. The Psalm ends with “the princes of the peoples” gathered together “as the people of the God of Abraham”, and our God being exalted (Psalm 47:9).


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