Psalms: Epilogue
(Psalms 47 and 119)

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Audio (4:53)


Detail of Pieter de Grebber (Dutch painter, ca. 1600-1653), "King David in Prayer" (1635-40), oil on canvas, 94x84 cm, Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht. Larger image.
We've come to the end and I am sad. I am sad because I have so enjoyed an immersion in the Psalms and I hope you have, but now it is over. I'm also sad that I haven't had a chance to share with you others of my favorite psalms. I love Psalms 18, 86, and 89, for example, but they're too long to treat adequately in the space we have.

Psalm 47 - Clap Your Hands All Nations

Here's a short one:

"1Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
2How awesome is the LORD Most High,
the great King over all the earth!" (Psalm 47:1-2)

Here the psalmist calls all nations to worship Yahweh and acknowledge that he not just a national God. He is the ultimate King over the whole earth. What does it mean in Hebrew culture to clap one's hands? In western cultures clapping means to applaud and bring honor to a person. In the Old Testament clapping can be a sign of joy (here, Psalm 98:8, and Isaiah 55:12) or triumph (Nahum 3:19). A king is applauded at his coronation (2 Kings 11:12). In a business relationship clapping the hands signifies pledging oneself as collateral, but clapping can also be a sign of mocking.1 Interesting!

You see, it is difficult for me to quit.

Psalm 119 - Delight in the Law of the Lord

How can we leave the Psalms without experiencing Psalm 119, the longest psalm in the Bible, all of 176 verses? It is organized as an acrostic psalm. This time eight couplets all begin with Aleph, then eight couplets begin with Beth, and so on. It is a written as a meditation on the "law of the LORD" in all its different facets. It contains many memorable verses, such as:

"How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word." (119:9)
"I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you." (119:10)
"Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law." (119:18)
"Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word." (119:67)
"It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees." (119:71)
"I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,
and in faithfulness you have afflicted me." (119:75)
"Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path." (119:105)
"The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple." (119:130)
"Your promises have been thoroughly tested,
and your servant loves them." (119:140)
"Great peace have they who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble." (119:165)
Experiencing the Psalms, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, a Bible study on Psalms in 12 lessons
Now all the lessons are available together in e-book and paperback formats.

I must stop. There are still more psalms I'd love to share with you. But though this is an end of our study, my prayer is that it is a new beginning of your exploration of the wonderful Word of God contained in the Psalms. It is rich! It is soul-food! It is sweet!

"How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (119:103)

If you haven't already, why don't you plan now to read a psalm every day. Revel in the Psalms. Enjoy them for a lifetime. They are God's wonderful gift to his people and a song-book for our souls.

Prayer

Father, thank you for the wonderful time we've had experiencing the Psalms. Thank you for your blessing, your goodness, your love. Help me, help us to praise you to highest heaven, and when we have laments to turn our hearts toward You who alone can heal us. Thank you. In Jesus' wonderful name, we pray. Amen.

Songs

  • "Clap Your Hands" (all you people), may be sung as a round. Words and music by Jimmy Owens (© 1972, Bud John Songs, Inc., admin by EMI Christian Music Publishing). Psalm 47:1.
  • "More Precious Than Silver" (LORD, You are...), words and music by Lynn DeShazo (© 1979, Hosanna! Music). Psalm 119:72.
  • "O Word of God Incarnate," words: William W. How (1867), music "Munich," from Neuvermehrtes Gesangbuch (1663), adapted by Felix Mendelssohn (1847). Psalm 119:105.
  • "Teach Me Thy Way," words and music by Tom Howard and Bill Batstone (© 1986, Maranatha! Music). Psalm 119:35-41.
  • "Thy Word" (is a Lamp unto my feet, and a Light unto my path), words by Amy Grant, music by Michael W. Smith (© 1984 Meadowgreen Music Co., Word Music LLC. Psalm 119:105
  • "You Are the Mighty King," words and music by Eddie Espinosa (© 1982, Mercy / Vineyard Publishing). Psalm 47:2.

References

  1. Tāqa`, "blow, clap, strike, sound." In Nahum 3:19 clapping signifies triumph over an enemy (Ronald F. Youngblood, tāqa`, TWOT #2541). Māḥā´, "strike" is used of clapping in joy in Psalm 98:8 and Isaiah 55:12, but negatively in Ezekiel 25:6). Another word used for clapping is nākā, "smite strike, hit" in 2 Kings 11:12, clapping hands before the king (Marvin R. Wilson, nākā, TWOT #1364). The verb śāpaq is used in the sense of clapping as mocking and scorn in Job 27:23; 34:37; Lamentations 2:15.

Copyright © 1985-2017, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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