The City of God
This is for the music leader.
It is for the sons of Korah.
It is a psalm.
1 Peoples from every country, clap your hands together.
Shout aloud to God with the sound of happy singing.
2 Because the LORD Most High is wonderful.
He is the Great King of all the earth.
3 He won the fight against peoples that were our enemies.
He put their soldiers under our feet.
47:3verses 1-3. The other two Hebrew words in this translation are ‘shofar’ and ‘maskil.’ A shofar was something that made music. We would call it a ‘musical instrument.’ It made a loud noise that told soldiers that it was time to fight. In verse 5 servants of God, called priests, blew the shofars. It was a way of giving God praises. The Jews called some of the psalms ‘maskils.’ Psalms 42 and 44 are examples. We are not sure what the word means. We think that it means that it teaches us something important.
4 He chose for us the place where we live.
Jacob, that he loved, is very happy with it.
5 God has gone up with a great noise.
The LORD has gone up with the sound of a shofar.
47:5The important verse in this psalm is verse 5. It says, ‘God has gone up.’ Where has he gone to? Where did he go up from? To understand, we must go back to Psalm 46. There, we said that God saved Jerusalem from an enemy, perhaps Assyria. To do this, the Jews believed that God came down from heaven, to Jerusalem. Heaven is where God lives. We do not know where it is. After God had beaten the enemy, he went back up to heaven. So, ‘God has gone up’ means that he has gone up from Jerusalem, back into heaven. It was the people who made the great noise. They were so happy that God had saved them that they shouted and sang. They also made a noise by clapping their hands together. Today we call this ‘applause.’
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our king, sing praises!
7 Because God is the King of the whole earth.
Sing to him a maskil.
8 God is ruling over the nations.
God is sitting on his holy throne.
9 People that want to be his servants
have joined the people that belong to Abraham's God.
The people that rule the earth belong to God.
They lifted God up very high.
47:9Verse 9 is interesting. It tells us that people who are not Jews have joined with the Jews. Together, they praise and worship God. Worship means that they love God, and so they want to obey him. It also means that they are a bit afraid of God. Some people show this by getting down on their knees in front of God. We call this ‘kneeling.’ It does not matter who we are, we can all worship God. We only have to ‘want to be his servants.’
For centuries, Christians have sung this psalm on Ascension Day. That is the day when Christians remember Jesus going up to heaven. Jesus did what God did in the psalm. He came down to the earth, he saved us from our enemy, and he went back up after he had finished his work. Our enemy is not Assyria, but death. If we believe in Jesus, we will live with Jesus for ever when we leave this earth. That is why Christians love Psalm 47:6.