An older couple was at the fair and a man invited them to ride in his old-fashioned bi-plane. “It’s exciting!” he said. The old man said, “I don’t get excited over much these days.” The pilot said, “If you two ride in my plane and you don’t get excited and yell, I’ll give you your money back.” The pilot took them high in the air and went up and down and even upside down and the old man didn’t say a word. After they landed, the pilot gave him his money back. “I was sure you were going to say something.” The old man replied, “I almost did when you flew upside down and my wife fell out. But like I told you, I don’t get excited much.”
What makes you excited? Is it saving 10cents a gallon on gasoline, or your favorite sports team wins against your rival, or the next sequel of your favorite movie series or technology? What about getting excited about God?
Psalm 47 is a celebration psalm. If you prefer quiet meditative worship, this psalm will challenge you. It describes a praise celebration that involves hand-clapping, shouting, trumpets and loud singing. Tradition tells us this psalm was written to celebrate the defeat of Sennacherib against Judah. If so, these words were written to proclaim to the surrounding nations the glorious victory of God – a victory won without having to fight a battle. This psalm describes an excitement about the greatness of Christ our King. That is something we should be excited about.
But this psalm is more than a celebration of a past victory. It is a prophetic psalm that looks forward to the ascension of Jesus. At the conclusion of Jesus’s work on earth, He bodily ascended up into Heaven in victory.
The Jews were excited about their victory over the Assyrians. The disciples were excited about Jesus’ victory over death and sin. We can be excited in the same way. What can we be excited about?
O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the Lord most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah. (Psalm 47:1-4
Let me explain a little detail about the victory against Sennacherib and the Assyrians. IN 710 BC Sennacherib began his campaign against Judah and others who rebelled in that area. He laid siege to and conquered 46 of King Hezekiah’s fortified cities, in addition to Phoenicia and Phlistia. He terrorized each city so that the next city would surrender quickly. But Hezekiah trusted God and refused to surrender Jerusalem. God sent an angel to kill 185,000 of his troops, and Sennacherib had no other choice but to return to Nineveh. God gained a great victory. God gained an even greater victory over His enemy, Satan, at the cross.
When I first came to Faith Baptist I tried to visit everyone. But I was told not to visit Chuck Yielding. His wife, Mary, was a member, but Chuck doesn’t want a preacher to visit him. He threatened to shoot the next preacher to visit. But Chuck had some health issues and I took that opportunity to simply go to the hospital and say hi. He couldn’t shoot me there. He was about to have his leg amputated. So I asked him if I could pray for his surgery. He said ‘yes.’ He then told me I could visit him at home. I went several times and talked about his family, Detroit Tigers, and politics. Never religion. Finally, Chuck got the news that his death was near. I went to his hospital room and straight out told him, “Chuck, you need to trust Christ as your Savior before it’s too late. Are you ready today?” He said, yes and trusted Christ as Savior. Jesus got the victory in Chuck’s life.
Like the Jews, Jesus has gained a victory over sin, Satan, death, and Hell. All who trust Jesus enjoy that victory. That is something to shout about.
God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. 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. (Psalm 47:5-7)
This is prophetic of the ascension of Jesus, returning to heaven and sitting at the right hand of God. Satan may be the god of this age, but Jesus is the King of Kings. That is something to shout about.
The Bible sometimes describes God as “coming down” to visit the tower of Babel and judged the people building it. He “came down” to investigate the wickedness in Sodom and destroyed it. When 185,000 soldiers camped around Jerusalem, God came down and brought judgment. This psalm tells us He “went up” in great glory to His holy temple.
When applied to Jesus, He “came down” as a babe in a manger and lived among people. From our viewpoint, the crucifixion of Jesus was a great defeat and tragedy, but not from God’s viewpoint. In His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus won the victory over the world and the devil. Today He sits at the right hand of God on High (Hebrews 1:3).
Jesus is in Heaven on His throne praying for us. He has already won the victory and is praying for our victory. Spend time talking with Jesus. That is something to shout about.
God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. 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. (Psalm 47:8-9)
The victory over the Assyrians represents that God is the God above all gods and is the King of all the earth. He is not simply God and King of Israel, but for everyone. King of kings and Lord of lords. One day Jesus will actually rule on earth and we will reign with Him (Rev. 1:5-6; 5:9-10; 11:15-18). But today, His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom and we should submit to His rule in our life.
I remember the story told of how a man gained victory in his teenage years. He knew his body belonged to God. So he surrendered his hands, his feet, his eyes, his mouth to God. They no longer belonged to him. They belonged to God. When asked to participate in something he knew he shouldn’t, his response was, “These aren’t my hands. They belong to someone else. I can’t do that. These aren’t my feet, They belong to someone else. I can’t go there.”
Surrender your life to Jesus. Give him your body and your mind and let Him rule in your life.
As we celebrate 47 years of ministry for Faith Baptist, we can get excited about what God has done. But we can be even more excited about what God will do through us. As we yield to His lordship and pray for His guidance I hope we will see more people come Jesus.
What can you do?
- Pray that God will give us victories for Jesus.
- Tell others. Share the Gospel and invite others to church.
- Get excited. If we can get excited about saving 10cents a gallon on gasoline, or a win for our favorite team against our rival, we can get excited about God.
Tony Campolo was sitting at a table with a group of very sophisticated intellectuals. As the conversation progressed, they began to really rag on evangelical Christianity. At one particular point, Tony spoke out and said, “You guys have got the wrong idea! You judge evangelicals on the basis of some stupid displays of zeal. For instance, at every Super Bowl game there’s some crazy guy in the stands who holds up a big sign citing some Bible verse. He expects that somebody will look up that verse, fall under conviction, & be saved. You think that’s what we’re all like, & you judge us by that kind of stupidity.” When he finished, one of the men at the table said, “Interesting you should mention that. Three years ago I was watching the Super Bowl. It was just before halftime when the Cowboys kicked an extra point. Behind the goal post was that man that you were talking about. He held up a sign that read, ‘Jn.1:12.’ I didn’t have anything else to do during halftime, so I reached up on the bookshelf of the den, pulled off my old Bible, & opened it to Jn.1:12, just out of curiosity. When I opened it, there were some old notes from a Bible talk I had heard at summer camp many, many years ago when I was a teenager. I read over those notes & remembered what I had forgotten & forsaken. I got down on my knees, there & then, & gave my life back to Jesus.”
A little boy came home from church & told his family that the Sunday school teacher must be Jesus’ grandmother. He explained that she spent a whole hour just talking about how wonderful He was & showing them a lot of pictures of Him.