340.) Psalms 47 and 48

Psalm 47 (New International Version)

1 Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.

2 How awesome is the LORD Most High,
the great King over all the earth!

3 He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.

4 He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.

Amy Carmichael, 1867-1951.  Born in Ireland, she went to the mission field of India in 1895 and never left.  Much of her work involved rescuing young children from temple prostitution.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

“He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob, whom He loved.”

Have you ever looked longingly at another life and wished that you had as much as it has to offer?  But He shall choose, and He does not call the inheritance of any Jacob “poor.”  He calls it the excellency of Jacob.  The marvel is not that we have so little to offer, but that we have anything at all.  There was no worthiness in Jacob.  Whom He loved is the only explanation.

But—and is not this comforting?—God needs each separate soul, each personality with the inheritance of His choice, for the perfecting of His purpose in the spiritual creation.  And when it is perfected He will be satisfied, and we too shall be satisfied, “lost in wonder, love, and praise” that we ever were allowed the smallest share in it.


5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.

6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.

7 For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.

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

9 The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted.



“Love Divine, All Love Excelling” is one of Charles Wesley’s most sung hymns.  It ends with a glorious vision of heaven, with the redeemed falling before the throne of God, “lost in wonder, love, and praise.”

The Sanctuary Choir, The Cathedral Choir of Young Men and Boys, The Cecilian Carolers, organ and orchestra perform “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” in the 2009 Christmas concert from First Presbyterian Church, Davenport, Iowa. Arrangement by Mack Wilberg, conducted by Steven R. Jobman.

1. Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.

2. Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit;
let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

3. Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

4. Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.


Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. The blue building with the gold dome is the Dome of the Rock, the third most sacred mosque in Islam. The pointed tower at the far left is the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City.  The gray dome about in the middle is Holy Sepulchre, or as the eastern Christians call it, the Church of the Resurrection.  Tall buildings in the background are in the new city of Jerusalem.

Psalm 48 (New International Version)

1 Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain.

2 It is beautiful in its loftiness,
the joy of the whole earth.
Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion,
the city of the Great King.

The Jerusalem Citadel, also known as the Tower of David, is located just south of Jaffa Gate on the western side of the Old City.  Its location is  the highest point of the city, higher even than the Temple Mount.  There have been fortifications here for over twenty centuries, protecting and defending the city.

3 God is in her citadels;
he has shown himself to be her fortress.

4 When the kings joined forces,
when they advanced together,

5 they saw her and were astounded;
they fled in terror.

6 Trembling seized them there,
pain like that of a woman in labor.

7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish
shattered by an east wind.

8 As we have heard,
so have we seen
in the city of the LORD Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure forever.

Mark 5:36 (New International Version)

Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”


9 Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love.

10 Like your name, O God,
your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is filled with righteousness.

11 Mount Zion rejoices,
the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments.

the walls of Jerusalem

12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,

13 consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them to the next generation.

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

“For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.”
–Psalm 48:14

In the Hebrew language, the future is behind a person and not out in front.  Instead of striding confidently into the future, the Hebrews talked about stumbling backward into it.  We can see the past, but we cannot see the future, and we can never tell exactly where our foot will land.  Isn’t this an accurate description of life’s uncertainties?  Christ asks us to put our hand in his because he can see the future as well as the past.  He is the one who transcends time’s boundaries.  He is the Lord of tomorrow as much as he is the Lord of today and yesterday.  He can see exactly where each footstep will go.  It is never irrational for us to put our hand in the hand of God.  In fact, it is the only rational choice for us, considering our vantage point in life.  If we choose to go alone, we will most certainly back into something destructive.

As a Christian you do not know what the future hold, but you do know who holds your hand.  If you get ready to put your foot down in the wrong place, he will stop you and nudge you in another direction.  He will shift your direction often, and as you look back on the way he has led, you will find that he has never guided you into a dead-end street or into a destructive situation.  When your hand is in his and you come to the end of the way, you will be able to say, “I never lost a day.”

The essence of being a Christian is putting your hand in the hand of Christ and turning your back on any rights to the direction of your life.  Your future becomes his, and he leads you.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Psalm 47:2 with river and cliffs.     http://oneyearbibleimages.com/psalm47.jpg
Amy Carmichael.    http://www.myfrienddebbie.com/images/amycarmichael.jpg
Jerusalem overview.    http://www.synergise.com/travel/Homepage/ecards/israel_jerusalem_dome.jpg
Jerusalem Citadel.     http://www.katapi.org.uk/images/Archaeology/JerusalemCitadel.jpg
God is faithful.    http://www.timeoutdevotions.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/god-is-faithful.jpg
walls of Jerusalem.     http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_RRV7ci01pYA/TCyn2f4uUkI/AAAAAAAACMo/dlpZdFxW-M0/s1600/jerusalem+walls.JPG
past-present-future signs.    http://www.cpsla.com/images/past-present-future-smallsign.jpg

One Response to 340.) Psalms 47 and 48

  1. Carole says:

    As I read this I am reminded of something spoken by Oswald Chambers, “Faith is not knowing where one is going, but loving and trusting the One Who leads the way.” He is so trustworthy!

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