When I worship at church, I am uncomfortable clapping my hands. I rarely feel that I am clapping at the right time, and frankly, I feel awkward. I have always felt that quiet, reverent music is more worshipful. Therefore, when I read a blog last week by Bill Smith in Kuyperian Commentary, I had to rethink some things that I have thought before.
The blog was entitled Bring. The. Noise. (Psalm 47). Here is Psalm 47:
O clap your hands, all you people;
Shout to God with the voice of triumph and songs of joy.
For the Lord Most High is to feared [and worshiped with awe-inspired reverence and obedience];
He is a great King over all the earth.
He subdues peoples under us and nations under our feet.
He chooses our inheritance for us,
The glory and excellence of Jacob whom He loves.
God has ascended amid shouting, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises in a skillful psalm and with understanding.
God reigns over the nations;
God sits on His holy throne.
The princes of the people have gathered together as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
He is highly exalted.
So why was this important for me? I have felt a certain ‘down’ time during this pandemic. I know that others are experiencing isolation, depression, discouragement, or a certain malaise in these days. This blog was encouraging to me, and I’d like to share the concepts with you.
Think for a moment about a college basketball or football game. Your team is winning, and you are cheering them on. Or your team is losing, and you want to keep the opposing team from scoring. So you make lots of noise to distract them. Noise is used to intimidate the enemy, celebrate victory, or to energize the warriors to create more energy.
“Glory” in Hebrew speaks of weightiness. In Psalm 8 man is crowned with glory meaning that God is giving him dominion over the works of his hands. When Jesus is exalted, He is crowned with glory, all authority in heaven and on earth is given to Him. Winning is glorious.
Glory is social. It is experienced in relationship with others. Whether with a sports team or among angels and men participating in the glory cloud of God, we share in it together as one of our number is glorified through victory and exaltation. We participate with them. Their glory is our glory. This is true because God’s glory is eternally social as it is shared between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This glory is full of energy and feeds energy. It moves throughout the earth. As it swells, it creates noise. This is about the sound of the trumpets as God’s glory appears on Mt. Sinai. This is about the rumbling thunder.
Psalm 47 is noisy because God has won. His people are sharing in His glorious victory. So where is Jesus today? He is seated in heaven. His work is finished. He has been coronated and enthroned to rule over His creation until all His enemies are made His footstool.
So we celebrate Jesus’ ascension. We celebrate His victory and His glory. Our worship is filled with energy. It is skillful, purposeful, orderly, and directed, reflecting the very glory of God Himself. Our God is King. He has won. The war is in His hands. We celebrate His victory. We sing, play music, clap, and shout to celebrate His victory and to energize us for the battle, to intimidate our enemies.
May we continue to encourage to one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs as we remind one another of the glory of our victorious King. May we energize one another in our hope of His return.