2010 10 10

A Call To Worship

Reverend Anthony R. Locke

October 10th, 2010  www.FirstPresTucker.org

at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker

Psalm 47:1-9 Worship Matters Series    English Standard Version

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

2 For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.

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

4 He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah

5 God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

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 praises with a psalm!

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

9 The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted![1]

This psalm is called an enthronement Psalm. Psalm 93, 95-99 are also enthronement Psalms.

Why does God need to be enthroned? Did He leave it? Yes. The Second Person of the Godhead, the Son, left the throne to become a man. Hebrews 2:7 says that the Father made Jesus a little while lower than the angels. So that needed to be reversed. In Acts 1 Jesus ascended back to His throne physically in front of the disciples. He was lifted into the clouds and beyond. Hebrews 2:7 also says that Jesus was crowned with glory and honor.

Verse 9 of our Psalm reminds us of Revelation 11:15 which says, The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” That’s what enthronement is all about.

At the Second Coming the reign of Jesus will no longer be a matter of faith. All eyes will see Him and worship Him. This Psalm takes themes from the Ascension and the Second Coming to command us, with an invitation, to fall on our knees before the one living and true God.

I love that this is Psalm is led by the sons of Korah. Korah disobeyed and got himself killed in Numbers 16. Their dad rebelled against Moses and Aaron. God killed Korah. But Korah’s sons are not following in the path of their father. They didn’t stop coming to church because they had a big family embarrassment. The children of a rebel are now the children of prominence as they call us to enter into the holy temple to worship God.

Friends, we are given the words of the sons of Korah that we might do the work of Korah. We are commissioned in the Great Commission to go into the world and herald a Call to Worship. Like the opening sentences of our worship bulletin. We invite men, women and children to come and worship Jesus.

Why do we have a call to worship? Because our God reins. Jesus reigns. Our God reigns over the whole creation. God reigns over those who hate Him and those who praise Him. Second, God has worked an effectual redemption for His people and He reigns over them. Finally, God will reign over all the nations eternally when the meek inherit the earth.

Verse 1, God calls you to clap your hands and shout as you direct your heart and body toward worship. That doesn’t sound very Presbyterian, but it is Biblical. What does God have in mind? Well, being convinced that God is worthy of all blessing and praise, we should be unashamed to let that praise out. If we hold down our Glory to God in the Highest! then the rocks might burst out for us in praise to God.

We know what this is like from common human experience. Certain events required an audible acclamation. When your team is behind and the unlikely winning play happens right before your very eyes, you shout out. Maybe there are people with you that have never heard you yell before. But they have now.

There are certain truths in the gospel message that will move our hearts to want to stand out of our pews and say, “thank you Jesus!” or “praise God!” You are not alone with these desires.

All the creation feels the need to burst forth in praise God. Our out loud public worship is the most natural thing we can do as part of this creation. People who do not feel the need to worship Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords are out of step with the air they breath, the water they drink and the universe in which they live. Public worship is necessary for holistic living.

The call to worship is for Christians, for Muslims, for Pagans, Humanists, Mystics, Jews and Gentiles alike. All peoples are to Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

God hears a prayer no louder than a whisper, so the volume of our voice is not for God. We need to live our faith out loud for others. Our unspeakable joy, having seen the glory of God, should be bursting from our hearts and compelling others to join us in a life of worship.

We should have a great sense of victory in our faith. One of the things about the church that bothers me is that it is too pensive, too apologetic, playing defense when Jesus has already won the battle. This life is a victory lap as we suffer for His name sake.

Friends, Jesus is King. He is Lord. He is enthroned above the heavens. Clap your hands! Shout to the Lord with a voice of victory and a song of joy! He reigns. Jesus reigns.

Revelation 5:12-15Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

What brings you to worship? Is it not the glory of the Son of God? Is it not the beauty of His holiness?

Let the broken and meek sons of Korah remind all of us to answer the call to worship.

For, here are some of the reasons,  For, the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet. He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

First, there is no other God for us. There are idols to be sure. There are other kings over merchandise, or pleasures and lusts of the eye. There are idols of the heart to be sure, but there is only One Living and True God. In repentance get your life rightly oriented to this one truth and you will forever be blessed.

Live your life in awe of God. This is the spirituality the world seeks. Orient your heart to rightly lift Him up. Don’t show disrespect for the Great King Most High. That would be a Great mistake.

Satan tried to disregard the Lord’s glory and elevate himself. He failed. Nebuchadnezzar thought he didn’t need to give honor to God. God humbled him. Herod Agrippa was killed by God in the midst of his self-glory when worms burst out of his belly and he fell dead.

What Christians need today is a healthy dose of the fear of God. Fearful that by ignorance of the scriptures we might break His commandments. Fearful that we might not be ready to give an account of our stewardship. So we keep looking to Jesus. We keep working for the day is short. We hold His word close to our hearts that we might not sin against the Most High God.

Why are we called to clap our hands, shout and make loud noises of joyful praise? Because of who God is for us.

Second, for what He has done for us. Verse 3 and 4, He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet, He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.

We will understand verse 3 best when we see it from the perspective of Israel and then Jesus. As the chosen people they never really possessed the land fully. They were never fully rid of their enemies. The nations of the earth were never fully blessed by Abraham who never saw his descendants as the stars of the heavens or the sands of the sea.

But by the elder brother of God’s family all these promises are fulfilled. Heaven will be filled with more people than you will have the ability to count. Can you get your mind around the number of the sands in the ocean? No. Heavens host will be like that. How? I don’t know but I trust God that we will be blown away.

All nations will be conquered by Jesus in His Second Coming. Revelation 5:9-10 says, And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

Kings use their power to subdue rebellion and to put down insurrection. It is a good prayer to ask the King to subdue the insurrection of your heart. He is a King. He knows how to get control of our unruly nature and rightly orient our life to serve the King. Either we sit with Jesus at the right hand of the Father or we are squashed under His feet – meaning His power to judge.

In verse 4 we must answer the call to worship for Jesus is ruling over our life with love. He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. How could we ever get tired of thanking God for converting us to despise the things in this world and rightly value heavenly things? By the power of His love we are being transformed to love the right things.

What heritage has been chosen for us? The pride of Jacob is our heritage. What Jacob valued above all things is now our priceless heritage. So what is the pride of Jacob?

Jesus is the pride of Jacob. Jacob tried to swindle and steal his way into a blessing. He lied and cheated to get Esau’s birthright. Jacob led his life from one disaster to another trying by his own good works to be blessed.

But Jesus visited Jacob with the ladder to remind him that He didn’t need to climb with his own works into God’s favor.

Jesus visited Jacob again and they wrestled all night. Jacob never got the upper hand but he cried out for God’s blessing. His ordeal was memorialized with a bad hip. The limp never went away but neither did the blessing that equaled that of Abraham and Isaac. God blessed Jacob with Jesus.

This same pride of Jacob is our inheritance.

God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, meaning a Prince with God. Notice verse 9. All of us like princes will gather to the Father for eternal blessings.

Jacob was now a man of influence with God. He was a man God loved. God chooses this for us because He knows we are too foolish to chose it for ourselves. Who among us would chose to be blessed with God’s love over money, family or worldly happiness? Rightly valuing a relationship with Jesus Christ is the only path to glorifying God and enjoy Him forever. May everything else fade into second place.

Also in verse 4 the sons of Korah remind us that there is no greater love than when God picks us up out of the miry clay, sets our feet on the solid rock the Lord Jesus, puts a new song in our heart, even praise unto our God. This is our resurrected life which is lived out loud enough that many people see it, learn to fear God and come to put their saving faith in the Lord Jesus.

God loves you so much that He wants you to take pride in His family inheritance. The pearl of great price. Jesus is the pearl. Jesus is the prize. Jesus is our inheritance. And we are His.

This passage takes a significant turn at verse 5. The focus comes off what God has done for us, and focuses on God alone. Our worship includes praise for what He did for us, but it really isn’t about us. It is all about God.

We must answer the call to worship because the Lord Himself has gone up with a with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. This parallels verse 1.

Trumpets are loud. Shouting tends to get people’s attention. When did any of the three persons of the Trinity enter heaven in this manner? Jesus did in the ascension.

Psalm 98:1 says, Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. We worship God for the Father has worked salvation for the Son. Jesus is resurrected. Jesus is ascended. Jesus is given a name which is above every name. Jesus is coming back to reign. Our shout of victory is mixed with the shout of Jesus’ victory. This is why we clap our hands and make noise like a trumpet. Jesus made lots of noise and led the family of God in celebrations when He ascended from the earth.

I felt jealous when I considered this. I felt like I miss out. I would have loved to see Jesus ascend. But we will be there for the climax of all the celebrations. There is an event in Revelation where the heavens search for someone worthy to take the scroll, and break the seals, and open to read from the book that will usher in eternal glory for God’s people.

And we will be there when Jesus stands forth from the people of God, when as our Elder Brother He walks up to the Father and takes the scroll to break open the seals and bring about the end of the age, the judgment of God’s enemies and the eternal blessing for God’s children. We will all be there to see that happen.

That’s why in verse 6 we sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! Four times in one verse we are commanded to lift our voice in praise to God. When we see Jesus lead His people to possess the inheritance of Jacob we will feel like saying verse 6 again and again and again. We will never grow tired of praising God.

I need another thirty minutes to finish this Psalm. Let me close with verse 9 The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham.

If Jacob, a lying swindling cheat, can be redeemed to become a Prince with God, then we also by faith will be gathered as the people of the God of Abraham.                                                              May we always be ready to answer this call to worship.                                                              Amen

[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.