Sing to the King
Perhaps you're a 'singer'…and perhaps you're not?
Perhaps you like to sing in the shower? And perhaps the thought has never occurred to you to sing in the shower, you can't understand why anyone sings in the shower, and you wonder how shampoo doesn't get in your mouth?!
Perhaps when you're in the car and 'Living on a prayer' comes on the radio, you turn it up full volume and sing your heart out? Or perhaps you just laugh when you see other drivers doing that sort of thing?
On Christmas day, maybe you stand to sing 'God save the Queen' before Her Majesty delivers her speech? Or perhaps you don't even know the words to the national anthem?
At weddings, maybe you're the first person on the dance floor when 'Summer of '69' comes on, and as well as making some shapes you're singing at the top of your voice? Or perhaps at weddings you always make sure you leave before the dancing starts, and you didn't even know there's a song called 'Summer of '69'?
Well…whether you love to sing, or not, Psalm 47 calls you to sing.
Psalm 47 calls all people, including you and I, to 'Sing to the King.' And I think it gives us at least 6 reasons to do that.
So let's pray and ask God to help us understand his word this evening.
6 reasons to 'Sing to the King'.
He is Your King
The God of the Bible, the God of Psalm 47, is your King. He's wasn't just the King of Israel back then, and he isn't just the King of Christians today. The God of the Bible is the King of all people in all nations, over all the earth, so everyone should sing praises to Him.
I wonder if you've ever talked to someone about when they became a Christian and heard them say something like…'That was the moment I decided to let God be the King of my life.' And what they mean is, that was the moment that they decided to stop going their own way, just doing whatever they want to do, and to start living their life God's way, and trying to do what he wants them to do.
But the truth is when you become a Christian you don't 'let God be the King of your life', you acknowledge for the first time what has always been true, that God is the King of your life.
He is your King, and he is my King, so we should sing his praises.
He is a King to Fear and to Love
Look at v1-2 again…
No that word 'awesome' has lots of different meanings in English, so it's possible for us to think that v2 is telling us that the LORD Most High is a cool dude. But that's not what's going on here. In the old language of the King James Version, v2 says,
"For the LORD Most High is terrible, he is a great king over all the earth."
Of course those words have got different meanings too(!), but the idea in v2 is that we should fear God. The God of the Bible is the great King who is all-powerful, he sees everything and knows everything and controls everything. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, their enemies found that they could not stand against them. Why? Well, look at v3. Because God was in control.
He subdued those nations and gave his people victory over them. And he can do that, because he's all powerful. God is a King to be feared.
But that's not all. Look at v1 again. In v1 it says that those same nations, the nations defeated by the Israelites, should clap their hands and shout to God with cries of joy!
Now, what is going on?
Well, imagine you are part of an army, fighting a war. You're fighting a war but your enemy completely overpowers you. They are infinitely stronger than you and able to destroy you, you fear them and so you surrender. But once you've surrendered and live under their rule, life get a whole lot better. In fact, with them in charge, life becomes more wonderful than you could ever have imagined it could be. So you fear them, and you should fear them, but you also love them.
God is a King to fear and to love. So we should sing his praises.
He is a Generous King
Look at v3-4 again. If God is your King…and He is, then everything you have in life comes from Him.
The Israelites could see that when they went to war and God defeated their enemies and gave them their land and possessions. What they had was a gift, an inheritance, from God.
But the same is also true for us, today. What we have in our lives comes from God.
Now of course, that often brings questions to our minds and even doubts, there are hard things in our lives that we struggle to understand when we know that God is in control. But isn't it also true, at the same time, that each of us, if we were to stop and think of them, could count all sorts of blessings that we enjoy.
Those hard things in our lives tend to dominate our thoughts, and the Bible doesn't ignore those things or pretend they don't exist. It helps us to grapple with those things to. But in Psalm 47:4 we are called to praise God because of all the good things that he's given us as our inheritance. God's generosity is another reason we should Sing to our King.
He is King Over All
Look at v2 and V9
God, our King, is the LORD Most High. Now it's obvious to say it, but the point is, quite simply, that no-one is higher than God. No-one is greater than God, no-one compares with God. He is the LORD Most High. Even the kings of the earth belong to him.
Perhaps you think this whole idea of 'singing' to someone feels strange? Why would we 'sing praises' to God?
But if you think about it, we sing people's praises all the time, don't we? Maybe you hear an incredible piece of music, or a song on the radio that you love, and you want to share it with someone else, Maybe you see a film or a photo or a painting that takes your breath away, and you Snapchat it to your friends or tell everyone on Facebook how they've got to go and see it. Maybe you see your team score a goal, or watch some incredible event at the Olympics, and you go into work the next day and say, 'did you see that on TV last night…'
We sing people's praises all the time.
But whatever we think is incredible, whatever we see or hear or admire that other people can do, God is greater. He is the LORD Most High.
You love that song or that piece of music? Well, God composed the sound of waterfalls, and wind through the trees, and waves crashing on the seashore.
You admire those athletes, how fast they can run, the things they can do? Well, God flung the stars into space.
You admire that picture, that painting, that photo or that design? Well, God made sunsets and sunrises, he invented blue for the sky and green for the sea.
You love technology and gadgets, Well, just look at the wings of a bee, or how your iris responds to sunlight.
You love that film you saw last tonight? Well, tonight, go watch the night sky; the moon and stars and planets on their celestial path.
You admire the author of your favourite book, or how great speeches move you and change history, Well, God spoke and there was light!
He said the word, and the sea and land were formed.
We should Sing to the King, because he is the LORD Most High.
He is the King of Grace
Look at v4 again…Now, Jacob was one of the patriarchs, one of the founding fathers of the Israelites. But it's very unusual for the Israelites to refer to themselves, as the 'pride of Jacob'. More often called they called themselves the children of Abraham or the people of Israel, so why mention of Jacob's name here?
And what's strange about remembering their link back to Jacob, is that if you go to the book of Genesis and read his story, you quickly realise that Jacob wasn't a nice man. He was a thief and a coward. He was a bad son and a bad husband and a bad father.
So why mention him here? Well, I think the answer is at the end of v4. Yes, Jacob was a bad son and a bad husband and a bad father.
But God loved him. God loves people who don't deserve to be loved. He notices people who don't deserve to be noticed. Did you see that in v9?
Even the kings of the earth, the people we tend to think of as being important they belong to God. No one has any standing before God. We are all nobodies, and worse than nobodies, we are nobodies who are sinners like Jacob.
You and I don't deserve God's love, we deserve his rejection. But He chooses to love people like Jacob, and people like you and me.
That's called grace.
And we should sing God's praises, because he is the King of grace.
Finally, we should Sing to the King because…
He is the Holy King
God, our King, is a Holy King. He's not like us. That's what holy means, different, set-apart, not like us. But it also means pure and perfect and without fault.
God does all things well. There are times when we wrestle with that, and times when we struggle with that. But when you feel like that one of the things we can do is speak to those who've known Him longer than we have. Because the more we get to know him, the more we realise it is true.
God does all things well. Not all things the way that we would do them, or all things the way that we would want them, but he does all things well. And just the way that He promised He would.
When God first appeared to Abraham in Genesis 12, he promised that his descendants would multiply abundantly, and be a blessing to the nations. and include kings of the earth. And v9 reminds us that one day, when all God's people are gather in heaven, we'll see that promise come true.
We should Sing to the King, because he is a Holy, perfect, promise keeping King.
6 reasons from Psalm 47 why you and I should Sing to the King.
But I want to add one more reason that's not from Psalm 47.
We should Sing to the King because…
We know the King
In John chapter 1 Jesus met a man called Nathaniel, and Nathaniel declared,
"Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel." - John 1:49
When Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, the crowds shouted out…
"Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!" John 12:13
When Jesus was on trial, Pilate asked him…
""Are you the King of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied." - Luke 23:3
And in that wonderful passage in Philippians 2:9-11 Paul reminds us that he's not just the King of the Jews…
"Therefore God exalted [Jesus] to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
So in Revelation 19 we have an incredible picture of Jesus, and in v16 it says…
"On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Revelation 19:16
If you do not know why Christians Sing to their King, or if you do not yet know why you should Sing to your King, then get to know Jesus. Because Jesus is the King.
And the more you know Jesus, and the better you know Jesus, the more you will want to Sing to the King.
…he is your King
…he is a King to fear and to love
…he is a generous King
…he is King over all
…he is the King of grace
…and he is a holy King
You and I should Sing to the King.
So finally, what does it mean to Sing to the King?
Let me suggest 4 things.
Sing…louder When you come to church, when you gather with God's people and we sing songs, how do you sing? If you're not much of a singer, or if you don't really enjoy singing, or if you were once told that you can't sing, it doesn't matter. We are commanded to sing! It brings Him glory, and He is your King, so SING!
And if you already sing, sing louder! We are commanded to sing! It brings him glory, and He is your King, so SING!
Sing in your heart
What do I mean by that?
What I mean is, we shouldn't just be singing to God when we come together in church and the band starts playing.
We should be singing to God all the time.
As you look and marvel at the world around us, sing songs in your heart to the King who made it all.
When you see prayers answered, or when you are reminded of great truths in your own Bible reading, or when you hold onto promises that are precious in hard times, sing songs in your heart to your King.
Which leads thirdly to, Sing in your prayers Again I know that might sound a bit strange, so what do I mean by sing in your prayers?
I mean don't just let your prayers be lists, don't just let your prayers be negatives, and, dare I say it, don't just let your prayers be serious. Fill your prayers with thanks and joy and laughter…and song! Sing to your King in your prayers. He loves to hear you sing.
Sing his praises to others
Tell others how wonderful your King is.
Tell others the great new thing you learnt about your King in home group this week.
Tell others about the King who you love, and why you love him.
Sing his praises to your brothers and sisters in church, because it will encourage them.
And sing his praises to those you know who don't yet know their King, because I will intrigue them,
…and, by God's grace maybe they too, one day,
…will Sing to the King.