Seven commands for full worship dominate this Psalm and supply the theme. Although the Psalms are the worship book of the Old Testament, this Psalm excels in instruction and emphasizes the highest form of worship which is the Spirit-filled soul singing the high praises of the LORD.
Immediately we are exhorted: ‘O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.’ Here, two outward demonstrations of joy-filled exuberance are described. Clapping the hands does not indicate applause but, the bringing of the hands together in timed rhythm with the worshipful music of praise-filled understanding (v.7)
It has been the tradition of certain movements within born-again Christianity to shout a hearty amen or praise the Lord during the preaching time, and when the Spirit of the LORD is in charge of these utterances the saints are encouraged in the faith and the preacher is exhorted to preach on!
However, in this Psalm the shouts are given in direct response to the LORD’s awe-inspiring character and His powerful rule over the ‘all the earth’. We would say today ‘Jesus is Lord’ for ‘He is a great King over all the earth and one day ‘He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet’ (v.3)
‘He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellence of Jacob whom He loved. Selah’ (v.4) This declaration looks forward to the day when the Lord Jesus Christ will indeed be the physical King of kings and Lord of lords when he returns riding a white horse in victory culminating with the battle of Armageddon.
The next section of this brief but powerful Psalm starts in (v.5) ‘God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.’ His ascension is accompanied by ‘a shout’ indicating the triumph or victory accomplished by His presence. The trumpet also joins in marking the LORD’s exit into the heavenlies.
Then the great emphasis on singing praises to God as we are commanded to sing praises to Him an unprecedented five times in (v.6,7) ‘Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.’
The scene here depicts ‘all ye people’ in musical throng clapping their hands and shouting but now singing becomes the major mover of praising God the King, the Omnipotent Ruler of ‘all the earth’ calling all to sing ‘with understanding’ not just an emotional outpouring, but the mind fully engaged in exalting our God as King.
The LORD being the King ‘over the heathen’, the Victorious Ruler, the Enthroned One ‘sitteth upon the throne of His holiness.’ (v.8) Now, his very essence, holiness, enters the Psalm bringing with it a purifying element to the praise and worship which in order to be true worship of the God of heaven, it must be pure, it must be holy, undefiled, totally free from sin.
‘The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: He is greatly exalted.’ (v.9) The leaders and the Hebrew people are assembled along with the rulers of the world recognizing the God of heaven, giving Him the power and the glory, which looks unto a future day when all heaven and earth will bow the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ!
Which reminds me of a sore subject. Recently, after asking a country preacher to describe his service, he told me that his church had a band. I asked him if the band played music with the contemporary rock n’ roll beat and he never really answered the question, but, after all was said and done, he ‘didn’t think I would enjoy the music’.
What he described to me was entertainment, not ministry, no, it was music designed to draw the fly to the ointment and even though he recognized it smacked of the world’s music, even though it was offensive to a brother, it was OK. But, you can not worship the holy God of heaven in the devil’s backyard!
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