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 understanding.
“God has gone up . . . with the sound of a trumpet.” The setting of this psalm is one in which the Lord has gone up against the Assyrians and miraculously defeated them (2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36). In Hebrew, verse 5 would read, “God has ascended with acclamations of joy, or a battle cry.” Most scholars see this as pointing to a yet future event when not only is a wicked army beaten, but also when man’s greatest enemy is defeated: “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched . . . a cloud received Him out of their sight. And . . . behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).
There’s another prophetic element in view here, because there is a second ascension ahead that is accompanied by a trumpet blast: “ . . . flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God . . . Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed. . . . Then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowedup in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? ’”
Jesus’ ascension pictures for us the defeat of a far greater foe than Sennacherib and his army. Understanding His ascension allows us to “sing praises with understanding.” We could see this as meaning, “In light of what you’ve come to understand about the Great King and His goodness and truth, sing praises!” Why should we sing praises? Well, for starters, the Great King has proven conclusively that there is life after death! Upon His rising from the dead and ascending into heaven, all questions and doubts about life after death were resolved.
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