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November 12, 2021 7:00 am
The God of Israel is ruler over all today on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce were studying Psalm 47 which is a Psalm of praise in a call to worship the one true God who reigns over all. Yes, our God, the God of the universe raises up nations and brings them down again. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. God is God and he is sovereign and in control over all the earth weatherman acknowledges him or not turned to Psalm 47 let's hear more about our sovereign God. I think it would be possible for someone who didn't know the Bible real well and was reading through the Old Testament rather quickly and perhaps superficially got the impression from some passages that the God, the Bible speaks about is the Jewish God almost exclusively that is that today is the God of the Jews as opposed to obeying one of the gods of the other nations you even would get that impression from some of the major portions of the Old Testament from the 10 Commandments for an example of a beginning of the 10 Commandments challenges the people. This alliance is that you shall have no other gods before me. Almost implies that there are other gods, you shall not put any of them in the place that I should occupy. It's almost getting the impression that although there are many gods, the Jewish God is simply the most important of them all, and I would be a great misconception. Of course, that's why I say if you get that impression your reading through the Old Testament superficially and to quickly rock passages in Isaiah. For example, in which Isaiah blocks these other so-called gods. He says here's a man is out in the fields than he cuts down a tree takes a piece of wood home and then he cuts it until it uses half of it to make a fire and cook his meal and with the other half. He carves and idle on the very thing that he burns up to feed his stomach is what he worships is a God and that he quotes God is saying there are no gods, no other gods besides me. That's what the Bible teaches. Now we got a great statement provided in Psalm 47, all of the Psalm speak in this way, but this is a shining example of it than what it is teaching us is that as the Bible teaches. When we understand it well. There is no God but one. All the other so-called gods are only idols. Then this one true God is God of the earth.
He is the Lord of all the nations whether the nations acknowledge it or not and $0.47 that it's a great appeal to people to common worship the God of Israel, who is also at the same time, the true God, that's even more than that, however, speaks in past tense, but as we move on in the song we find it speaking in the future tense when we find it speaking to where the end of the future tense.
What we have is prophecy of that day when all the nations will in fact actually bow down and worship the true God of the words here in the Old Testament in the middle of the center. We have a Psalm that anticipates that climactic scene we find in the book of Revelation where people from all tribes and nations, of all places on the face of the earth bow down before the Lord acknowledging the Lord and of his Christ in the text says the kingdom of this world is now become the kingdom of our God is Christ this long though it's a short one only nine verses actually anticipates all that I want to make a few observations on it and let me just do that as we introduce Psalm.
First of all, there is a connection between us.
Psalm Psalm 47 of the one that's gone before in the Psalm preceding there had been praise to God for some great deliverance on behalf of the people we were studying that I pointed out that it was either presumably from the armies of Ammon, Moab and the mountain of seer deliverance that took place in the days of Jehoshaphat, where it was better known deliverance from the armies of select rib from Syria that took place in the days of Hezekiah. Psalm seems to speak of the act and after it has spoken of the deliverance of famous quotes God is saying.
Be still and know that I am God. He speaking now to those nations. God has demonstrated his power by his victory. He said we still client down, shut up and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth now in the Psalm follows immediately after that when the psalmist picks up on that and begins to encourage the people to do exactly what God is told them to do the Psalm begins by saying clap your hands, all you nations shout to God with cries of joy. How awesome is the Lord most high, the great King over all the earth is a tie between the Psalm and the one before it is put in that order in the Psalter.
Undoubtedly, for that reason. Some scholars think that there's also another connection because in the reference to God ascending amid shouts of joy that you find in verse five. They see a reference back to that same deliverance that you have in the previous Psalms, I think these two were written about the same time I'm not at all sure about that, but it may be the case. Something else needs to be said by way of introduction and observation and that is in these three Psalm Psalm 4647 and 48 we have what are called songs of Zion or other songs of Zion and the book of the Psalms, but these are three of them and they're tied together by the references to the city of Jerusalem, which is what makes them song of Zion is the inverse form of Psalm 46 reference to the city of God is one of Psalm 48 great is the Lord and most worthy of praise in the city of our God first. Two. City of the great King find it again verse eight, the city of our God, the story explicitly Psalms of Zion and all of the Psalm were studying doesn't mention the city of our daughter Jerusalem explicitly assume that that's what's involved when God is described this ascending going up to Jerusalem and sitting upon his throne, which, in a figurative way is understood to be there so those three Psalms are tied together.
Now you say about an outline for the song. It's rather hard to give an outline some people look at that word Selah defined over the right margin after verse four and they say, but that is obviously a break after the first section and so they would say well what we probably have here are two stanzas of equal length verses one through four in verses five through eight, and then there's a final versus the prophetic person stacked onto the end so they outline it that way.
The new international version obviously doesn't differently. I think three stanzas because they divided up verses one through four, five and six together and then inseminated nine at the end thing in this case the specific outline only so far as the verses go isn't all that important because what is important is the flow of the thought and the thought as I understand it is like this psalmist begins by talking about God is King of all the earth, and the nations fall under his rule that does the great given the principle from which he starts.
He wants everyone to recognize that, then as a particular example about he speaks about how God is been the God of Israel, and so the middle portion of the Psalm deals with that. I suppose that would be verses three through six, and perhaps even a little bit later, then having as it were, step down and out in order to talk about the rule of God over Israel and what God is done for the Jewish people. He was back at the end of the high level again and begins to talk about God is the God of all the earth, but not bringing forward the things that he had already said earlier and looking to the future when all of that would be true in a most exalted sense. Almost sort of thing that you would have been musical composition of the first movement, second, and then you would have a final movement ties the theme of the first two together pushes an up note understand how that would operate. I think that's what he does.
So we look at that first portion what he does in verse one's to invite all the nations, all the peoples of the earth, the common acknowledge God as the great God really is. God is the ruler tragedy. Of course, of the nations don't recognize that the nations go their own way they worship their own gods. They do their own thing.
Just as our own nation is doing and yet, though they do that God is the ruler. Nonetheless, that's what the psalmist wants us to see God demonstrates his rule over the nations by raising them up and bringing them down according to his own good pleasure. And no nation is able to stand for long. By itself, which is what history shows Arnold Toynbee has written the most exhaustive treatment of the nations of the world so far as I know in any languages in 12 volumes is called a study of history and in it he tries to write a universal history of all the people so they are so far as we know their existence and in that particular book he talks about 34 distinct civilizations says that 13 of them are independent civilizations 15 or satellite civilization six or board of civilization very exhaustive story of that book is volumes you study them in any care is this been times in history when one people has clinical power and seems to be so powerful that its rule is going to go on forever, and yet when that nation exalts itself and takes pride in itself involves sin and wickedness as nations to God brings the nation down and he exalts another in its place.
Think back in history and you think of Egypt once Egypt was the great dominant power of the world ended exercise that power thousands of years, but eventually Egypt fell in Egypt as a week nation today think of Bible and great capital of the Assyrian Empire in the Babylonian Empire.
And great Babylon has fallen reeling of longer Greece sort any of the nations of the world. This present moment in history, the United States standing at the pinnacle of world power. Soviet union with the trouble is decline seem as if the only power on earth today, sufficient to enable to establish pieces out of the United States and United States is unchallenged at the moment in its power to God to bring the United States down just as he has brought down all the nations, before United States will not acknowledge him which it is not doing Bible says righteousness exalts a nation, the nation won't live in righteousness and acknowledge God will then God will do what he is done all the others. I suppose look in the Bible teaches us more than any other is the book of Daniel and the Old Testament tended to his teaching it because the setting is the setting of Babylon, not Jerusalem.
It's a foreign land.
Jewish people up and transported there and they have to bear witness to the true God in the midst of this godless environment of the story of the book is the struggle of the kings of the earth against God and his anointed verse great stories and story of Nebuchadnezzar takes the glory of God to himself. He looks out over Babylon and he says all look at this great Babylon that I build are going to buy my power for my glory. I've always said that's the best statement in the Bible to what we today call secular humanism, saying, everything revolves around man all has to do with me what I've accomplished God's son, Nebuchadnezzar says now that he takes away insanity and Nebuchadnezzar ends up out of the fields, the animals behaving like an animal because of course that's what happens when you won't have the true God to be haven beastlike matter. Just like people do today. Somebody said the other day when we were talking about some of the problems of the city there just like animals out there used to be that people would steal, but I would be all now they steal the kill you anyway just because I enjoy killing somebody said they behave like animals. Well yes, that's exactly the way we are behaving in America today and the reason is true we will have God we will behave like animals, we won't get our sense of identity and well-being from God whose image we are made we turn our back on God.
The only place we will be able understand what we are is by looking to the animals will act like them and that's what happened. Nebuchadnezzar has or had a son has name was Bill Shatzer and the next major story in the book of Daniel, has to do with Bill Shatzer, Bill Shatzer had a great banquet in which she brought the banquet hall they pull vessels from Jerusalem, which had been captured by his father, Nebuchadnezzar and the conquest of 586 BC filed the temple vessels while they were there in the midst of the banquet hall was seen writing on the wall and everybody was frightened of course. Then words were left-handed written nobody understood what the words meant and so they sent for Daniel was able to interpret such things and Daniel came in. He did interpret the words you know, these may name any day: Farson, those words mean. This may name any means measured measured take all means way and Parson means divided Parsons. We might say when you use a grammatically well what that meant was God had numbered the days of Bill Shatzer's reign, and brought them to an end. Shatzer himself had been weighed in the balances of God's judgment and found wanting. Finally, God divided his kingdom, taking it from him and giving it to the Medes and the Persians. Daniel explained all that and then he explained why the judgment was coming in here are these important words like quote exactly from Daniel five most high God gave your father, Nebuchadnezzar's sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor annual UC was a member of the conquered people, but he was telling this great king. His father, the great Nebuchadnezzar had been given the power he had by Jehovah God of the Jews continued when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal.
He lived with the wild donkeys in the grass like cattle and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until he acknowledged that the most high God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them. Anyone he wishes that you his son. Oh Bill Shatzer have not humbled yourself though you knew all this that might city was overthrown. Walls were breached. Shatzer was killed Darius the Mead sat on his throne instead God is the King of all the earth.
We will not acknowledge him. He will bring down nation stressed is he also sets them up now in the second section of this week, what I said earlier, was in a sense a step further down is almost as if having begun on this client exciting noted no moves into an adagio required movement is talking about the work of God in behalf of the Jewish people and mentioned several things. It's not an exhaustive treatment later on in the Psalms were going to find Psalms and rehearsal hold history of the people in the didactic way almost to say. Remember that were going to sing it now so you won't forget it. That's not done here.
This is done very simply, several things he subdued nations under us people under our feet.
That probably refers to the conquest you have the description of that in the first half of the book of Joshua and secondly he chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob will be love pride of Jacob is the land that's the inheritance.
What that is saying is he gave us the land in which we live.
Now that we might think of it in an inverse relationship. We would say well first of all he gave in the land and then they went in and conquered and that is true, of course, because the division of the land was already described by Moses before the conquest and what is involved here is a reference to Joshua and he's thinking of the sequence of that.
But first, I conquered it and then they divided it up so just like the first half of the book of Joshua deals with the conquest. The second half deals with the division of the land as of the first two things and number three. A more recent deliverance which shows the occasion of the previous Psalm and probably the occasion of this one as well. God has ascended amid shouts of joy. Lord, amid the sounding of the trumpets. Now that's a bit difficult to interpret because it's not explicit, and the reference to God's assembling is been taken in two ways. Some of the scholars. I suppose this is the dominant view today. I think that what this means is the bringing of the ark of the covenant back from battle to the Mount of Jerusalem where it was placed once again within the temple enclosure. I don't know of any example of that actually happening, though, the reference would be to second Samuel the sixth chapter, when the ark was brought into Jerusalem for the first time during the reign of David. Certainly the presence of God was associated with the ark of the covenant, and so you can say that if the ark was carried up in the city you could say, well, God is ascended and taken his place upon his throne in Zion. Scholars think of it that way only, of course, is that that description of the moving of the ark in the six chapter 2nd Samuel does not involve the battle and as far as we know, the ark was not taken in the battle and as a matter fact the only time it was taken in the battle and they went out against the Philistines. God didn't like it, was captured by the Philistines and then of course God humbled them. Eventually they put it on a cart pulled by oxen of the oxen took it back to the Jewish land where it belonged. That's where it remained until David brought it up to Jerusalem, but nevertheless that's one possible interpretation. I think however that something else this idea of God ascending is associated many times in the Old Testament with the rising up of the cloud of glory the Shekinah glory which the Old Testament and many many places talks about is residing over the ark during the years of the people wondering you know they had a big camp and they had the temple enclosure in the middle of the camp and they had the holy place in the holy of holies of the ark was in the holy of holies Shekinah glory.
The cloud of God the glory cloud of God stayed over that place is a symbol of the presence of God among his people and the way he led them was this I would be camped out there sometimes for years at a time. But then, on the occasion. The cloud would be seem to be rising up from the tabernacle and beginning to move off into the distance and when the cloud moved people would understand that as a sign of God's moving and so they would pack up all their belongings and the priest were packed the ark of the temple enclosure was a portable thing off. They would go. They would follow the cloud and they would follow it until the cloud stop when the cloud stopped and they would stop and they would set up camp again.
That sort of thing is not referred to very often today, and yet it is found many many times in the Old Testament. It's at the very end of the book of Exodus. For example, last verses of Exodus. All the tribes of the Israelites whenever the cloud lifted up from above the tabernacle they would set out but if the cloud did not live. They did not set out until the day it lifted the God of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day and the fire was in the cloud by night of the side wall of the house of Israel during all their travels on the 10th chapter of Numbers is a very significant statement concerning what Moses would say when the cloud began to move versus 35 and 36 of that chapter. When MacLeod raced up in the ark set out to follow it.
Moses said, I quote Liza landlord may your enemies be scattered.
May your foes fly before you, and when MacLeod stopped and settled out of the ark again, Moses would say return of the Lord, to the countless thousands of Israel.
I think that's what this is referring to. Acknowledge the course of the Psalm is written later. This is not written during the years of wandering and so it's figurative language, using language that they would associate with what happened during the wilderness and it's using it figuratively for the present reference, but that is exactly what the present reference means God had gone before them in the victory that they're celebrating and with a victory over God in a certain sense to come back into the city and he was thrown upon Zion, which is what the language often says well what he saying here is that this God of all the nations God that he is calling upon all the peoples of the Arctic knowledge of the worship has done a great deliverance and is led them and kept them and blessed them throughout all the days of their life now is it any different with us, you and I worship that same God. We know him in Jesus Christ, we can say God has been with us all our days.
If you've known them for any length of time is never abandon you is ever been unfaithfulness provided for all your needs.
As Paul said he did for his and when he has moved to you without any sensual followed after him. And when you settle down you will settle down you can say just as the Jews did this God is our God, but is the God of the nations to and what we are calling you to do is calm and and worship him come to know him.
Clap your hands shock to God.
How awesome is the Lord's time. Say we have great God, proclaim, and we proclaim a great God joyfully is this psalmist did we come to the end of the Psalm will become to that last phase of the thought which I said goes to an even greater height because it combines the fact that God is the God of all the earth with the truth of God was the God of Israel, that we find here in the last stanza is the peoples of the earth, gathering together as first-line. The people of the God of Abraham have a prophetic picture here of the day when people's from every tongue nation and race bow before God as the people of Abraham that is coming in faith in the steps of father Abraham was a great model of faith in the Old Testament. I have to say and you are well aware, I am sure that this is not happened yet peoples of the nations of not yet, we want to describe what is going on among the nations.
Today we describe it, not by reference to this last verse of this prophetic anticipation of the end they describe it by the sort of thing we have in Psalm two on to the very start of the solar pictures nations of the earth and their leaders setting their face against God and his anointed, saying let's get together because of we get together will be strong enough to get rid of God to do is break his bands in his letters from us because we want above all else, to be free, free of God. So the nations of the world do that and that's what we have today we have everybody.
Everybody apart from those who know Jesus Christ as Savior, doing everything they can to throw all kind of restraints that God would impose upon them. God's law. God's law. We want to betray God's righteousness, and righteousness. We want to do our own gods in Jesus Christ, we will not have this man to rule over us doesn't trouble God bit Psalm two says one sits in the heavens far above it all. One sits in the heavens laughs to himself looks on them with scorn to think Punic men and women have within them the strength to throw off the fetters of Almighty God yet they try. That's what human culture is man and women trying to throw off the fetters of Almighty God.
What the psalmist sees. Here is the day when some at least those who have come to be the people of God. The children of Abraham through faith is Abraham himself exhibited faith when those people, and actually bow before God see in that day and final day God is going to be acknowledged as King of all the earth. Jesus Christ is going to be proclaimed as Lord of lords. Those who stand before ever going to stand one of two ways are going to be people who like those of the Psalm Bobby volume joyfully going to say yes. He's the king, and he has been a wonderful take a wonderful, wonderful Savior.and they're going to sing all these praises are to clap their hands and shout to God and praise him for ever and ever, and they're never going to go tired of praising then there going to be those who have resisted all our lives and who would resist him spell, except now he is all-powerful and he is powerful over them, and they cannot resist them any longer.
They will balling about willingly, but they will be forced to their knees by the Angels to acknowledge that God is the God of all the earth even happens sometimes in this life are people who will fight against God and against God's laws say look, I don't want to be bound by the laws of Almighty God. I want to do my own thing with the laws of God and the laws of God and there there. Acknowledge them or not.
Just as God is there. Whether we acknowledge God or not, God cannot be mocked and the laws will apply. So they break themselves against that movable amble. But even if it doesn't happen here. Sometimes right. You seem to flourish in the wicked seem to flourish right alongside the men of the doesn't happen here. It will happen one day someone once asked me a question and answer period is the kingdom of God, past, present or future.
I think they were thinking of the debate that has gone on in scholarly circles, so long people like Rudolph Bultmann Martin Bailey Associates God and people like that Albert Schweitzer and some others and I had a reply that you can exhaust the kingdom of God even in that way the kingdom of God is a rule of God and therefore it is blasted. It is also present and it is also future but it is not just past, present and future. It is internal as well as external and it involves those who bow willingly as well is those who were forced to bow because of the power of Almighty God kingdom of God is one, since the greatest concept of all the Bible is God. The question the only meaningful question for you and me is whether we are willing part of acting way become part of that kingdom is by bowing before the king and acting as Jesus Christ died for you prove that is a loving king.
By doing that he is also the exalted King of Kings.
The wave you become a part of his kingdom is by saying my Lord and my God you do that one day you may not say my Lord and my God. But you will acknowledge Lord and God is far better to only wise course to bow before him joyfully. Now father thankful again for these verses were thankful for the Psalm for teaching from the prophecy for the theme that causes us to look back and forward and indeed recognize that we can never exhaust we would pray for those who hear these words that they might not somehow fondly cherish in their hearts.
The idea that they can ultimately resist you. Becoming kings and of themselves lords of their own domain. We are not a master of our fate. You are the master. We pray that by your grace, you would use these truths to break through the hardness expresses itself in such stubborn rebellion and so subdue many willingly before the feet of Jesus Christ, that they might find him to be a loving Savior as well as Lord that he truly is. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church. To learn more about the alliance visit alliance net.org and while you're there, visit our online store reformed resources.
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