“THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.


The concept of a Sovereign King today has little meaning or impact mainly because the rule of Kings and Queens is primarily a thing of the past. In Australia today we speak of our Sovereign Queen Elizabeth but she and her representative have little power over the people of Australia on a day-to-day basis and are just ceremony figureheads. I lived through the turbulent days of 1975 when the Whitlam Government was sacked by the Governor General and like most Australians of that time I could not understand how a non elected office barrier, The Governor General could dismiss a elected prime minister.

In ancient times and indeed right up to the First World War Kings and Queens wielded great power and demanded great respect. An ancient King had the power of life and death in his hands and if he said, “off with his head” then there was little you could do to stop that happening.

I believe Psalm 47 deals with the powerful message of The Sovereign rule of God over everything. Author Pink in his famous book “The Sovereignty of God” explains what that means in the following quote;

“To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleases Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible”.

In this study we will look at what God’s Sovereignty is and how it impacts on our lives and this world. We will see that through Jesus Christ God has come down to this world to save us and once he died for our sins on the cross he rose from the dead and then ascended back in heaven where sits at the right hand of the Father to rule the universe forever (Psalm 47: 5).

I believe this Psalm was written, like Psalm 24 at the time of the ascension of the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem recorded in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 15 and 16. I believe this because of three reasons,

  1. The reference to God Ascending in verse 5 is spoken about with very similar wording as the Ascension of the ark into Jerusalem is in 1Chronicles 15: 28. Let me set down the two verses to make my point,

Psalm 47: 5,

“God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.”

 1 Chronicles 15: 28,

“So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams horns and trumpets and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps”.

  1. The Jewish heading of the Psalm attributes the Psalm to The Sons of Korah who played a major role in the ascension of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem.

1 Chronicles 15: 16 says,

“David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals”.

The next verse tells us the names of three prominent Sons of Korah, who all have Psalms attributed to them, 1 Chronicles 15: 17,

 “So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; from his relatives, Asaph son of Berekiah; and from their relatives the Merarites, Ethan son of Kushaia”. 

  1. The words of David’s Psalm or song for this occasion recorded in 1 Chronicles 16: 7 – 36 have very similar words and concepts found in this Psalm.

I think that Psalm 47 is a shorter abbreviated version of the song of David in 1 Chronicles 16 and I came across seven similar words or concepts in both Psalm 47 and the song of David in 1 Chronicles 16: 8 – 36,

  1. “Clap your hands all you nations, shout to God with cries of joy” (verse1), similar words or concepts found in 1 Chronicles 16: 8, 10, 23, 31, 33.
  2. “Great king over all the earth” (verse 2), similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 14, 21, 26 and 36.
  3. “He subdued Nations under us” (verse 3), similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 26, 35,
  4. “Inheritance” (The promised land) “pride of Jacob” (verse 4) similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 13, 17, 18.
  5. “Sing praises” (verse 6) similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 9, 23, 33, 36.
  6. “God reigns over the nations” (verse 8) similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 24, 25, 30, 31.
  7. “The people of the God of Abraham” (verse 9) similar words or concepts as 1 Chronicles 16: 15 to 18.

Whether the Son’s of Korah were inspired to write there Psalm after hearing David’s Psalm or David hear what the Son’s of Korah wrote at that inspired him to write his Psalm we will never know but the similarities between the two is uncanny. Only the concept of the Lord ascending is not mentioned in David’s song in 1 Chronicles but maybe that is assumed from the fact he wrote his Psalm after the ascension of the ark into Jerusalem.

It is interesting to note that from early times the Christian church has used this Psalm in celebrations of the ascension of Christ which is the New Testament ascension event looking forward to our ascension into heaven when Jesus returns in all his glory.

The relevance of the context is something I will comment on in the following study of Psalm 47.

I have broken this Psalm into three sections:


We must always remember that when we are reading the Psalms we are reading poetry and to understand it we must unpack the poetic images we are often coming across. Verse 1 is a classical illustration of poetic imagery because it speaks of Nations clapping hands.

“Clap your hands all you nations;

 This is the start of a section devoted to a call to praise the Sovereign God of heaven who reigns. So what does it mean when it says,

“Clap your hands all you nations”?

Even in the bible when a person clapped their hands they are usually giving some outward expression of an inward joy. They are saying by their actions either I agree with that or I like that. In my church recently a member of our congregation stood up at the end of a Sunday service to thank us for our prayers for his ongoing battle with cancer he testified to how God was answering our prayers in his treatment so far and when he finished the spontaneous response of the whole congregation was to clap our hands. We wanted to say to our friend we heard you, we are with you and we liked what you said about our loving God in heaven.

Spurgeon says that this is a word to all people belonging to all nations on earth.

“If they cannot all speak the same tongue, the symbolic language of the hands they can all use”.

 However this poetic image has even more to say in an Old Testament context Brent Kercheville points out that,

“The Hebrew idiom ‘to clap the hands’ normally means to strike hands with another individual confirming an agreement between parties”.

This would mean that God wants the Nations to clap their hands by entering into a contractual agreement with him because of who he is and what he has done for us, which we will see in the next three verses and the rest of the Psalm. The clapping of hands is like a high five handclap with God. American sports stars developed the hands up in the air clap with a fellow sportsman to signify a victory of some kind or another and their commitment to one another as part of the same team.

The other fact to keep in mind in interpreting the Psalms is the poetic structure of all Psalms namely the rhyming of thought not sounds called parallelism and here the rhyming thought is,

“Shout to God with cries of joy”

 Now the thought is to actually suggesting we use words to identify with God with praise and joy. The more I read about Old Testament worship the more I discover how noisy it often was. This Phrase does not talk about whispering praises to God but shouting. I can remember being told off by older members of the church I attended as a young person to stop talking and be quiet because I was entering the house of God. Often churches are like libraries where quietness for prayer is enforced. I wonder what those older members of my church would have thought if they wondered into the Temple area of Old Testament times and people were shouting praises to God.

Michael Houdmann makes this insightful comment about the importance of praising God,

“Praise is a vital part of a life surrendered to God, and it gives credit where credit is due. “O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8 KJV)”

 In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul says,

 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

So putting all this together, the Nations, all people should come to the one true God of Heaven and earth and joyfully praise him for who he really is and what he has done for us and this should be done in a genuine and enthusiastic way.

David has the last word on this with one verse from his song probably composed around the same time and recorded in 1 Chronicles 16.

1 Chronicles 16: 8,

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done”.

But who is this God we should praise and worship and what has he done?

The next 3 verses tell us four things about God to answer the question who he really is and what he has done.

These four things about God are:

  1. An awesome most high God (vs. 2)
  2. A great king over all the earth (vs. 2)
  3. He subdued the nations under his chosen people’s feet (vs. 3)
  4. He gave his chosen people an inheritance (vs. 4) 
  1. An awesome most high God (vs. 2)

 The start of verse 2 says,

“For the Lord Most High is awesome”

Some older translations use the word terrible instead of awesome and Coffman comments on this with these words,

“This word (terrible) has misleading connotations in our day. It does not mean anything repulsive, but something most marvelous and attractive, calling forth our richest praises. Awe- inspiring is what is meant”.

 Many young people over use this word “awesome” and they apply it to anything they find interesting or good and it too is loosing some of it’s meaning today. Paul gives us a clear picture of the awesomeness of the Lord Jesus Christ in Colossians 1: 15 – 20,

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

 David has the last word on the awesomeness of God in his song probably written around the same time as this Psalm and recorded in 1 Chronicles 16,

1 Chronicles 16: 27,

“Spender and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place” 

  1. A great king over all the earth (vs. 2)

 The words,

“The great King over all the earth”

 Is the rhyming thought of the idea of God being totally awesome or Awe- inspiring and fleshes out why our God is like this. He is the great and powerful the King of Kings or Lord of Lords. He is not over all the earth but the entire universe.

Paul puts it this way in 1 Timothy 6: 15 – 17,

“God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

David’s way of speaking of God as the great king over everything in his song for the ascension of the Ark is found in 1 Chronicles 16: 26,

“For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens”.

  1. He subdued the nations under his chosen people’s feet (vs. 3)

God’s awesomeness and authority and power should lead to all people joining together and shouting praises with great joy to his name.

However most of the people of every nation in the world reject the rule of God in their lives and this is why we read the words of verse 3,

“He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet”

We realize, when we read verse 4 that the “us” is God’s chosen people, Israel. We also realize that he chose them not because they were sinless or not in rebellion to the rule of God but because of his love or grace.

God made a nation who started with the man of faith, Abraham and from this one man came the small but blessed nation of Israel. Through this little nation God subdued Egyptians, Canaanites, Amalekites, Philistines, Moabites, Edomites just to name a few nations who God gave Israel victory over.

All who have faith in God through the Lord Jesus Christ are made up of people from every nation and races of people are called The New Israel of God, which Paul speaks of in Galatians 6: 16,

“Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—tothe Israel of God”.

The church which is this new Israel of God is pictured in the New Testament as one day ruling with Christ as Paul states in 2 Timothy 2: 11 – 12,

“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, wewill also reign with him. If we disown him, hewill also disown us;”

And Revelation 20: 6,

“Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years”.

David speaks of how God worked through the small nation of Israel to subdue other nation and bless Israel in 1 Chronicles 16: 19 – 21,

“When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, Theywandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings”. 

  1. He gave his chosen people an inheritance (vs. 4)

This verse follows on from the previous verse where we saw God subduing many Nations that made it possible for Israel to have a land. This land previously belonged to Canaanites and other people and was promised to the father of the people of Israel, Abraham. We read of this in Genesis 15: 18 – 21,

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadiof Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

However it was the descendants of Abraham who would actually possess this great inheritance as Genesis 15: 15 – 16,

“You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

Note how God’s judgment and grace are working there way out at the same time here. The original owners of the Promised Land were judged for their wickedness and sin while the people of Israel, undeserving as they were are given freely the gift of the land because God loved them.

We pick up something of the grace of God and the unworthiness of this chosen nation Israel in the second half of the verse that reads,

“The pride of Jacob whom he loved”

Jacob became Israel but as Jacob he was no more than a scheming sinful man who after wrestling with God is humbled and changes to become Israel the name God would give to his chosen people. Derek Kidner says this about the expression, “Pride of Jacob”,

“The pride of Jacob is a brief way of saying, Jacobs glorious land”

If this were a song composed and sung by the Son’s of Korah for the ascension of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem then the idea of the possession of the land of Israel would be very fitting.

The carrying of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem is a climax to the Old Testament story of how God chose a nation and promised them a land. After escape from slavery in Egypt, forty years wondering in the desert and years of ongoing battles to possess this land comes the act of the Ark of the Covenant being carried into God’s chosen city where the ark will rest with his people Israel.

This concept of the significance of the Ark ascending into Jerusalem is not lost in one of David’s songs for the occasion recorded in 1 Chronicles 16 and particularly verses 17 – 18,

“He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant:

“To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit”.

Christians have used this Psalm to celebrate and remember the ascension of Christ which is the climax to the New Testament message which speaks of the coming of Christ from heaven to become a man, live a perfect life, die for our sins on the cross and then once risen ascend into heaven to be seated at the right hound of God. Christ did all this so we might be able to share in God’s eternal inheritance for us as Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1: 3 – 5,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time”.

Peter alludes to one more great ascension event to come when he speaks of,

“The coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time”.

 This is our ascension into heaven the climax of all history. Paul describes this final great ascension this way in 1 Thessalonians 4: 16 – 17,

 “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever”.

 Conclusion to section 1

So we have seen four reasons why we should join with people from every nation in praise with great joy to our God in heaven.

Two reasons relate to who he is:

  1. Awe inspiring
  2. The great King of everything

And two reasons relate to what he has given to us:

  1. Subdued all our enemies under us
  2. Given us an eternal inheritance in heaven



 We now come to the central verse of this Psalm, verse 5 that relates directly to the ascension of the Ark the Covenant.

“God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets”.

The Ark of the Covenant held enormous significance to the people of the Old Testament it represented God being with his people. It contained the principle elements of the Old Testament faith namely the two tablets of stone, which God wrote the Ten Commandments on, first given to Moses on Mount Sinai. This was carried on the shoulders of Levites who the Sons of Korah were members of.

When this was carried into Jerusalem the journey of the people of God from slavery to the promised land of Israel was completed and the Ark of the Covenant could now sit in the city of God, Jerusalem on the mount of God, Mount Zion and in the Temple of God which was telling Israel that God was dwelling with his people on earth.

So on that day as the Ark moved up the hill into the city of Jerusalem the people of Israel led by King David and the Sons of Korah shouted and sang with great joy praises to their God who had done so much for them.

As I said in the introduction to this Psalm the words of verse five mirror the description of the ascension of the Ark of the Covenant in 1 Chronicles 15: 28,

“So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams horns and trumpets and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps”.

This description of this ascension also mirrors the great ascension to come described in Revelation 11: 15 – 19,

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:” The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”

And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power
 andhave begun to reign. The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm”.

 This second section tells us how we should respond to the ascension.

  1. Sing praises

 And what the content of those praise should be:

  1. The rule and reign of the God of heaven and earth
  2. The inspired word of God
  1. Sing praises

 Verse 6 contains a fourfold expression of “Sing Praises”,

“Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our God, sing praises”

 Kidner explains maybe why these words are a fourfold expression,

“The insistent repetition, sing praises suggests something of the sound of a crowd shouting their acclamation”.

On the day the Ark of the Covenant ascended up into Jerusalem many people sang praises to their God. Interestingly references to the return of Christ speak of the singing of praises of a great multitude as we see in Revelation 15: 2 – 4,

“And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:

“Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come andworship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Some Christians devalue the role of singing and music in Christian worship. Some extreme churches even ban any kind of music in their churches saying that music is from the devil. However all through the Psalms, much of the Old Testament and the New Testament music play’s an important role in worship and fellowship. Paul was very keen on Christians to engage in music and we can see this in Ephesians 5: 19 – 20,

“Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.

However music can also get out of balance and take over a church and it will not function as well as it should. The fact is the Devil can use many things to seek to bring down the effectiveness of a church. Banning music in church is simply an over kill reaction to music getting out of hand.

One important way of having the right use of music in a church is to realize that the singing of praise’s is not just some king of joyful meaningless noise but has real content. This is what The Sons Korah teaches us in these verses. So lets look at the content of the praises we should sing to God.

  1. The rule and reign of the God of heaven and earth

 Note this type of content mirrors the content of the song of praise sung in heaven when we read words like,

“Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.”. (Revelation 15: 3)

 The Sons of Korah put it this way in verse 7,

“For God is the King of all the earth”

 And in verse 8,

“God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne”.

As I have declared from my title of this Psalm, this Psalm is all about how God is the Sovereign King of everything which we saw in the first section of the Psalm as well.

Coffman makes this telling comment on this important concept when he writes,

“This truth is one that gets overlooked today, but the hand of God continually moves in human history, He rules in the kingdom of men, exalting whom he will”.

The reign of God is supreme and he is seated on the highest throne called “his holy throne”. I love the modern hymn written by Leonard E. Smith,

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him
Who brings good news, good news;
Announcing peace, proclaiming news of happiness:
Our God reigns, our God reigns!


Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!

 He had no stately form, He had no majesty
That we should be drawn to Him.
He was despised and we took no account of Him.
Our God reigns, our God reigns!


It was our sin and guilt that bruised and wounded Him.
It was our sin that brought Him down.
When we like sheep had gone astray our Shepherd came
And on His shoulders bore our shame.


Meek as a lamb that’s led out to the slaughterhouse,
Dumb as a sheep before its shearer,
His life ran down upon the ground like pouring rain
That we might be born again.


Out from the tomb He came with grace and majesty;
He is alive, He is alive.
God loves us so, see here His hands, His feet, His side
Yes we know, He is alive.


Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!
Our God reigns!

Note how Smith’s hymn goes straight to the life and ministry of Christ which demonstrates what real love and majesty is.

Jesus reigned with God in heaven seated at the right hand of his father but he gave that all up to come to earth to walk the humble path of a servant. We also sing in our church the hymn, “The Servant King”. This servant king went all the way to the cross for us so that we might be forgiven by God of all our sins. I let Paul, quoting, we believe from a early Christian hymn in Philippians 2 tell you the rest of the story in verses 9 – 11,

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

 You see Jesus is the true King of heaven and earth and now sits again at the right hand of the holy throne of God but now he has the power and ability to save us and one day bring us to be with him forever.

  1. The inspired word of God

The last bit of content of our songs of praise the Sons of Korah teach us could have been easily missed except for my study of the words of the second half of verse 7,

“Sing to him a psalm of praise”

All the commentators I read pointed out that the word for Psalm here is that Hebrew word, “Maskil” which I commented on in the introduction to Psalm 45 and I quote my definition of what a “Maskil” is from that study,

“A “Maskil” or enlightenment and generally means this Psalm teaches us special things about God and life”.

 This means that this word has something to do with inspiration and enlightenment. David Guzik makes application of this when he comments on verse 7,

“Sing praises with understanding: Praise is appropriately offered with singing and should be also be made with understanding. God wants our worship to be intelligent and not mindless”.

Guzik goes on to quote Paul in 1 Corinthians 14: 15,

“So, what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding”.

Paul definitely did not believe in mindless Christianity but the danger here is to turn what should be spontaneous praise of who God is and what he has done for us into an intellectual exercise. Guzik makes an excellent comment on getting this balance right when he writes,

“God wants our worship to be intelligent and not mindless. It is not necessary to be smart to worship God, but we should worship Him with all our being, including our minds”.

 Paul speaks of the renewing of our minds in Romans 12: 2,

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”.

 How does this process of renewal of our minds take place?

The answer to this important question is found in Pauls stress on “God’s will” and where do we find God’s will but of course through his inspired word of God.

The Sons of Korah wrote in verse 7,

“Sing to him a psalm (or Maskil) of praise”

 Are they not saying that the praises we sing should be shaped by the inspired word of God?

As they carried the Ark of the Covenant up and into Jerusalem and led the people in song they are encouraging their hearers and us to Sing praises to God with our minds and hearts inspired by what God has revealed to us in his word. David puts it this way in his song for that same day in 1 Chronicles 16: 9 – 12,

“Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced”.


The last verse of this Psalm seems hard to understand unto you unlock it with the promise made by God to Abraham who it features,

“The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham”

 The promise made by God to Abraham is found in Genesis 12: 1 – 3,

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

 The best explanation of how this promise was for filled and what it therefore really means is what Paul wrote in Galatians 3: 26 – 29,

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise”.

 So God’s real purpose in creating a great nation through Abraham was not to produce an exclusive race of people but to make a way for people of every race and tongue to come back to him by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

There will be a great final day when noble people and in fact all people will assemble before God and earthly powers and authorities will no longer have there sway because they will all stand under his judgment seat and acknowledge him as the Sovereign King of everything and everyone.

John in the book of Revelation gives us a terrifying vision of this great day of Judgment in Revelation 20: 11 – 15,

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire”.

 How do you get your name in the book of Life?

 Paul makes it clear in a number of places of how we can be saved from the coming Judgment and here are two verses that state that,

Acts 16: 31,

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved”

 Romans 10: 9,

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.

Interestingly Paul uses the expression “the book of Life” in Philippians 4: 3, when he is speaking to two quarrelling women in the church in Philippi and speaks of all the Christians there who are his fellow workers in the Gospel, Philippians 4: 3,

“Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life’.

Finally this last verse makes it clear that God is the Sovereign King of everything by making the bold statement that,

“For the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted”

 Jesus is called twice in the book of Revelation, The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Rev. 17: 14 and 19: 16 and interestingly 17: 14 speaks of his faithful followers being with him,

They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

On the day of Jesus return Paul tells us everyone will acknowledge the Sovereign rule or Lordship of Christ in Philippians 2: 10 – 11,

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

 How does this last verse fit the context of the ascension of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem?

I think this last verse is a looking into the future by the Sons of Korah as they carried the Ark and led the singing on that day. They like all Old Testament writers looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. Coffman actually sites three great prophesies in this last section of the Psalm,

1. The incarnation of Christ, certified by his ascension

  1. The establishment of God’s kingdom on earth
  2. The union of both Gentiles and Jews in the Messianic phase of God’s kingdom”

The Psalm finishes with the words,

“He is greatly exalted”

 This implies that we must all acknowledge the Sovereign rule of God in our lives. This is the message of the whole Psalm, God is the great King of all the earth so bow down and worship him with great joy and let him rule your life.

I conclude with a poem and a prayer,


(Based on Psalm 47)

Clap your hands and praise the King

The Lord of everything.

He is such an awesome God

With praise we should now sing.



Sing praises to our God

Sing praises to the King

Sing praises to our God

The Lord of everything.


Acknowledge God who rules this world

And calls his people out.

He gives them an inheritance

He loves us there is no doubt.




Christ Ascended up on High

After he gave his life.

Sing to him a hymn of praise

For his death freed our strife.




God is King of everything

His sovereign power is great

He reigns upon his heavenly throne

Turn and don’t be late.




There is a day that’s coming

When everyone will kneel

Acknowledging Jesus as the Lord

For his rule is very real.




God will judge this world one day

With justice and with love

Those who turn to Jesus now

Will ascend to God above.




Sing praises to our God

Sing praises to the King

Sing praises to our God

The king of everything.


Jim Wenman



Father God in heaven who rules this world with power and might help us to always acknowledge and praise you as the supreme sovereign King of everything. Thank you again for sending Jesus to this world to die for our sins on the cross so that we can be saved from the coming judgment. Thank you for the great inheritance that awaits all those who trust and believe in your Son Jesus Christ. Help us to live our lives as people who will one day ascend into heaven when your Son returns to judge this world and do away with all opposition to your sovereign rule. In the powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour we pray this. Amen