Have you ever noticed that the Psalms often encourages us to clap our hands and shout in triumph as we worship?
"Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great King over all the earth." (Psalm 47:1-2)
I have always taken this to mean to clap along with the song — hopefully in rhythm with the band. While we can apply it to, and should apply it to, clapping with the beat it actually means far more than that. In Psalm 47:1, we see the Sons of Korah encouraging all people to clap their hands and shout to God with loud songs of joy in light of the Lord because He is to be feared. He is to be respected.
So what does it mean to clap our hands in light of the Lord? It was customary at this point in Israel's history that when a new king came in to power and was on his accession to the throne that he was saluted with clapping of hands and joyous shouting. People were genuinely excited for the new come that had come in to power. Their “shout of triumph” is the joyous shouting which welcomes the victorious king.
If earthly kings and rulers are often greeted with clapping and joyous shouts of triumph, then how much more do we have an even greater King who deserves clapping and joyous shouting in songs of praise! As we come to Him, we are reminded of our brokenness. Our sin is exposed in light of His perfection. In light of His holiness, every dark corner is exposed as His light shines into those hidden recesses of our lives.
I love what Robert Hawker says about this, "The clapping of the hands implies perhaps not merely an outward token of inward delight; but it means let every demonstration be given, both by soul and body, of what a glorious cause for holy triumph there is in the consciousness of our risen, ascended, and triumphant Saviour."
The Lord deserves every fiber of our being, because He knit us each one of our fibers together. Not only is He the Author of Life, but He is the Creator and Sustainer of Life. As we worship the Lord, brothers and sisters, let us greet the Lord with clapping and loud songs of joy in light of what He has done and is doing, because He is the one, true God.