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Worship Series: Psalms - For the Season of End Times
Worship Theme: Psalm 47 - Coronation Song
Lesson & Sermon Text: Psalm 47 (EHV)
Gospel: Matthew 27:27-31 (NIV)
Music: I Was Glad, CW 341 Crown Him with Many Crowns, CWS 752 In Christ Alone (in worship folder)
Song by Kindergarten: It’s Good to Give Thanks
Message Notes & Growth Group Questions
Watch the livestream beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday. After the livestream is finished, the video will be available to watch at any time.
Message: Psalm 47 - Coronation Song
Would you believe me if I told you that Psalm 47 offers us a “behind the scenes” look at Good Friday? Maybe it doesn’t seem like it, especially in the very first verse! “All you peoples, clap your hands! Shout to God! Sing a loud song! Yes, the LORD Most High is awesome. He is the great King over all the earth!” (Psalm 47:1–2 EHV).
Clap? Shout? Sing? Did you feel like clapping for the soldiers as they abused Jesus? Was it applause-worthy when they took Jesus’ clothes off and put the scarlet robe on his bloody shoulders? Were you ready to shout praises to God as the soldiers slammed the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head and forced a crude imitation scepter into Jesus’ hand? Were you ready to sing a loud song while those cruel soldiers knelt before Jesus, mocking the “King of the Jews”?
This scene doesn’t cause anyone to burst with applause, shouting and song. We didn’t show the video account today because it’s not an easy scene to view. It didn’t get any better that Friday morning. The crowds weren’t clapping and shouting praises. They marched against Jesus’ life, chanting, even screaming, “Crucify! Crucify!” Kill him! We don’t want him! We just want to follow Caesar!
Psalm 47, “The LORD Most High is awesome...the great King over all the earth” is there behind Good Friday? I don’t see it. Do you? Outside the city gates, on top of the gory hill where criminals were executed, the mocking continued. Roman soldiers stripped Jesus once again, robbing him of his last shred of dignity. They pinned him to a wooden cross with iron nails. They played a game to see who would own his clothes. They followed Pilate’s orders to post the sign above Jesus’ head: “This is Jesus, King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37 EHV). From noon until 3 it wasn’t non-stop praise and admiration for a selfless sacrifice. The people walking by made fun of him. The Jewish leaders dared Jesus to prove that he was the Messiah and come down from the cross. Others turned their faces away from Jesus, unable to bear the sight of this man—brutally beaten and bloodied. This is a King? Is there any reason for us to clap our hands? To shout our praises? To sing songs of joy?
Take a closer look at Jesus and his cross. The rough wood and the pain hid something. Jesus should not have been on that cross. He was completely innocent of even the tiniest crime, let alone something worthy of the death penalty. The witnesses brought in to lie about Jesus at his trial couldn’t tell the same lies. Pilate insisted on Jesus’ innocence three times. “I find no basis for a charge against this man” (John 18:39; 19:4,6). Jesus was innocent—without blame! How could this happen? How could God allow such injustice?
When we realize the answer to that question, we don’t have much to cheer about at all. We find the answer right here, in our own hearts. From the very beginning, God made it clear: disobedience = death. Adam and Eve disobeyed. They died. God repeated that throughout history. “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:4 EHV). It’s true, isn’t it? Why are so many people so frightened about COVID? It’s not the getting sick or spreading the virus. It’s the fact that some people who get COVID die. If we weren’t sinful, we wouldn’t die.
The LORD Most High, the King didn’t want that curse to keep the world separated from him for eternity. That’s why Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews quietly endured the beatings and the ridicule. That’s why Jesus prayed for the soldiers who nailed him to the cross. That’s why Jesus cried out in despair and ultimate loneliness: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 EHV). Jesus was willing to take on the curse of our sin. He experienced something that had never happened—his Father turned his back on him.
Finally, when the time was right, God went up with a shout. He said, “Tetelesthai! It is finished!” (John 19:31 EHV) Then he “cried out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46 EHV). Psalm 47 is there behind the scenes: “God has ascended with a joyful shout!” (Psalm 47:5 EHV). Joyful in the midst of such pain, sorrow, and even the sting of death? Yes! The author of Hebrews put it like this: “In view of the joy set before him, [Jesus] endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:2 EHV). Jesus went up with a joyful shout. On the way he was also shouting something else—your name. My name. The name of every last brother and sister in a heavenly victory chant! We are his greatest joy, and he can’t help but shout it to the ends of the universe!
That’s not the only sound of celebration for the King. Jesus’ victory came with even more noise. The psalmist added, “The LORD goes up with the sound of the ram’s horn!” (Psalm 47:5 EHV). Have you ever heard the sound of the ram’s horn—the shofar? Here’s an example. [play YouTube clip] God’s people used the shofar for 4 different reasons. They would sound it to warn the inhabitants of a city that danger was coming—the enemy was on the march. The shofar sounded when the rightful heir took the throne of Israel and became King. It also sounded the call to battle. Soldiers followed the sound of the shofar and their king into battle. Finally, the shofar sounded when the battle was over and it was time to celebrate victory!
Psalm 47 is there behind the scenes on Good Friday—it all fits! “The LORD goes up with the sound of the ram’s horn!” The shofar sounds the warning for us—enemies are coming! “Have sound judgment. Be alert. Your adversary, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 EHV). Jesus crushed Satan’s power by his death on the cross, but Satan would like nothing more than to snatch us away from Jesus forever. He would do anything to make it happen. “The LORD goes up with the sound of the ram’s horn!” The shofar sounds to warn us against the world and its influence. “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, boasting about material possessions—is not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16 EHV). Watch out for that enemy—the world will do whatever it can to distract us and lead us away from Jesus. “The LORD goes up with the sound of the ram’s horn!” The shofar rings in our ears with a warning about the enemy right in here—the most dangerous one of all. Me. I don’t like the warning. I don’t want to listen. I want to complain bitterly about not getting my way. I want to pound the person who was talking about me last week. I want to eat and drink everything that’s bad for me. I am sick and tired of being nice to people. I’m done. As much as I hate to admit it, “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Romans 8:7 NIV84). I need the warning!
The shofar sounded to celebrate Jesus’ coronation. This time, he didn’t receive a crown of thorns from mocking hands. “[God] raised [Christ] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, authority, power, and dominion, and above every name that is given, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:20–21 EHV). Now, as King, Jesus sounds the shofar and leads us into battle against our enemies. We can’t lose with him leading us. Satan can’t touch us. The world has to step back. Even that sinful “me” takes a back seat to the true King. Finally, a long blast on the shofar will signal our final victory. “[The Son of Man] will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matthew 24:31 EHV). That final blast of the ram’s horn will bring the end of sin and death. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain, because the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4 EHV).
So much to absorb. So much to celebrate! It’s time to make some noise! “All you peoples, clap your hands! Shout to God! Sing a loud song! Make music for God! Make music! Make music for our King! Make music! For God is the King of all the earth. Make music for him with a wise song” (Psalm 47:1,6–7 EHV). Does that make you a little uncomfortable? For as long as I can remember, being quiet in church has been the standard. The first thing we tell our children when they start to make noise is, “Shhh.” We have some wonderful musicians here at Salem who provide an incredible frame for the good news we hear every weekend. They start to play. Our toes tap (ever so gently—don’t want to make too much noise) and our fingers match the beat. Isn’t that exactly the opposite of what the psalmist encourages us to do?
I can still see and hear it—our first Packer game, live and in-person. Kay and I had tickets to see the Packers play the Vikings in the Metrodome. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement and noise. When the crowd got excited I could barely stand it. When the Vikings eventually won, I could barely hear myself think! The crowd noise washed over us like a wave!
If fans can make that kind of noise for their favorite team, how about making even more noise for our God? Jesus achieved the greatest victory of all time—he crushed Satan and sin and death! All of you—clap your hands! Louder! Yes! Jesus loves you more than anything else. Do you love him? Shout it—Jesus, I love you too!!! Sing loudly—yes, even if you might be a little off key. We aren’t making music for ourselves, or for each other. We’re making music for God, for our King! Let’s make some noise!
Is that disrespectful? It can be. It can be disrespectful if we’re just making noise to make noise. It can be distracting if we let our little ones get out of control. Our music can be so loud and obnoxious that it only hurts people’s ears instead of praising Jesus. When sounds in worship become a joke or self-serving, then it’s disrespectful. That’s not our goal. We have a good God. We have a perfect Savior. We have a powerful, just King. Is he worth making a little noise for? I think he’s worth a lot of noise!
That’s exactly what heaven will be like! John described it in Revelation 19. “And from the throne came a voice that said, “Praise our God, all you his servants and you who fear him, small and great.” And I heard what seemed to be the roar of a large crowd or the roar of many waters or the sound of loud rumblings of thunder, saying: Alleluia! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns” (Revelation 19:5–6 EHV). Everyone in heaven is making some noise! I can’t wait to join in!
Psalm 47 is an incredible behind-the-scenes look at Good Friday. Jesus, who looked like nothing, was something. Not just something. The King. Our King. That’s right! Our King reigns! Let’s make some noise! Our King reigns! Our King reigns! Je-sus! Je-sus! Je-sus! Amen!