This ceremony occurs on the South Lawn of the White House. Assembled will be a color guard, flags of each US state, and up to 4,000 invited guests. Small flags of the US and the visitors nation have been distributed to the guests, and an official program exists to be followed in detail.
At the appropriate moment, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets perform four ruffles and flourishes. The President and first lady appear, and a service band plays Hail to the Chief. Then in the same attention to detail, the head of state is welcomed.
This occurs to say, Someone of great importance is welcoming someone of importance. If we are capable of paying such tribute to our President and another head of state, how should we pay tribute to God?
This Psalm pays tribute to God. Much conflicting discussion still occurs as to what the occasion was and when this occasion occurred in Israel. The questions: When did God arrive? What actually prompted this celebration? This study will not focus on those unanswered questions.
Israel was a theocracy. The recognized actual ruler of the nation was God! Americans are unfamiliar with ruling (a kingship) or God being the King. There is a vast difference in people acknowledging Gods power and presence in government and God being the government! God was being welcomed by his people in the same manner a conquering King returned from battle to his residence.
The Creator God was honored for all He had done. God possessed the earth and everything living on earth because He was the origin of all that existed. The foundation for His creation was the seas and the rivers. This was perhaps a reference to the concept in passages such as Genesis 1:9.
Note God brought what we would call stability out of what we consider instability. What human could or would use water for a foundation? Gods achievement was not based on a human accomplishment! God deserved the welcome!
Question: What people should accompany the King to His residence? Who should go with Him?
Accompanying the King God to his residence involved far more than being at the correct place at the appointed time. When Israel was led from Egyptian slavery as a non-nation to become a nation ruled by God, they, as a people, had to break away from idolatrous concepts of divinity. Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, and 13-14 involve one of the breakawaysthe nation of Israel would not perform sacrificial worship anywhere and everywhere. God would select one placethe people of Israel would not select the place.
From that time forward the place became extremely important to Israel. Proper religion too often was reduced to the correct place at the appropriate time. In becoming a self-declared righteous person, being at the right place doing the right thing became more important than who you were as a person. In common language, where you were became more important than who or what you were. Too many thought that in righteousness, place was more important than personal behavior. How one acted in his/her personal life was insignificant if he/she were at the correct place doing the appropriate things.
First, note the qualities of those who the King God wished to accompany Him to His residence.
Who they were was as important as being at the right place.
Second, note the active role the King God took. He blessed; He made it possible to be righteous; He delivered from danger (saved) those who had clean hands, pure hearts, did not lie, and did not deceive.
It was inappropriate for the King God to bow to anything! He was too deserving, too worthy to bow to anything. So the huge doors (gates) to the city were wide open to receive the King God (the Protector had arrivedclosed gates were unnecessary). If necessary the entrance was raised so the unbowed King God could enter His city. He was the strong one, mighty in battle, and filled with glory.
May you see and sense the honor these people felt for their King God! They did not praise God because they had to; they praised God because they wanted to. God was deserving of all honor they could give Him!
For Thought and Discussion
1. We have no comparable what? What, perhaps, is the closest American ceremony?
2. To whom does this Psalm pay tribute?
3. The government of ancient Israel was what? What does that mean?
4. God brought stability out of what?
5. Who were the people that should accompany King God to His residence?
6. Discuss the importance of the correct place in Israels sacrificial worship. What mistake was easily made?
7. What active roles did King God take?
8. What did they consider inappropriate for King God?
Link to Teacher's Guide Lesson 9
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