Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
I’m sure that many of us are getting used to Thursday nights at 8 p.m. We join our neighbours across the country in clapping for NHS staff, care workers and all others servicing and supplying us during these days. By clapping we are showing our gratitude and appreciation for the way we and our loved ones are being looked after for by caring, sacrificial workers and volunteers too. We usually clap too at concerts, sporting occasions and other times of happy gratitude. We show appreciation and recognition of satisfaction by our clapping.
In Psalm 47 all nations are being encouraged to clap and shout to God. This may sound strange to many of us. Why? What’s the reason for this outburst of clapping and shouting? The psalmist gives the reasons in the rest of the psalm. “For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.”
The reasons all revolve around one great reality – God’s sovereign kingship. His reign and rule is the reason. In a world of constant change, insecurity, instability and uncertainty God is on His throne. He is in control over all things. At the centre of the universe this reality stabilises everything. This is not always easy to believe when we see chaos, difficulties and many suffering even death all around us. But think of the alternative. Chance, fate, accident rules! Or even worse there is no purpose or design to anything or we are in control. We are the masters of our fate. I am the captain of my destiny. This psalm offers the security, satisfaction and stability of God’s kingship.
It also hopes and anticipates the universal, worldwide rule of God. That reign and rule reached its climax when God came as a king in Jesus. Jesus proclaimed “The Kingdom of heaven is near.” He wasn’t the kind of King people were expecting. Born in humble circumstances, Jesus lived a life of humility in relative obscurity. But through his ministry and miracles He established a kingdom of love, peace, justice, forgiveness and grace. His crown was one of thorns. His throne was a cruel cross. His sceptre were nails through flesh and bones of hands. But in that death – the death we deserve – He conquered death itself. He rose victorious from the dead. He is alive. He is declared King of Kings. He reigns now in majesty, glory and honour to care and support us and one day bring us home to heaven to reign with Him!
So there’s a lot in the psalm to clap and shout about. Recognising and accepting his kingship is the joy of a believer. Trusting He reigns and rules for me brings comfort, assurance and even confidence. Confidence not in myself or my circumstances but confidence in Jesus as my King. It also brings hope as we pray “Your kingdom come”. Slowly but surely we are closer to the day the true King returns. Then the enjoyment of the eternal King and His kingdom will continue for ever and ever. So in a time of uncertainty, sadness and confusion lets keep clapping for NHS staff. But will you clap and shout as you recognise, appreciate and be grateful for Jesus our King? Enjoy His royal company today!
Meirion Thomas, Malpas Road