“He shall choose our inheritance for us,
the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.”
~ Psalm 47:4
I have a particular Bible from which I usually read. It has a couple of markers in it that I move from day to day as I read through the passages. This morning, without much thought, I picked up another Bible, the one I use in devotions with my children. I prayed the Lord to open His Word to me and to give me direction in submitting to His will. I opened the book on the table and began cleaning my reading glasses. When I looked upon the open pages, I found I had opened to Psalm 47. My eyes were drawn to verse four, “He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.”
The whole Psalm is about the sovereign power of God. He is named the “LORD most high” (Psalm 47:2) and “God… the king of all the earth” (Psalm 47:7). His power is seen in execution as He “reigneth over the heathen” and “sitteth upon the throne of his holiness” (Psalm 47:8). What a just power is God’s and how right it is that He sits upon His throne! “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter” (Psalm 45:6). Surely, “he is greatly exalted” (Psalm 47:9).
The application of this truth in this particular Psalm is wonderful. The directive in the opening is to His people, “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph” (Psalm 47:1). God’s sovereign right and power is given as reason for this command. God’s sovereign reign is here seen as the victory and rejoicing of His people. The promise is, “He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet” (Psalm 47:3). All for which we are to “Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises” (Psalm 47:6).
Now let us turn our attention more to our text. We have noted the power of God and His right to rule “over all the earth” (Psalm 47:2). His reign is not limited, but extends to all the affairs of men. He did not create a universe and merely set it in motion to move arbitrarily. He not only ‘flung the stars out into space,’ He also ‘holds them in their proper place.’ It is God “Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains” (Psalm 147:8). Furthermore, “He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry” (Psalm 147:9).
Can we question God’s intimate involvement in the order of the earth and all life upon it? “He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly. He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow” (Psalm 147:15-18). Here God is seen directing the forces of nature with His word, not leaving things to their own course. “He causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.” With what part of His creation is He not involved daily? “Behold the fowls of the air for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them” (Matthew 6:26).
With all this in mind, it should seem no problem that “He shall choose our inheritance for us.” In fact, His choice is “the excellency of Jacob whom he loved.” Can we fathom that His choice would not be to our good? “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22).
The “inheritance” here is the gift of God to His people. It is His blessing to choose and bestow this inheritance “as seemeth good unto him” (2 Samuel 15:26). Our text has to do with our submission unto God—our submission to His perfect will. Some hold to God’s sovereignty as an excuse to live recklessly saying, “Whatever will be, will be.” However, it is a very different thing to live by faith and trust Him to “choose our inheritance for us.” The latter is to rely upon Him and relegate all of our choice to His infinite wisdom, to want only what He wants for us and to abhor what He would not allow. O to sing with Fanny Crosby:
I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice, And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith, And be closer drawn to Thee.
Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord, By the power of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, And my will be lost in Thine.
David said, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4). I do not believe this verse is saying that we will be given what we want if we delight in Him. I believe we are taught here that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the right desires. In other words, He will cause us to want what He wants in all things. A similar thought is expressed in John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” The truth here is not that abiding in Christ gives us the power to make our wishes come true, but rather that God’s will shall become our will. This is why we can ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us.
In closing, let us rejoice in God’s almighty power. Let us see the sovereign will of God as our victory in “the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Let us trust Him in all things. Then we can say gladly with the sons of Jacob, “He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved.”