Ascribed to (or assigned to) "the Sons of Korah," this celebration of the universal reign of God serves as a powerful congregational testimony to the sure triumph of God's kingdom. The psalmist calls all nations to join in the praise of this "great King" (v. 2), whose victories make his people secure in their inheritance (st. 1). God is "King of all the earth" (v. 7; st. 2), and God's universal reign draws the nobility of the nations to assemble around his throne (st. 3). In language and theme Psalm 47 shows much affinity with Psalms 93-99. It stands between two songs (46, 48) that celebrate the security of the city of God, thus reinforcing their theme. It's likely that this psalm played a role in the temple liturgy, but its place in that liturgy is uncertain. Cor Wm. Barendrecht (PHH 326) originally versified this psalm in an unrhymed text in 1980; the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee added rhyme and recast a number of lines to arrive at the current versification. Another partial setting of Psalm 47 is at 166.
Psalter Hymnal Handbook
The confessions make it clear that the ascension of Christ opened the door to the rule of his kingdom. This fact is comforting to those who love him and is a fearful threat to those who despise him. The response therefore is praise and adoration from people of faith, and resistance from those who reject him.
Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 27 affirms “All authority, glory and sovereign power are given to him,” and reaffirms it in paragraph 43: “Jesus Christ rules over all.”
Consider the clear affirmation made in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 19, Question and Answer 50: “Christ ascended to heaven to show there that he is the head of his church, the one through whom the Father rules all things.”
It is no wonder that those who despise him join together to conspire against him, for Christ’s aim as Lord is to “destroy the devil’s work…every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your holy word” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 48, Question and Answer 123).