Introduction: Psalm 47 continues the Messianic Psalms about Earth’s future King, whom the New Testament reveals to be Jesus Christ. Here, the psalmist reveals seven reasons to praise the enthronement of Jesus as Earth’s King of Kings. These include His: (1) righteous omnipotence, (2) sovereignty, (3) loving grace, (4) deliverance, (5) glory, (6) holiness, and (7) redemption.
First, the psalmist prophesied that the Messiah will be an all-powerful King over all the nations, and that He is worthy of reverence and praise. This prophecy pointed to Jesus. You can praise Him and show Him reverence and praise because He uses His power to reign in righteousness. Second, the psalmist also prophesied that the Messiah will one day subdue the evil nations. You can also praise Jesus for being sovereign and defeating evil. Third, as a measure of God’s grace and love, the psalmist praised God for selecting the people of Jacob to be His chosen people. Jacob was a sinner. God selected him out of love and grace. You can also praise Jesus for choosing you out of love and grace despite your many sins. Fourth, the psalmist praised the Messiah for His triumphant arrival with the blowing of the shofar (a trumpet). This foreshadows when Jesus will return and allow the dead to rise and live with Him in heaven. This is only possible because He conquered death at the cross. He is worthy of your praise because He can also deliver you from both sin and death. Fifth, the psalmist repeated five times his command for the people of the Earth to praise God for His glory. You can also praise Jesus because His death made it possible for you to also share in His Shekinah glory. Sixth, the psalmist praised the Messiah for ruling the nations from a holy throne. You can also praise Jesus for being a just and holy ruler. Finally, the psalmist prophesied that the Messiah would one day unite the gentiles and Jews in a holy assembly before God. This again foreshadowed Jesus. You can praise Jesus for redeeming and uniting His lost sheep, both Jews and gentiles, to be with Him.
1. Omnipotence: Praise Jesus For Being Your Good, All-Powerful King. Ps. 47:1-2.
The psalmist urged all the people of the Earth to celebrate God, the King of the Earth. While most psalms are directed to God’s people, the psalmist began this Psalm with an appeal for all the people of the Earth (both Jews and gentiles) to celebrate and show reverence to the true King of Kings over all the Earth: “For the music director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. 1 Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with a voice of joy. 2 For the Lord Most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth.” (Ps. 47:1-2). (Ps. 47:1). Jesus Christ came to fulfill this prophecy as the King of Kings over all the Earth: “This psalm, like that which precedes it, belongs to the ‘Enthronement’ group, and is eschatological in content, though it deals only with the culminating act of the eschatological drama. It pictures the time when, after the elimination of all evil elements, the Kingdom of God will be established on earth. Yahweh, having ascended upon His throne amid the shouts of praise of all nations, has become King over all the world. Such a psalm would be appropriately sung at the festival during which was celebrated Yahweh’s ascent upon His throne. As in the preceding psalm, the actual present is envisaged in the light of the ideal future. Like all the psalms the subject-matter of which is eschatological, the influence of prophetical teaching appears prominently.” (Bellinger, W. H. Jr., Psalms. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1990, p. 259).
The Messiah will one day rule over all the nations. All the nations belong to God: “For the kingdom is the LORD’s and He rules over the nations.” (Ps. 22:28). The Messiah will come to restore God’s rule over the nations: “And the LORD will be King over all the earth; on that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.” (Zech. 14:9). Jesus will fulfill this prophecy when He reclaims the Earth and its people.
Jesus will use His power to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham to bless the Earth. God promised Abraham that all the people of the Earth would be blessed through His Covenant: “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Gen. 12:3). Jesus came to fulfill this promise and make God’s blessings available to both Jews and gentiles: “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” (Gal. 3:8). Thus, Jesus is worthy of your praise for the undeserved blessings that He offers.
Praise Jesus for what He makes possible through His omnipotent power. The rulers of Earth mostly rule out of self-interest, and none have the power to save. Jesus is worthy of your praise because He uses His omnipotent power as King of Kings for good to bring about salvation to all who believe in Him as Lord and Savior: “Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will pretend to obey You.’ . . . Come and see the works of God, who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of mankind.’ (Ps. 66:3, 5). “God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God!” (Ps. 68:35). “You, You indeed are to be feared, and who may stand in Your presence, once You are angry? . . . He will cut off the spirit of princes; He is feared by the kings of the earth.” (Ps. 76:7, 12). “A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all those who are around Him?” (Ps. 89:7). “For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods.” (1 Chr. 16:25).
Fear Jesus by hating what He calls evil. The psalmist proclaimed that “the Lord Most High is to be feared.” (Ps. 47:2). The fear of the Lord brings wisdom and understanding: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Prov. 9:10). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who follow His commandments have a good understanding; His praise endures forever.” (Ps. 111:10). You can show your fear of the Lord by hating what He calls evil: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; . . .” (Prov. 8:13). Hating what Jesus defines as evil shows your reverence and your appreciation for the heavy price that He paid for you.
2. Sovereignty: Praise Jesus For Being Sovereign and Defeating Evil. Ps. 47:3.
The psalmist declared that the future King of Kings will subdue His enemies on Earth. For those who have not yet submitted to Yahweh (both Jews and gentiles), the psalmist warned that the Messiah will come and subdue all the nations who opposed Him: “3 He subdues peoples under us and nations under our feet.” (Ps. 47:3). This prophecy also gives hope to God’s people in their oppression. The return of the Messiah will put an end to all the evil nations who have persecuted God’s people throughout history.
Jesus will one day subdue the nations who oppose Him. The Psalms contain many similar prophecies of the Messiah’s future conquest over the nations which oppose Him: “I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet. . . The God who executes vengeance for me, and subdues peoples under me.” (Ps. 18:38, 47). “I would quickly subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their adversaries.” (Ps. 81:14). “My faithfulness and my fortress, my stronghold and my savior, my shield and He in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.” (Ps. 144:2). “The God who executes vengeance for me, and brings down peoples under me,” (2 Sam. 22:48).
Every knee will bow and confess Jesus as Lord. Isaiah also prophesied the Messiah’s victory over the rebellious nations: ‘“I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.”’ (Is. 45:23). Jesus will fulfill this prophecy when He returns to judge the nations: “so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” (Phil. 2:10).
3. Love: Praise Jesus For Choosing You Out of Love and Grace. Ps. 47:4.
The psalmist praised God for His love and grace in selecting His people. As a measure of God’s love and grace, the psalmist referred to God’s selection of His people through His selection of the patriarch Jacob: “4 He chooses our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob whom He loves. Selah” (Ps. 47:4). Jacob was a sinner. He did nothing to earn God’s blessings or His love. This symbolized the love and grace that Jesus shows to all sinners. Out of grace, Jesus loved you and died for you despite your many sins against Him.
The psalmist referred to Jacob by his pre-transformation name. In a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, He renamed Jacob as “Israel”: “27 So he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ 28 He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.’” (Gen. 32:27-28). After Israel stumbled in his walk, “El Shaddai” (translated as “God Almighty”) confirmed both His Covenant and His new name of “Israel” for Jacob: “9 Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. 10 God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.’ Thus He called him Israel.” (Gen. 35:9-10). Why then would the psalmist referred to the patriarch as “Jacob” instead of “Israel”? The psalmist’s careful choice of words were meant to emphasize God’s love and grace for Jacob as a sinner.
God’s covenant with Jacob shows that His blessings are based on mercy and grace. On seven occasions, God promised to extend Abraham’s blessing to include countless future descendants: (1) Gen. 12:3(b); (2) 13:16; (3) 15:5; (4) 16:10; (5) 17:4-5; (6) 18:18; (7) 22:18. God later affirmed this same covenant with Isaac (Gen. 26:23-25) and then Jacob (Gen. 28:13-15). But Jacob had done nothing to earn God’s covenant. His life of scheming, lies, and deceit should have disqualified him. Moreover, he continued to sin even after God extended His covenant to him. Yet, like Jacob, no one has a right to claim God’s covenant based upon their conduct. All have sinned and fallen short: “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” (Ecc. 7:20; Ps. 14:3; Ro. 3:10, 23). God’s covenant with Jacob shows that His blessings are based upon mercy and grace. No one can claim that they have earned them: “The LORD is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.” (Ps. 145:8). “Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;”’ (Ex. 34:6; Ja. 5:11). Have you given thanks for your unearned blessings?
Jesus’s covenant with you is also a path paved with His mercy and grace. Like Jacob, Jesus also loved you and called you while you were still a sinner: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . . But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro. 5:6, 8).
Out of love, Jesus died on the cross so that everyone might find eternal life. Out of love, God planned before time began to send Jesus to die on the cross to allow all who believe to have eternal life: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,’” (Jo. 11:25-26; 14:19). Through Jesus, you can “obtain an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” (1 Pet. 1:4). “And [Jesus] said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”’ (Lk. 23:43). Paul “was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.” (2 Cor. 12:4). “but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (2 Tim. 1:10). “To the one who overcomes, I will grant to eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’” (Rev. 2:7b). “The one who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” (Rev. 21:7). Are you praising Jesus for your gift of eternal life?
God promised to restore the descendants of Jacob. Like Jacob, his descendants would continue to sin and live according to their flesh. But God promised to restore the fallen descendants of Jacob out of mercy and grace: “For the LORD will restore the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel, even though destroyers have laid waste to them and ruined their vines.” (Nahum 2:2). Any believer in Jesus is an heir to Jacob’s spiritual inheritance (Eph. 1:3-6). Through faith in Jesus, each believer’s spiritual inheritance will also be restored: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” (1 Pet. 1:3-4).
4. Deliverance: Praise Jesus For Delivering You From Sin and Death. Ps. 47:5.
The psalmist hailed Messiah’s future ascension as the conquering King. The psalmist foretold that the future Messiah would ascend with the triumphant blowing of the shofar: “5 God has ascended with a shout, the Lord, with the sound of a trumpet.” (Ps. 47:5). This foreshadows Jesus’ return. He will return with the blowing of a trumpet. He will then gather together the dead who believed in Him and deliver them to live in heaven.
Jesus will ascend with those who were once captive to sin and death. The psalmist later prophesied that the Messiah would ascend with people who were once captives: “You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives; You have received gifts among people, even among the rebellious as well, that the LORD God may dwell there.” (Ps. 68:18). Jesus came to fulfill this prophecy: “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captive the captives, and He gave gifts to people.”’ (Eph. 4:7-8). “The going up here refers to ascending to a royal throne. The idea is that the great King has taken His throne and therefore receives a shout of praise. The idea is that God comes down from heaven to help and save His people, and when He goes back up to heaven, He deserves praise and acclamation from His people. Jesus ascended the royal throne in heaven after He finished His work for us on the cross and proved it by the empty tomb. He can only go up with a shout because He came down in humility to fight for His people and to save them. (David Guzik on Ps. 47) (emphasis original).2 Jesus is again worthy of your praise.
Jesus will free the captives of sin and death with the blowing of the Shofar. In the Old Testament, God’s New Year or Rosh Hashanah began with the blowing of a shofar or ram’s horn: “Also on the day of your joy and at your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you before your God. I am the LORD your God.” (Nu. 10:10). Jesus’s return where He will gather the captives of death will also be preceded with the blowing of a Shofar: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thess. 4:16).
5. Glory: Praise Jesus For Sharing His Shekinah Glory With You. Ps. 47:6-7.
The psalmist praised the Messiah for sharing His glory as the King of all the Earth. On five separate occasions, the psalmist commanded all the Earth to sing praises for the glory of the King: “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 of wisdom.” (Ps. 47:6-7). One commentator observes that “We exist for God’s glory. Our problem is that we keep wanting to exist for ourselves, for our own pleasure and renown rather than God’s. Psalm 47 celebrates the day when Yahweh’s King (Ps. 45) will have established Yahweh’s new city (Ps. 46) and all the nations will celebrate Him as the world’s only true Lord. He is triumphant, resplendent, and worthy. . . Psalm 47 calls all the world’s inhabitants to erupt in praise because Yahweh has gone up with a shout, the shofar has sounded, and the faith has become sight.” (James M. Hamilton Jr., Evangelical Bible Theology Commentary Psalms (Vol. I: Psalms 1-72) (Lexham Academic 2021) p. 482).
Praise Jesus for sharing His glory with you. Throughout the Psalms, the future reign of the Messiah is celebrated with shouts of joy: “With trumpets and the sound of the horn shout joyfully before the King, the LORD.” (Ps. 98:6). “I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.” (Ps. 7:17). “I will rejoice and be jubilant in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” (Ps. 9:2). “Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious.” (Ps. 66:2). “Sing to God, sing praises to His name; exalt Him who rides through the deserts, whose name is the LORD, and be jubilant before Him.” (Ps. 68:4). “So that they will know that You alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth.” (Ps. 83:18). Jesus is also worthy of your praise because He will share His glory with you.
All creation will praise Jesus. In heaven, all creation will sing songs of joy before the King of Kings: “The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into shouts of joy.” (Is. 14:7). “Shout for joy, you heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; break into a shout of jubilation, you mountains, forest, and every tree in it; for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and in Israel He shows His glory.” (Is. 44:23). “Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” (Ps. 96:3). “A Psalm. Sing a new song to the LORD, for He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him . . . May the rivers clap their hands, may the mountains sing together for joy.” (Ps. 98:1, 8).
6. Holiness: Praise Jesus For Being a Just and Holy Ruler. Ps. 47:8.
The psalmist praised the Messiah for reigning from a holy throne. The Messiah will be unlike any other Earthy ruler because He will reign with holiness and righteousness: “8 God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.” (Ps. 47:8). This foreshadows Jesus Christ. He is a holy ruler whose light will guide His people.
Jesus’ holiness guides you when you are in darkness. God’s holiness includes a beauty that is unlike anything human eyes have seen: “The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the LORD has clothed and encircled Himself with strength. Indeed, the world is firmly established; it will not be moved.” (Ps. 93:1). Because He is holy, Jesus’ light can also guide you in darkness. When you feel trapped in darkness, He wants you to call Him to be your light: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (Jo. 1:4). “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”’ (Jo. 8:12). “I have come as Light into the world, so that no one who believes in Me will remain in darkness.” (Jo. 12:46). When you feel trapped in darkness, cry out to Jesus for His light.
Be holy because God is holy. Because God is holy, He expects His people to be holy as well: “For I am the LORD your God . . . be holy, for I am holy.” (Lev. 11:44). “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” (Lev. 19:2). “You are to be my holy people.” (Ex. 22:31). “for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Pet. 1:16). To become holy, Jesus began His public ministry with a call to repentance. “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’ (Matt. 4:17). Jesus came “saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”’ (Mk. 1:15). His disciples also began their ministry with a call to repentance: “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”’ (Acts 2:38). If you say that you are without sin, the Bible says that the truth is not in you (1 Jo. 1:8). Yet, if you confess your sins, Jesus promises to forgive your sins: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). What sins do you need to repent of?
Jesus’ holy throne is a throne of grace. Because no one is able to approach Jesus’ holy throne on their own merit, it is called a throne of grace “Therefore let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need.” (Heb. 4:16). Are you giving thanks for Jesus’ mercy and grace?
7. Redemption: Praise Jesus For Redeeming and Uniting His Lost Sheep. Ps. 47:9.
The psalmist praised the future assembly of Jews and gentiles before God as one people. The psalmist concluded by foretelling of a joint assembly of the “princes of the people” along with the “people of the God of Abraham” before the exalted God in one assembly: “9 The princes of the people have assembled as the people of the God of Abraham, for the shields of the earth belong to God; He is highly exalted.” (Ps. 47:9). This assembly would fulfill many Old Testament prophecies and be made possible through Jesus Christ. “All the nobles assemble themselves as the people of the God of Abraham. This is unique. The nations are often described as attaching themselves to Israel in the worship of the LORD (e.g., Isa. 2:2ff, 11:10, 56:5ff.), but they are not identified as the people of God, for that anticipate the future realization that Gentiles will be part of the people of God (see Isa. 19:25; Gen. 12:3; Hos. 2:23) . . . In this, one can see how the so-called enthronement psalms form the background of the New Testament teaching of the kingdom of God (see Rom. 11:25) and so also have an eschatological meaning. The concepts introduced in a psalm like Psalm 47 find their fulfillment in God’s dominion of the world in Christ. And it is easy then see how the ascendancy of God in the psalm was easily understood by the Church typologically of Christ’s ascension.” (Allen Ross, A Commentary of the Psalms: Volume 2 (42-89), Kregel Academic (2013) p. 120).
Jesus fulfilled God’s plan for a unified nation of believers. At the end of his life, Isaac called for a nation to arise from Jacob as a “company of peoples.” (Gen. 28:3). This foreshadowed the future nation of Israel. Later, God expanded upon this blessing by prophetically calling for a “company of nations” to come from his line: “God also said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come forth from you.’” (Gen. 35:11). This foreshadows the future united reign when Jesus the Messiah returns. “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will worship before You.” (Ps. 22:27). “And let all kings bow down before him, all nations serve him.” (Ps. 72:11). “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.” (Ps. 86:9; Micah 4:1; Is. 56:7).
Faith in Jesus is all that is required to inherit the blessings of Abraham. God promised Abraham that, through him, “all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Gen. 12:3; 17:4; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Josh. 24:3; Is. 51:2). Jesus later fulfilled the promise to extend this blessings to believers throughout the world (Gal. 3:8, 29; Acts 3:25). Faith is all that is required to receive these blessings: “For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,” (Ro. 4:16). Have you given thanks for your undeserved right to share in God’s blessings to Abraham?