SING PRAISE TO THE KING!
SING WITH UNDERSTANDING!
The book of Psalms is concerned with the primary activity of God's blood-bought saints: singing! Psalm 47 is particularly powerful as it is a psalm concerned with singing praise to the King of Kings!
For the psalmist, this royal psalm sings of triumph, adoration and honor. Today, such a psalm would gush with adolescent awe and pseudo praise. (Like, wow...this is awesome!) But this psalm is weighty, ponderous, filled with profound admiration and awe. For the Mighty One, God, is on His throne.
Verse 7 states the obvious: God is King of all the earth! Therefore, praise to the King reflects His honor and might. Every particle of this earth belongs to Him--and all of music as well. Hence, songs of praise sung cannot be careless or flippant: He IS the King of all the earth! His subjects (His blood-bought ones) fall down before Him in worship and wonder. (See Psalm 24:1)
Verse 2 sings that, not only is He the King, "the Lord most high is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth." None can resist His power or stand before His anger. He is not an effeminate deity! He is Almighty! Those who oppose Him have great reason to fear; yet those who love Him, adore and worship Him for the very same reason: the battle is not theirs, but God's.
Verses 6 and 7 contain a great "Call to Worship". When the King, our King!, issues a command to his subjects, He need only speak once, perhaps twice. But in these verses, our Lord repeats the call to praise five times! Can such a call for action be taken lightly? May it never be so. Holy song IS important; this five-fold repetition rebukes the slackness of our song.
For, HE IS WORTHY...He is our Creator, our Savior! The music must never stop. He must have all of our praise all the time. We must not praise Him with complaining, but enthusiasm. His majesty compels His children to powerful praise.
But, notice that verse 7 contains God's fifth command to praise: Sing praises with understanding. In our culture today, this is one of the Lord's most ignored demands. (See 1 Corinthians 14:14,15 for further interpretation.)
Christians like to sing with enthusiasm, but not with understanding. Excitement is pleasurable; singing with intelligent and thoughtful understanding (of both the text and music) takes way too much effort. (In 1 Corinthians 14, the King James word "understanding" is usually translated as "mind".)
But, the psalmist thunders: we are singing to the King and He is no ordinary King. He is King of all the earth! Therefore, our song must be worthy of its subject. We are in a battle. Our Lord will be victorious, but we cannot play at sacred song. We must sing with understanding: intelligent, informed and insightful song.
Is it possible? Can today's church sing with understanding? The Psalmist closes with these words: He is greatly exalted. Sound doctrine and transcendent music is the only song that is truly worthy of our exalted King. May we this day:
Sing praises to our King
Sing praises with understanding.