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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, May 21, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 47

Clap your hands, all you peoples;
    shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
    a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us
    and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
    the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah

God has gone up with a shout,
    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 with a psalm.

God is king over the nations;
    God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
    as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
    he is highly exalted. (NRSV)

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed but preceding the psalm passages in the Bible there are notes about the history of the psalm or how it is to be used. It is like the score of an anthem or the notes at the bottom of the hymns we sing on Sunday. In Psalm 47 the note in my Bible says “To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.” There are eleven psalms attributed to the sons of Korah.

OK, so who was Korah? Not one of the top ten biblical personalities! But in a skirmish in Israel’s early history in which the granddaddies of these sons challenged Moses and Aaron’s priestly leadership, the ground opened up and swallowed them. God’s doing? Well, yes. But don’t stop reading, because we discover that Korah’s sons, perhaps too young to understand their father’s uprising or maybe too cognizant of God’s authority to join in the revolt, were spared. And generations later, in King David’s time, they became the great leaders in choral and orchestral music in the tabernacle.

I am quite astonished by the power of God’s transformational possibilities. From a power struggle between Moses and Aaron with Korah to the remarkable contributions of Korah’s sons, whose lilting voices are still awakened whenever we sing or read the psalms.

The ancient refrain “the Lord, the Most High, is awesome” is sung around campfires by youth in the modern rendition “Our God is an awesome God!” The shimmering light of our kids virtually igniting the power of an ancient text today makes me deeply in awe, yes, awe of God’s reimagined vocation of song, of psalms, of swaying bodies and clapping hands. It is a beauty to behold. They stand in the line of the sons (and I suspect some daughters) of Korah. Grand choristers, singing their hearts out!

You never know what will happen in your life. Even out of the tragic jealousy of their ancestor, these kids of Korah sweep in with unbridled praises to God!

Sing through us, O awesome God. Arise, shine, in our lives, this day and always. Thank you! Amen.

Written by Lucy Forster-Smith, Senior Associate Pastor for Leadership Development and Adult Education

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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