blog meditation Psalms

Meditation Psalm 48a

A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah.

Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise,
    in the city of our God, his holy mountain.

Beautiful in its loftiness,
    the joy of the whole earth,
like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion,
    the city of the Great King.
God is in her citadels;
    he has shown himself to be her fortress.

When the kings joined forces,
    when they advanced together,
they saw her and were astounded;
    they fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there,
    pain like that of a woman in labour.
You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish
    shattered by an east wind.

As we have heard,
    so we have seen
in the city of the Lord Almighty,
    in the city of our God:
God makes her secure
    for ever.

Within your temple, O God,
    we meditate on your unfailing love.
Like your name, O God,
    your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
    your right hand is filled with righteousness.
Mount Zion rejoices,
    the villages of Judah are glad
    because of your judgments.

Walk about Zion, go round her,
    count her towers,
consider well her ramparts,
    view her citadels,
that you may tell of them
    to the next generation.

For this God is our God for ever and ever;
    he will be our guide even to the end.

(Ps. 48:1-14 NIV)

There are six Psalms known as the Songs of Zion (46,48,76,84,87 and 122). All these Psalms praise Jerusalem as the dwelling place of God. The Psalm looks forward to a future time when the heavenly Jerusalem will descend from heaven because the city is not yet the joy of the whole earth.

This Psalm of praise is based on the proclamation of the good news of God’s presence and His unfailing love (hesed). The covenant LORD is great in His faithfulness to the covenant, in His proclamation of covenant blessings, great in His rule.

Whether the literal city of God in Jerusalem, or the descent of the Holy City, what makes either city lofty in its beauty is the presence of the LORD. The beauty and joy are not inherent in Mount Zion. In fact, if we were to travel to Jerusalem today, what we would find is Ichabod, the glory has departed. We knew that already because when Jesus was on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn in two and we could look in to the Holy of Holies and see that God was not there. In AD70 the physical temple was destroyed. Where is the temple of God today? The temple is the place where God’s presence dwells. God’s presence is with us when we gather in the Name of Jesus Christ. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.’ The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

(Heb. 12:18-24 NIV)

It is an act of grace and mercy that God would choose to associate with an earthly city. The people of God enjoy the presence of God, and from that presence they enjoy still further blessings, protection, love and righteousness. Jerusalem as a city never was the most beautiful city, nor was it a stronghold. It is the Lord’s presence that causes it to acquire such beauty and strength

The sands of time are sinking,
The dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for,
The fair, sweet morn awakes;
Dark, dark hath been the midnight,
But dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
The King there in His beauty,
Without a veil is seen;
It were a well spent journey,
Though sev’n deaths lay between;
The Lamb with His fair army
Doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
O Christ, He is the fountain,
The deep, deep well of love;
The streams on earth I’ve tasted,
More deep I’ll drink above;
There to an ocean fullness
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
With mercy and with judgment
My web of time He wove;
And always dews of sorrow
Were lustered with His love;
I’ll bless the hand that guided,
I’ll bless the heart that planned,
When throned where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
Oh! I am my Beloved’s
And my Beloved’s mine!
He brings a poor, vile sinner
Into His “house of wine;”
I stand upon His merit,
I know no other stand,

Not e’en where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.
The bride eyes not her garments,
But her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory
But on my King of grace;
Not at the crown He giveth,
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Immanuel’s land.

Lord God, the gathering of Your people in the name of Christ is a foretaste of the New Jerusalem. We enjoy in part what will be so fully experienced when Christ comes back again. Your name is to be praised because in that name is the revelation of who You are and what You have done. Lord stir up our hearts as we anticipate a glorious future. We thank You that the Lamb is all the glory in the Heavenly city – the New Jerusalem – which is in the new heavens and the new earth. Help us ascribe to the Lord today the glory that is His due, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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