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The Scriptorium

What's All the Shouting About?

Our awesome God, that's what. Psalm 47.1, 2

Ascended and Enthroned (2)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 47.1, 2
Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples!
Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
For the LORD Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth.

Sing Psalm 47.1, 2
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
O clap your hands, you peoples all, with joy to God your songs intone!
Shout out to Him, and on Him call, He is the mighty, sovereign One!

Read Psalm 47.1, 2

1. What attribute of the king do the psalmists focus on here?

2. What happens because of this?

Here is another example of a kind of Gresham’s Law of language, in which bad or wrong definitions supplant right and true ones.

These days, when someone says, “Awesome!”, it’s usually with eyes wide open and a big smile on the face, indicating an experience of something extremely pleasant. The abbreviated OED explains awesome as “extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring awe”. These days we seem to have lost the “daunting” aspect of awesomeness, which the OED defines as “seemingly difficult to deal with in prospect; intimidating”.

God is certainly that. But even “awesome” doesn’t quite get at the reason for all the shouting in these verses. The Hebrew word, נוֹרָא, norah, is from the verb meaning “to fear.” In this form it means “to be feared.” God is to be feared. He is the LORD Most High. No one and nothing is larger or greater than God, more beyond, more powerful, or more capable of destroying their foes, than this God.

This fearsome God rules the earth, all the earth. All the time. In every place. In full control.

Which means that a good bit of the earth is in manifest and hopeless rebellion against a King they have no hope of defeating, and Who will one day leave His eternal throne to come and finally set matters on earth to what they should be, reflecting His righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit in all things.

For now, He rules and is fearsome; and those who know Him clap their hands with enthusiastic approval and shout with fear and joy.

The LORD Most High is awesome, indeed, and fearsome and sovereign, incomparable in His grace, unmatched in His power, and irresistible in His might.

Shout it!

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
What is all the shouting about?

Let’s look and see what other Bible characters have to say about this awesome God:
Daniel –  “And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, ‘O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments…” (Dan. 9.4).

Nehemiah – “And I said: ‘I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments…” (Neh. 1.5).

Moses – “You shall not be terrified of them; for the LORD your God, the great and awesome God, is among you” (Deut. 7.21).

David – “By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us, O God of our salvation, You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth…” (Ps. 65.5). “O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places” (Ps. 68.35).

Asaph – “He is awesome to the kings of the earth” (Ps. 76.12).

Daniel’s and Nehemiah’s prayers mirrored one another in their observation that God is faithful to His covenant, that He in His mighty greatness is merciful; and that God is pleased with those who keep His commandments.

Moses encouraged us to not fear those around us because our awesome and great God is among us and will fight for us.

David is awed by God’s righteousness and salvation which leads us to have confidence in God.

David who wrote that “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps. 19.1) said here that God is more awesome than any of His majestic creation.

And Asaph wrote that God is awesome to the kings of the earth. God is more powerful than any human power on earth, and somewhere is their heart of hearts they know that to be true.

All this shouting is about our Awesome God. We would do well to obey Him. Then shout!

1. Why is the awesome fearsomeness of God something worth shouting about?

2. Why do you suppose we as believers don’t shout His awesomeness any more than we do?

3. How does the awesome fearsomeness of God lead to obedience to and love for Him?

The God with whom we have to do, is a God of awful majesty. The universal and absolute sovereignty of a holy God would be too terrible for us even to think of, were it not exercised by his Son from a mercy-seat; but now it is only terrible to the workers of iniquity. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 47.1-4

Closing Prayer: Psalm 47.5, 6
Pray that God will send a worldwide revival to His Church, leading to a worldwide awakening of the lost to faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Sing Psalm 47.5, 6
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
God has ascended with a shout, the Lord with sound of trumpet bold!
Sing praise to Him, let praise ring out! Let praise through all the world be told!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to our summary of last week’s study by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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