This is my journal entry from my quiet time with God today. I read Psalm 47.
“God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne...the kings of the earth belong to God…” (Psalm 47:8, 9b)
I love this psalm! It calls for the unrestrained, selfless worship of God. Believers are called to clap, shout with joy, sing praises, sound trumpets, and exalt in God’s greatness and goodness as they worship God.
Of course, God cares more that we worship Him “in the Spirit and truth” (John 4:24) than He does about the ways we worship Him.
Our worship, however we worship, should call attention to God and not to us. That’s true of worship in liturgical settings as well as of modern “praise and worship” services.
But the psalm makes clear that our worship should be entirely free in giving God glory, praise, and honor. We should be free of self-consciousness when we worship God. That’s the how of worship, according to the psalmist.
In the verses cited above, the psalmist also tells us why we are to worship God. The God Who has definitively revealed Himself in Christ, Who first revealed to the people of Israel, isn’t some humanly-created deity worshiped by Jews and Christians. This is the “God [Who] reigns over the nations...the kings of the earth belong to [this] God.”
The God of Israel revealed to the world in Jesus isn’t some small, two-bit idol: He is the living, infinitely creative, passionately loving Maker and King of everything!
This one true God, available and accessible to all through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15; John 3:16-18; Acts 2:38; Acts 4:12), is the God of all people, whether they know it or recognize it or not.
When I was a Sunday Schooler coloring in the lines of Joseph’s coat of many colors, He was God of everything.
When, for a decade-plus, I turned away from God and called myself an atheist, He was still of God everything.
When, in response to His grace in Christ and the claim the Holy Spirit made on me as an infant in my Baptism, I turned back to Him to live, He was still of God everything.
When the world is going crazy, steeped in evil, sin, and fear, God is still the God of everything and everyone.
He will have the last word over this universe. His words of grace will save those who trust in Him from sin and death, futility and darkness, injustice and wrath.
It is this God Who sets us free from self-consciousness, freed knowing that whatever judgments the world may make about us as we surrender our lives and wills to God, we always belong to God. So, we can praise and honor Him with our whole beings!
It’s this same God Who then calls us to join His mission of reaching out with His good news, the gospel that all who repent and believe, have life with God. The Lord of all nations has given His baptized, believing people a great commission. We are to let the people of all nations, including the people in our own families and our circles of acquaintance and friends, that the God of all nations sent His Son to die and to rise for the people of all nations, so that people from every nation who trust in Him will live.
My prayer: You are the big God of all creation, Lord. Forgive me for treating You like an afterthought, an also-ran, a secret I keep to myself lest people think that I’m weird. I AM weird: holy, set apart. Holy and set apart not because I’m “all that,” but because You’re “all that.” You set me and all baptized believers apart to lift You up for all the world to see, know, and worship.
You’re the omnipotent, omniscient Creator and King of the universe; yet You care enough about all You have created to have taken on human flesh (John 1:14), suffered and died for our sins (Romans 5:8), and now offer new and everlasting life, a life that starts right now, to all who trust in Christ.
You’re big, God. But You’re not so big as to ever leave or forsake Your people. You are with us always, even to the close of this old universe’s age. Because of that, set me free of my inhibitions. Today, help me to be unable to restrain myself from praising You or from commending the hope that I have in Christ to others (1 Peter 3:15).
Lord, I praise You, glorify You, honor You, love You because You loved me and the rest of the human race first!
Make my life today a living offering of praise to You!
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!
[I'm the pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]