Psalm 47 paints a picture for us of Christ our Lord who ascended above the heavens and rules over all the earth. The Psalm says, "God has gone up with a shout, Yahweh with the sound of a trumpet." Here is the ascension of Christ, yet it is portrayed in an odd way. There is a shout, and the sounds of a trumpet. What are those words doing there?
An Israelite singing this Psalm would think of Jericho. That city was conquered by shouts and trumpet blasts. The walls did not fall by any earthly attack, but by the power of God working with and through the voices and trumpets of Israel.
Christ's ascension was a kind of Jericho. He has ascended to His high throne as a great King over all the earth, as the Psalm describes Him. He reigns over the nations, but not by conquering directly by His power. He conquers indirectly, with shouts and singing and trumpet blasts. That is, He conquers the nations through the preaching of the Gospel.
As He was about to ascend, He commissioned His preachers to go out. Now, as He sits enthroned, His messengers go out, defeating enemies by the message of salvation. Many sinners are snatched away from the kingdom of darkness. Those who are not rescued stand under judgment. All are conquered, one way or another.
So the shouting goes out over all the earth. We sing praises to God our King, and the content of our praises destroys the walls and fortifications of the enemy. For our praises are the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation. So the nations are subdued under us. The peoples are under our feet, because the Gospel we proclaim is the conquest. With and through this Gospel, God defeats the nations.
We sing of the Lord who has sat down at the right hand of glory. He sits because His work is done. He accomplished redemption for mankind. A place has been prepared for His elect. We now share in the victory He won over all our enemies.
Now His redemption and victory go forth into the earth through the preaching and singing of His Gospel. It is a strange, bloodless conquest of the nations. Even us gentiles are being conquered, to be the people of the God of Abraham. Even we who were not His people have become the heritage of Jacob.
We pray that the shouting of the Gospel may even go out to the lost of our community. May the Lord conquer them as well, to bring joy to the downtrodden, and to make the news of gladness reach the ears that have despaired of hearing a good word.
Yet in this bloodless conquest, we may have to see our own blood shed. We do not shed the blood of others, but we may be called upon to suffer. The King, the mighty Lord, may require a heavy cross. As we fear and trust Him, we do not refuse the cross He lays on us. Perhaps we may shed literal blood for the Gospel, and even give our lives for Him who gave His for us.
In the midst of such grim prospects, we still sing our psalms. We still raise our voices in joy to Him who is our joy. He sits enthroned in the highest heaven. What shall we fear? Death and satan are under His feet. Who can destroy us, when the King over all the earth has guaranteed our lives to all eternity and sealed that guarantee with His Blood?
So let us raise our voices in jubilant songs, not just mumble in dejected murmurs. Let us join the whole church in heaven and earth by singing as the people of Jacob. We raise to Him the psalms that He has given us to sing. With His own Word, we praise Him best. We describe His mighty acts for our salvation that He has revealed to us. We do not only sing because of His glory and power, but chiefly for His mercy. He, the holy King, has stooped down to save rebellious enemies, even you and me. Of this we sing, and in this way we sing the highest praises possible to the most high King.
In His Name and to His glory and honor, King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen.
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