Wednesday: Psalms 47-48 & Acts 19.21-41

From Mark Booker

Psalm 47: This psalm is a celebration of the kingship of Yahweh. He is not just king over Israel but he is "a great king over all the earth" (v2) who is to be celebrated and praised. The Old Testament envisions non-Israelites being blessed by the God of Abraham, acknowledging his rule and goodness (Genesis 12.3; Isaiah 9.2, 11.10, 27.13, 49.6). In the same spirit, verse 9 declares that "The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham." After Jesus' life, death, and resurrection and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, the early church had a mission to the Gentiles, initiated by Peter in Acts 10 and led by the Apostle Paul. They saw this as a fulfillment of the Old Testament promises. In Revelation 7.9-10, we see a multitude from every nation, every tribe and people and language, praising the God who is king and the Lamb (Jesus). Our God is king over all the earth. As v9 says, "he is highly exalted" but that high exaltation, his ultimate enthronement, was by means of the cross. Whatever is going on in your life, let this psalm lead you to praise Jesus our king - the world's true king - today. 

Psalm 48: This is a song about God's city, Zion or Jerusalem. The city is praised as a beautiful place where God dwells in the temple. Today, God dwells in his people, who are his temple (Ephesians 2.21-22), and who reside in every place on earth. Psalm 48's focus on Jerusalem should be expanded, for us, to the to the entire earth. God's temple (us) is spread through all the earth which belongs to him, and we speak (through actions and words) of his glory and strength. Though that is veiled today, we proclaim it in faith and hope, knowing that it will one day be known to all. 

Acts 19.21-41: The proclamation of the one, true God always clashes with idolatry. Idol worship in Ephesus was a great money-maker for many (v24), and the threat of Paul's gospel was a threat to the very fabric of the world in which most had invested their lives. In a pluralistic, idolatrous world, a key element of Paul's teaching was an affirmation of the second commandment: that "gods made with hands are not gods" (v26). In a world of idolatry, this kind of teaching will be strongly opposed, as this story vividly portrays with the people shouting for two hours with one voice, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" (v34). This reaction should remind us of the nerve that is touched in us and others when those idols around which we have built our lives (success, sex, money, power, health) are threatened. Further, these idols bring "no little business" (v24) to many, so preaching and living against them is certainly going to raise opposition. How, if at all, have you encountered that opposition in the world or in your own heart? Where does the proclamation of Jesus threaten you or those around you?