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Psalms 47 and 48 - King Of Heaven And Earth

INTRODUCTION: I combined these two Psalms to give more emphasis to the praise and honor the Sons of Korah provided for believers of every age. My desire was to review with the same spirit of steadfast trust in our God and our King, that had motivated the written content of the two Psalms about the Savior of our soul.

NOTE: Bible passages are from the World English Bible.

A - YAHWEH MOST HIGH IS KING OVER ALL THE EARTH

Psalms 47 "1 {For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by the sons of Korah.} Oh clap your hands, all you nations. Shout to God with the voice of triumph! 2 For Yahweh Most High is awesome. He is a great King over all the earth. 3 He subdues nations under us, and peoples under our feet. 4 He chooses our inheritance for us, the glory of Jacob whom he loved. Selah. 5 God has gone up with a shout, Yahweh with the sound of a trumpet. 6 Sing praise to God, sing praises. Sing praises to our King, sing praises. 7 For God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with understanding. 8 God reigns over the nations. God sits on his holy throne. 9 The princes of the peoples are gathered together, the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God. He is greatly exalted!"

COMMENTS: This Psalm pictures a jubilant celebration with musical instruments playing, the joyful clapping of hands of the people of all nations, and gleeful shouts to God with the voice of triumph! For Yahweh Most High is awesome. He is a great King over all the earth. He has subdued nations under all the people who have become part of His everlasting Kingdom. He chooses the inheritance for those who are part of the glory of Jacob whom He loved. So then, we need to pause at this "Selah" and consider that even non-Jews can be part of the glory of Jacob: as those who also have been chosen and loved by Yahweh, and will receive an everlasting inheritance at the time appointed by the majestic and eternal King.

The phrase "God has gone up with a shout, Yahweh with the sound of a trumpet" could describe the highest point of the praise in lifting up the name of Yahweh. Since Christ was lifted up on the cross this phrase can have special meaning of worship for Christians. His resurrection defeated the sting of death, and He triumphantly returned upward to heaven to the right hand of the Father. So, as throughout the past, and now in the present, all who belong to Yahweh God should sing praise to our King! We should understand that God is the King of all the earth, and reigns over all nations and all people, though not all people know that undeniable truth. The princes and the people of the God of Abraham had Jerusalem as a secure gathering point during the reign of King David, and then during the reign of King Solomon. Though that physical temple was destroyed and had to be rebuilt more than once, God forever sits upon His holy throne. The people who have faith like that of Abraham will worship Yahweh in the present as in the past. John the Baptist warned the religious Jews not to depend upon their heritage to make them acceptable before God. And Jesus also bluntly told some religious leaders that the devil was their father even though they were born in the line of Abraham!

Matthew 3 "9 Don't think to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 "Even now the axe lies at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn't bring forth good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit."

John 8 "37 I know that you are Abraham's seed, yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you. 38 I say the things which I have seen with my Father; and you also do the things which you have seen with your father." 39 They answered him, "Our father is Abraham." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham didn't do this. 41 You do the works of your father." They said to him, "We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father, God." 42 Therefore Jesus said to them, "If God were your father, you would love me, for I came out and have come from God. For I haven't come of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why don't you understand my speech? Because you can't hear my word. 44 You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn't stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and its father."

John 1 "10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn't recognize him. 11 He came to his own, and those who were his own didn't receive him. 12 But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God's children, to those who believe in his name: 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth."

Galatians 3 "6 Even as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." 7 Know therefore that those who are of faith, the same are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Good News beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you all the nations will be blessed." 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham."

Romans 1 "16 For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek. 17 For in it is revealed God's righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, "But the righteous shall live by faith.""


B - YAHWEH IS GREAT AND GREATLY TO BE PRAISED

Psalms 48 "1 {A Song. A Psalm by the sons of Korah.} Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in his holy mountain. 2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the north sides, the city of the great King. 3 God has shown himself in her citadels as a refuge. 4 For, behold, the kings assembled themselves, they passed by together. 5 They saw it, then they were amazed. They were dismayed. They hurried away. 6 Trembling took hold of them there, pain, as of a woman in travail. 7 With the east wind, you break the ships of Tarshish. 8 As we have heard, so we have seen, in the city of Yahweh of Armies, in the city of our God. God will establish it forever. Selah."

COMMENTS: some of the verses of this Psalm may be seen as prophetic; and they may also be figuratively expressive of the power and glory of Yahweh, the forever King. The first three verses of Psalm 48 relate best to the splendor of the temple built by Solomon. During the reign of successive kings in Judah, there were periods of alternating worship of other gods, and then returns to repairs and honoring of the temple. More than 700 years after the original temple was completed, King Neco of Egypt subjected Jerusalem and Judah to tribute for eleven years. Then king Nebuchadnezzar Of Babylon had control over Judah for another eleven years, and at the end of that time the temple in Jerusalem was completely destroyed. After more than seventy years, there was the beginning of the erection of another temple, but with far less resources available than in the time of Solomon. Christians today have the explanation from additional Scriptures of how we can apply glory and praise to our everlasting God from memories of that marvelous temple in Jerusalem, and the reality of the sure promise in Christ of the eternal kingdom.

Hebrews 9 "8 The Holy Spirit is indicating this, that the way into the Holy Place wasn't yet revealed while the first tabernacle was still standing; 9 which is a symbol of the present age, where gifts and sacrifices are offered that are incapable, concerning the conscience, of making the worshipper perfect; 10 being only (with meats and drinks and various washings) fleshly ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation. 11 But Christ having come as a high priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, 12 nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh: 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

Ephesians 2"19 So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, 20 being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone; 21 in whom the whole building, fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit."

King Hezekiah led Judah back to worship Yahweh; and then the passages below describe the miraculous way Yahweh destroyed the threat from the overwhelming armies of Sennacherib king of Assyria. This likely has only an indirect connection to verses 4 through 6 of Psalm 48. But the reign of King Hezekiah in the southern kingdom of Judah was one of the few periods when a king in that line truly sought to serve Yahweh as described in 2 Chronicles, chapters 29 through 31. This was almost three hundred years after the Jerusalem temple was first completed during the reign of Solomon.

2 Chronicles 32 "1 After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.
2 Chronicles 32 "16 His servants spoke yet more against Yahweh God, and against his servant Hezekiah. 17 He also wrote letters insulting Yahweh, the God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, "As the gods of the nations of the lands, which have not delivered their people out of my hand, so shall the God of Hezekiah not deliver his people out of my hand." 18 They cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city. 19 They spoke of the God of Jerusalem, as of the gods of the peoples of the earth, which are the work of men's hands. 20 Hezekiah the king, and Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz, prayed because of this, and cried to heaven. 21 Yahweh sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains, in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. When he had come into the house of his god, those who came forth from his own bowels killed him there with the sword. 22 Thus Yahweh saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side."

Here is some background for the ships of Tarshish mentioned in verse 7 of this Psalm. King Solomon had many riches brought to him by ships from Tarshish. King Jehoshaphat began his 25 year reign in Jerusalem 61 years after Solomon, and because he cooperated with the king of Israel in the north, ships were destroyed.

2 Chronicles 9 "21 For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks."
2 Chronicles 20 "37 Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish."

Verse 8 of Psalm 48 reminds Christians that the magnificent temple of God completed in the reign of King Solomon only foreshadowed the truly everlasting temple of God. Our faith and hope is not in this present world and the riches it contains, but in the world to come at the end of the age. God will establish it forever. Selah.


C - YAHWEH IS OUR GOD FOREVER AND EVER

Psalms 48 "9 We have thought about your loving kindness, God, in the midst of your temple. 10 As is your name, God, so is your praise to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is full of righteousness. 11 Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice, Because of your judgments. 12 Walk about Zion, and go around her. Number its towers. 13 Mark well her bulwarks. Consider her palaces, that you may tell it to the next generation. 14 For this God is our God forever and ever. He will be our guide even to death."

COMMENTS: Because the Word of God has been spread all around the world over many centuries since the worshippers in Jerusalem were able to think about Jehovah's loving kindness in the midst of His temple: the written Word enables all Christians to believe that as is the name of God, so is His praise to the ends of the earth. Yahweh, Your right hand is full of righteousness. Let your church be glad! Let those who can be called the children of Abraham because they have the likeness of his faith, rejoice Because Yahweh has only righteous judgments. The beauty within this Psalm represents the attributes of Yahweh God that can be passed on to each new generation of believers, because those things are much more than a physical temple. This God is the God of those who have saving faith. Yahweh is our God even unto death, and then forever and ever.

Matthew 24"1 Jesus went out from the temple, and was going on his way. His disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, "You see all of these things, don't you? Most certainly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown down.""

John 2 "18 The Jews therefore answered him, "What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things?" 19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20 The Jews therefore said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple! Will you raise it up in three days?" 21 But he spoke of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this, and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said."

Hebrews 12 "18 For you have not come to a mountain that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and to blackness, darkness, storm, 19 the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which those who heard it begged that not one more word should be spoken to them, 20 for they could not stand that which was commanded, "If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned" 21 and so fearful was the appearance, that Moses said, "I am terrified and trembling." 22 But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable multitudes of angels, 23 to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel. 25 See that you don't refuse him who speaks. For if they didn't escape when they refused him who warned on the earth, how much more will we not escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven, 26 whose voice shook the earth then, but now he has promised, saying, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens." 27 This phrase, "Yet once more," signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, receiving a Kingdom that can't be shaken, let us have grace, through which we serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire."

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Yahweh, my God, I thank you that because of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus I have access to your royal throne in heaven to bring my praise and petitions before you. It is no longer necessary to bring specified sacrifices to an earthly alter and temple to be presented to an appointed priest. I want to keep in mind that the riches and glory of this world can become deceptive, and represent temptation away from worship of the only true God who has an everlasting kingdom prepared for those who have accepted your saving grace. Over the centuries you showed miraculous signs and wonders to verify your power to provide for your chosen people in times of great need, or to protect them from violent threats from godless people. I know I have the same weakness in the flesh that allowed continual cycles of sometimes serving you, and then completely turning away. I especially want to have the joy that is a key element of the Psalms attributed to the Sons of Korah, knowing that they gave full honor and praise to Yahweh, unlike the rebellious nature of their ancestral father who opposed Moses in the wilderness. Hallelujah to the Eternal King! Amen.

Published 30 June 2020