Friday, October 22, 2010

An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday October 24, 2010

(The Most High GOD reigns over all the nations)
(Psalm 47)

Psalm 47, like psalms 93 & 95-99, is an enthronement psalm that celebrates the universal reign of GOD, WHO is the CREATOR of the heavens and the earth. It depicts GOD’s coming kingdom, and it also calls for all people, believers and unbelievers, to pay special homage to GOD. And just like we give standing ovations to sports figures and entertainers, this psalm says loud and clear that we should give GOD a loud, roaring standing ovation, not just for a moment, but for a lifetime.
Today, many people talk about GOD, but few ever give GOD the credit for their success and accomplishments. Successful people believe in self-effort for the most part, and in fact feel, that the more successful they are, the less they need GOD. That is because, with every measure of success, comes an equal measure of pride.
It is said that, out of a hundred people that can stand adversity, only one of that hundred can stand prosperity. A person is judged by two standards when it comes to prosperity, one is, “how we came about it”, and two, “how we use it”. The question then comes to this, “Will we use it as if we have undisputed possession of it”, or, “Will we remember that we hold it in stewardship to GOD”?
Here in this passage of worship, the psalmist calls on all the nations of the world to not only give homage to GOD, but to do so, joyfully and willingly. GOD is the king over all the earth, not just parts of the earth. He subdued the nations with HIS awesome power, and then HE chose a “promised land” for HIS people to abide in as an inheritance.
The prophetic statements of verses 7-9 are expressions that are not at all uncommon to the Psalms. They speak of an eschatological certainty that every knee will bow, and that every tongue, believer and unbeliever, will eventually confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD over all kings and kingdoms. And it gives a special confidence to current believers, that the truths of this psalm will be fulfilled in the process of time.
Psalm 47, along with 46 & 48 provide us with three consecutive poetic expressions that well emphasize the role that GOD has as our king and protector. For instance, the theme of Psalm 46 is that GOD’s people can have a sense of peace when trouble looms all about, “GOD is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
The focal point here in Psalm 47 is on the importance of celebrating GOD’s benevolence and goodness to those who believe, and are committed to HIM. And finally, in Psalm 48, we see a reminder of how GOD extends HIS protection to the people, and, to the community that HE calls, HIS OWN, “GOD is in her citadels; HE has shown HIMSELF to be her fortress” (Psalm 48:3).
Psalm 47 is one of the scriptures that are included in the Jewish celebrations of “Rosh Hashanah”, the Jewish New Year. It is also known as the “Feast of Trumpets”, which finds its origins in the book of Leviticus chapter 23, verses 23-25. It is observed in our month of September.
The psalmist envisions a time when the LORD will ascend to HIS throne, perhaps on the temple mount in Jerusalem, to begin HIS millennial reign here on earth, following the “Day of the LORD”. Our response, as a believing people, should be one of adoration and praise, accompanied by the blowing of trumpets, as we express our honor and reverence for JESUS, the ONE WHO came and saved us from ourselves, by way of HIS vicarious sacrifice.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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