April 17 2023
Today, Monday April 17
“Sing Praises, Sing Praises…”
“Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For the LORD Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. He will subdue the peoples under us, And the nations under our feet. He will choose our inheritance for us, The excellence of Jacob whom He loves. Selah
God has gone up with a shout, The LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding. God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne. The princes of the people have gathered together, The people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; He is greatly exalted.”
We believe that Psalms 46, 47, and 48 were written on the occasion in Israel’s history when the Assyrian King Sennacherib had surrounded the city of Jerusalem with his great army and was demanding their surrender. King Hezekiah took their letter of demands and laid it out before the LORD and prayed for deliverance. Because he prayed and trusted the LORD, the prophet Isaiah came and told him that the LORD would give him a great victory.
To really appreciate and understand these three Psalms, please take the time to read about this event in 2 Kings 18-19 and Isaiah 37.
It is possible that after King Hezekiah prayed, and Isaiah came with the word from the LORD Himself would give a miraculous victory of this great enemy, that he wrote Psalm 46 in faith and in anticipation of God answering his prayer. He proclaimed: “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…” “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalm 46:1-2; 10-11)
I can see Isaiah and King Hezekiah staying up the rest of the night praying and waiting on the LORD. Early the next morning as the sun begins to rise, the word comes to them that the army of the Assyrians has been destroyed. The Angel of LORD had come in the night and killed 185,000 soldiers and their corpses lay across the fields surrounding the city walls.
It is then that Hezekiah takes up his pen again and writes Psalm 47! The promise of 46:10,"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth", is fulfilled in Ps. 47. Now after they see this great victory, five times the people are commanded to "sing praises… sing praises" to the Lord who "is the King of all the earth…” who "reigns over the nations” (vv. 6-8).
So, it appears that this Psalm was written to celebrate the defeat of Sennacherib, then it describes the people of Israel proclaiming to the surrounding Gentile nations the glorious victory of their God, a victory won without their having to fight a battle! Even to this day this Psalm is used in the synagogues on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year's Day.
This Psalm is also used in the church on Ascension Day. We believe that it is also a Messianic Psalm. “God is gone up with a shout” (v. 5). After Jesus resurrection, He ascended into heaven in front of His disciples (Acts 1:9-11). Ephesians 4:8-10 also speaks of His ascension: “Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men." (Now this, "He ascended"--what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)”
That was His first ascension! But Jesus will ascend again after He comes in judgement to destroy the armies of the Antichrist at the end of the Tribulation. (Revelation 19-20). I believe this Psalm is in anticipation of this ascension when Jesus sets up His Kingdom on the earth and rules from His holy throne in Jerusalem for a thousand years.
I trust you are prepared to be a part of that great celebration day! But even today we can “sing praises” in our anticipation of that awesome day!