Psalm 48

This morning in my devotions I read Ps 48, in which I noticed a couple of interesting things. First, the Psalm focuses on Mount Zion and the city of Jerusalem. When we read this Psalm, we get a window into the reverence and affection ancient Jews had for the holy city. Especially at the end of Ps 48, there is a very close connection between the beauty and majesty of the city and the character of God. Imagine, then, the stir it would cause when Jesus (or any other prophet) would proclaim doom for the city or its temple.

Second, I discovered a way we 21st-century Western Christians can latch onto this Psalm -- which otherwise might seem strange and distant. For the psalmist and his readers, the city inspired him to think glorious thoughts of God. As Christians, we do not have a particular city -- not even Jerusalem. Should we look to our church buildings? It's possible to do that. Centuries ago, European Christians built the cathedrals for that reason. But I have never been that enamored with buildings. What, then, can we look to for inspiration?

Basic to New Testament theology is that the people are the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16). We do not need to construct buildings; we are the building. So in NT theology, the people of God function like the city The kinds of thoughts the psalmist had about the city of Jerusalem, we can have about the new building of God -- his people. Seeing things in this way, we can appropriate Ps 48 in a new way. It says,

Walk about Zion, go all around it,
count its towers,
consider well its ramparts,
go through its citadels... (vv. 12-13)

Well, what are the towers, the ramparts, and the citadels of the people of God? Are they not our great heroes and heroines of the faith? We can appropriate Ps 48 by taking a mental walk around the people of God, considering those men and women who have stood tall and strong. Those people point us to God.

Following vv. 12-13 quoted above, the Psalm ends this way:

... that you may tell the next generation
that this is our God,
our God forever and ever.
He will be our guide forever. (vv. 14-15)

Consider the great people of God. Marvel at who they are and what they have done. Why? So you may tell the people of the next generation that they too can trust God.


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