(The following texts highlighted in this color of blue is taken from

The Treasury of David by Charles Haddon Spurgeon)  "Excerpted text

Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.  Materials are reproduced

by permission."

                                                Psalm 47

 

 

Title. To the Chief Musician. Many songs were dedicated to this leader of

the chorus, but he was not overloaded thereby. God's service is such

delight that it cannot weary us; and that choicest part of it, the singing of

His praises, is so pleasurable that we cannot have too much of it. Doubtless,

the chief musician, as he was commissioned with so many sacred songs,

felt that the more the merrier. A Psalm for the Sons of Korah. We cannot

agree with those who think that the sons of Korah were the authors of

these Psalms; they have all the indications of David's authorship that one

could expect to see. Our ear has grown accustomed to the ring of David's

compositions, and we are morally certain that we hear it in this Psalm.

Every expert would detect here the autography of the Son of Jesse, or we

are greatly mistaken. The Sons of Korah sang these Psalms, but we believe

they did not write them. Fit singers were they whose origin reminded them

of sin, whose existence was a proof of sovereign grace, and whose name

has a close connection with the name of Calvary.

 

Subject. Whether the immediate subject of this Psalm be the carrying up of

the ark from the house of Obededom to Mount Zion, or the celebration of

some memorable victory, it would be hard to decide. As even the doctors

differ, who should dogmatise? But it is very clear that both the present                                                                                 

sovereignty of Jehovah, and the final victories of our Lord, are here fitly

hymned, while His ascension, as the prophecy of them, is sweetly gloried in.

 

Division. In so short a Psalm, there is no need of any other division than

that indicated by the musical pause at the end of v. 4.

 

1  O clap your hands,” - The most natural and most enthusiastic tokens

of exultation are to be used in view of the victories of the Lord, and His

universal reign. Our joy in God may be demonstrative, and yet He will not

censure it - “all ye people;”  - The joy is to extend to all nations; Israel may

lead the van, but all the Gentiles are to follow in the march of triumph, for they

have an equal share in that kingdom where there is neither Greek nor Jew, but

Christ is all and in all. Even now if they did but know it, it is the best hope

of all nations that Jehovah ruleth over them. If they cannot all speak the

same tongue, the symbolic language of the hands they can all use. All

people will be ruled by the Lord in the latter days, and all will exult in that

rule; were they wise they would submit to it now, and rejoice to do so; yea,

they would clap their hands in rapture at the thought - “shout” - let your

voices keep tune with your hands - “unto God”  - let Him have

all the honors of the day, and let them be loud, joyous, universal, and

undivided - “with the voice of triumph.”  With happy sounds, consonant with

such splendid victories, so great a King, so excellent a rule, and such happy

subjects. Many are human languages, and yet the nations may triumph as

with one voice. Faith's view of God's government is full of transport. The

prospect of the universal reign of the Prince of Peace is enough to make

the tongue of the dumb sing; what will the reality be? Well might the poet

of the seasons bid mountains and valleys raise their joyous hymn:

 

                        "For the GREAT SHEPHERD reigns,

And His unsuffering kingdom yet will come."

 

2   “For the Lord or JEHOVAH, the self existent and only God; “most

High” - most great in power, lofty in dominion, eminent in wisdom, elevated

in glory - “is terrible;” - 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. At a grand review of the troops of a great prince, all

his loyal subjects are filled with triumph, because their liege lord is so able

to defend his own, and so much dreaded by his foes - “He is a great King

over all the earth.” Not over Judea only, but even to the utmost isles His

reign extends. Our God is no local deity, no petty ruler of a tribe; in infinite

majesty He rules the mightiest realm as absolute arbiter of destiny, sole

monarch of all lands, King of kings, and Lord of lords. Not a hamlet or an

islet is excluded from His dominion. How glorious will that era be when

this is seen and known of all; when in the person of Jesus all flesh shall

behold the glory of the Lord!

 

 

3   “He” - with whom is infinite power, “shall subdue the people under us,”

The battle is not ours but the Lord's. He will take His own time, but He will

certainly achieve victory for His church. Truth and righteousness shall

through grace climb to the ascendant. We wage no doubtful warfare.

Hearts the most rebellious, and wills the most stubborn, shall submit to all

conquering grace. All the Lord's people, whether Jews or Gentiles, may

clap their hands at this, for God's victory will be theirs; but surely apostles,

prophets, ministers, and those who suffer and labor the most, may take

the largest share in the joy. Idolatry, infidelity, superstition, we shall yet

tread upon, as men tread down the stones of the street -“and the nations

under our feet.” The church of God shall be the greatest of monarchies,

her victory shall be signal and decisive. Christ shall take to Himself His great

power and reign, and all the tribes of men shall own at once His glory and

the glory of His people in Him. How changed will be the position of affairs

in coming ages! The people of God have been under the feet of men in long

and cruel persecutions, and in daily contempt; but God will reverse the position,

and the best in character shall be first in honor.

 

4  While as yet we see not all things put under Him, we are glad to put ourselves

and our fortunes at His disposal. “He shall choose our inheritance for us,” –

We feel His reign to be so gracious that we even now ask to be in the fullest

degree the subjects of it. We submit our will, our choice, our desire, wholly to Him.

Our heritage here and hereafter we leave to Him, let Him do with us as seemeth

Him good - “the excellency of Jacob whom He loved.”  He gave His ancient

people their portion, He will give us ours, and we ask nothing better; this is the most

spiritual and real manner of clapping our hands because of His sovereignty,

namely, to leave all our affairs in His hands, for then our hands are empty of

all care for self, and free to be used in His honor. He was the boast and

glory of Israel, He is and shall be ours. He loved His people and became

their greatest glory; He loves us, and He shall be our exceeding joy. As for

the latter days, we ask nothing better than to stand in our appointed lot, for

if we have but a portion in our Lord Jesus, it is enough for our largest

desires. Our beauty, our boast, our best treasure, lies in having such a God

to trust in, such a God to love us. “Selah.”  Yes, pause, ye faithful songsters.

Here is abundant room for holy meditation:

 

                        "Muse awhile, obedient thought,

                        Lo, the theme's with rapture fraught;

                        See thy King whose realm extends

                        Even to earth's remotest ends.

                        Gladly shall the nations own

                        Him their God and Lord alone;

                        Clap their hands with holy mirth,

                        Hail Him MONARCH OF THE EARTH.

                        Come, my soul, before Him bow,

                        Gladdest of His subjects thou;

                        Leave thy portion to His choice,

                        In His sovereign will rejoice,

                        This thy purest, deepest bliss,

                        He is thine and thou art His."

 

 

5  God is gone up with a shout,” -  Faith hears the people already

shouting. The command of the first verse is here regarded as a fact. The

fight is over, the conqueror ascends to His triumphant chariot, and rides up

to the gates of the city which is made resplendent with the joy of His return.

The words are fully applicable to the ascension of the Redeemer. We doubt

not that angels and glorified spirits welcomed Him with acclamations. He

came not without song, shall we imagine that He returned in silence? -

the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.”  Jesus is Jehovah. The joyful

strain of the trumpet betokens the splendor of His triumph. It was meet to

welcome one returning from the wars with martial music. Fresh from

Bozrah, with His garments all red from the winepress, He ascended, leading

captivity captive, and well might the clarion ring out the tidings of

Immanuel's victorious return.

 

6   “Sing praises to God” -  What jubilation is here, when five times over the

whole earth is called upon to sing to God! He is worthy, He is Creator, He

is goodness itself. Sing praises, keep on with the glad work. Never let the

music pause. He never ceases to be good, let us never cease to be grateful.

Strange that we should need so much urging to attend to so heavenly an

exercise - “sing praises unto our King, sing praises.”  Let Him have all our

praise; no one ought to have even a particle of it. Jesus shall have it all. Let

His sovereignty be the fount of gladness. It is a sublime attribute, but full of bliss

to the faithful.  Let our homage be paid not in groans but songs. He asks not slaves

to grace His throne; He is no despot; singing is fit homage for a monarch so

blessed and gracious. Let all hearts that own His scepter sing and sing on

for ever, for there is everlasting reason for thanksgiving while we dwell

under the shadow of such a throne.

 

7  For God is the King of all the earth:” - The Jews of our Savior's

time resented this truth, but had their hearts been right they would have

rejoiced in it. They would have kept their God to themselves, and not even

have allowed the Gentile dogs to eat the crumbs from under His table. Alas!

how selfishness turns honey into wormwood. Jehovah is not the God of the

Jews only, all the nations of the earth are, through the Messiah, yet to

own Him Lord. Meanwhile His providential throne governs all events beneath the

sky - “sing ye praises with understanding.  Sing a didactic Psalm. Sound doctrine

praises God. Even under the economy of types and ceremonies, it is clear

that the Lord had regard to the spirituality of worship, and would be

praised thoughtfully, intelligently, and with deep appreciation of the reason

for song. It is to be feared from the slovenly way in which some make a

noise in singing, that they fancy any sound will do. On the other hand, from

the great attention paid by some to the mere music, we feel sadly sure that

the sense has no effect upon them. Is it not a sin to be tickling men's ears

with sounds when we profess to be adoring the Lord? What has a sensuous

delight in organs, anthems, etc., to do with devotion? Do not men mistake

physical effects for spiritual impulses? Do they not often offer to God strains far

more calculated for human amusement than for divine acceptance? An

understanding enlightened of the Holy Spirit is then and then only fully capable

of offering worthy praise.

 

8  God reigneth over the heathen:” - Now at this moment, over the most

debased idolaters, God holds a secret rule; here is work for faith. How we ought

to long for the day when this truth shall be changed in its aspect, and the rule now

unrecognized shall be delighted in! The great truth that God reigneth in providence

is the guarantee that in a gracious gospel sense His promises shall be fulfilled,

 and His kingdom shall come!  (“The Day of the Lord will come” – II Peter

3:10) – “God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness.”  Unmoved He occupies

an undisputed throne, whose decrees, acts, and commands are holiness itself.

What other throne is like this? Never was it stained with injustice, or defiled

with sin. Neither is He who sits upon it dismayed, or in a dilemma.  He sits in

serenity, for He knows His own power, and sees that His purposes will not

miscarry. Here is reason enough for holy song.

 

9   “The princes of the people are gathered together,” -  The prophetic eye

of the psalmist sees the willing subjects of the great King assembled to

celebrate His glory. Not only the poor and the men of low estate are there,

but nobles bow their willing necks to His sway. "All kings shall bow down

before Him." No people shall be unrepresented; their great men shall be

good men, their royal ones regenerate ones. How august will be the

parliament where the Lord Jesus shall open the court, and princes shall rise

up to do Him honor - “even the people of the God of Abraham:”

That same God, who was known only to here and there a patriarch like the

father of the faithful, shall be adored by a seed as many as the stars of heaven.

The covenant promise shall be fulfilled, "In thee and in thy seed shall all

the nations of the earth be blessed"  (Genesis 12:3) - Shiloh shall come, and

"to Him shall the gathering of the people be"  (Ibid. 49:10).  Babel's dispersion

shall be obliterated by the gathering arm of the Great Shepherd King - “for the

shields of the earth belong unto God:” - The insignia of pomp, the

emblems of rank, the weapons of war, all must pay loyal homage to the

King of all.  Right honorables must honor Jesus, and majesties must own

Him to be far more majestic. Those who are earth's protectors, the shields

of the commonwealth, derive their might from Him, and are His. All

principalities and powers must be subject unto Jehovah and His Christ, for

“He is greatly exalted.” In nature, in power, in character, in glory, there is

none to compare with Him. Oh, glorious vision of a coming era! Make

haste, ye wheels of time! Meanwhile, ye saints, "Be ye steadfast,

unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye

know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."  (I Corinthians 15:58)

 

 

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