Jesus Homecoming Celebration
O clap your hands, all you people;Shout to God with the voice of triumph and songs of joy. For the Lord Most High is to be feared [and worshiped with awe-inspired reverence and obedience];He is a great King over all the earth. He subdues peoples under usAnd nations under our feet. He chooses our inheritance for us,The glory and excellence of Jacob whom He loves. Selah. God has ascended amid shouting,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 in a skillful psalm and with understanding. God reigns over the nations;God sits on His holy throne. The princes of the people have gathered together as the people of the God of Abraham,For the shields of the earth belong to God;He is highly exalted.
Here is a psalm of pure praise to God, with no reference to personal struggle. The Psalmist focuses on the Lord alone, not himself.
Is it ever possible to really do that? We are often so heavily absorbed in self and our own problems or needs.
De we truly realize the awesome nature of God who loves us? Have we let our own issues so dominate that our person of Him is very small and diminished?
Perhaps today you are weighed down with heaviness of heart. Now, this psalm of praise greets you- and at first, it seems so out of place compared to your life situation and the troubles you face.
Worship is what you need. This psalm lifts you out of the passing world into His eternal presence. Your world may be full of sadness, but His is filled with explosive joy.
Psalm 47 opens with a thunderous cheer of praise: “Clap your hands all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” Imagine being in a huge filled arena- the audience applauding is all nations and the roar is thunderous. The ovation to God raises to epic proportions as the audience’s volume and joy surpasses any encore call for an earthly artist or a stadium roar for the home team or a ticker-tape celebration for a victorious army.
This is the picture of the joy of the saints seeing firsthand their much loved God and celebrating with Him His great victory. All the battles are over, the races ran, and the boot of the enemy that sat heavy on the has been lifted. The prisoners have been liberated and the POWs have come home. Good has finally prevailed and though there were times when it seemed that the saints of God lost too much to to the enemy, now at long last, it’s over, it’s ended. The winner is our God and the best side has won.
It’s time for us to celebrate that our God is awesome. The Old Testament inheritance of the land of Israel given to Jacob’s sons is surpassed by the greater inheritance of the kingdom of God to those who are Abraham’s children through faith. He, the Lord Most High is the great King over the earth who has subdued the nations under His feet and ours as well.
This psalm is best read in view of the scene in the moment after the ascension of Jesus when He was received back into heaven. Luke records that the disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy but that joy was not limited to earth. Can you imagine the welcome Jesus received on the other side? Verse 5 of this psalm says, “God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.”
Can you see the parade down the Main Avenue of Salvation, paved with gold. Here comes the Son of God, triumphant in his earthly mission and adorned by success.
The celebration is because of a successful birth to the Virgin Mary in the lowly stable. It is because of a successful childhood, youth, and early manhood, becoming like us, yet without sin.
It celebrates the successful resistance to the temptations of the devil and the mastery over demons, sickness, nature and even death.
It celebrates a successful communication of God’s love, truth, and nature though stories, dialogue, and sermons providing a curriculum that was completed to equip those who will fulfill His mission.
It’s a celebration of the conclusion of His earthly mission of laying down His life on a cross for our sins in complete surrender to the Father’s will and without any bitterness or resentment, even forgiving those who were the instruments of His crucifixion.
In the final act worthy of ovation, we celebrate His triumph over death with His own resurrection.
It is no wonder that the worship leaders in heaven exhort this vast audience to: “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.”(verse 6) The hosts of heaven are overcome with prolonged and sustained praise. They rejoice that God reigns over all the nations and He indeed is King over all the earth and He is seated on His holy throne.
The last scene portrays the scene of world leaders gathered as persons of faith, the people of the God of Abraham. All their authority is gone and their day in the sun is done. To Christ alone belongs exaltation so they say, “All honor, all power, all praise to You alone, O Lord.”
George Wood writes: “I am on earth today. But Jesus reigns- in heaven. He who rules over the nations desires also to rule in me. For a few moments this psalm has come to me like a worship video, transporting me into His world. The psalm ends, and I am still on earth. It’s another day, maybe a difficult one. But anytime I need to, I can replay this video on the screen of my inner heart and draw strength from the scenes and sounds of Christ’s tumultuous welcome. The cheering over His triumph will never fade.
In the midst of the turmoil of this present world, let us pause and focus on the celebration of heaven.
Dr. John Thompson