The coming groom, the conqueror, put an end to all warfare and strife, rescued his bride, and now as the nations, both loyal and conquered, line the roads leading to and through the holy city, he prepares to ascend his throne.
If such a procession were like the coronation of the Queen of England (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inKSvLk7kiI), it would be one of quiet reverence. Those in attendance at the Queen’s formal ceremony stood in silent and sober recognition as the weighty mantle of power was passed on giving her the mandate to rule. The people moved slowly, spoke quietly, and bowed low. Everyone was dressed elegantly hoping, it would seem, to look their best in front of the newly crowned Queen. It is quite possible that during this formal and elegant ceremony one could have heard a pin drop.
However, I don’t think the picture painted by the Sons of Korah in Psalm 47 bares much resemblance to the Queen’s coronation. They describe an almost raucous ceremony with many nations gathering, (most likely multiple millions of people), clapping their hands and shouting in joy: trumpets sound, songs are raised, and the whole earth is filled with gladness.
I realize it’s possible I could be wrong. It’s possible the shouts, songs, clapping hands, and other such hullabaloo will be neatly organized into a rigid and precise agenda, with no celebration overlapping another and no voice ever straying outside of the lines. It’s possible everyone on the earth bows their heads in silence and moves neatly into rows while quietly thanking God for conquering all of their enemies. It’s possible. But, honestly, I think it quite unlikely.
Rather than the Queen’s somber coronation, I think the celebration for the groom’s ascension to the throne will be more like that found at the end of Star Wars Episode 6 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Tb4F9D1W_k. Yes, I said Star Wars!) Bells ring, fireworks explode, and people gather in the streets celebrating. They hug, sing, dance, tell stories, and rejoice at the coming reign of the new king. And even though Revelation tells how God will wipe away every tear, I think every eye around the world will be filled with tears of joy at his ascension. They know the groom is not only a conqueror of nations but also a lover of people, granting full rights of freedom and declaring the conquered people his own children! Furthermore, while this is a celebration of the groom, it also culminates the search each person had in their own life for completion, fulfillment, and satisfaction.
I am reminded of a morning worship service some time ago wherein a pastor publicly prayed, by name, for a single young man to find a bride so he would “become complete.” Now, I don’t know what others were thinking at the time, but the pastor’s prayer caught me off guard: I was taken aback by the suggestion that marriage somehow completes a person. Don’t misread me, I’m not suggesting marriage is a bad thing or that it can’t become a healthy complementary relationship, but, being a single person, I wondered if he was suggesting I was somehow incomplete. At first, I considered getting up and quietly leaving, but I quickly dismissed that reaction and stayed in my seat the rest of the sermon. I thought about his comment and by the end of his sermon, (whatever it was about), came to the conclusion that while he may have stated it oddly, there was truth hiding behind his prayer. While marriage isn’t an institution producing wholeness, each marriage is a sign pointing to something that does produce wholeness: the marriage at the end of time between the bride of Christ and Christ himself.
Each day, whether married or single, we struggle through pain, trials, and empty longings seeking fulfillment, but nothing we find ever provide satisfaction, fulfillment, or completion. Our only hope for satisfaction, fulfillment, and completion rests solely in that day when our groom, the great conqueror of the world, ascends to his throne putting away all death, mourning, crying, and pain ushering in a new order of things. It is on that day when every person faithful to the groom will toss aside the bondage of guilt and shame and finally, for the first time in their life, be able worship and praise the Lord in the way in which they were intended: with joyful abandon. I guarantee this moment will not be a somber assembly, rather it will be a celebration the likes of which humanity has never seen.
This celebration, however, does not end at the ascension of the bride: that’s only the second part of the bridal song. The first part of the bridal song, as we discovered in Psalm 46, sings of the conquering groom; the second part, found in Psalm 47, sings of the joyful ascension of the groom to the throne; and the third part, concluding in Psalm 48, sings of…well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves! For that part, you will have to wait until next week! (Or you can read it on your own!) Until that time, let us turn the cries our present troubles into a celebration of the future hope we have in the coming of the conquering groom as he ascends to his throne!