Psalm 48 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
In this psalm the writer closely associates the glory of God with the glory of Jerusalem because that is where the temple was located on Mt. Zion; it is where the Ark of the Covenant, which represented the very presence of God, rested. Just as the heavens manifest the glory of God each day, so the holy city in Jerusalem manifested God’s greatness, his beauty, and his strength. In vv.4-7, the psalmist seems to describe a time in which foreigners tried to attack the city of Jerusalem and were dispelled not by the Israelites but by the Lord himself showing himself to be the fortress of God’s people. Reflecting on this miraculous event by the very hand of God, the psalmist assures his audience that God will establish the city of Zion forever.
Of course, we know that the earthly city of Jerusalem did not last forever; it was destroyed on more than one occasion. Even the temple itself was destroyed and the Ark of the Covenant was lost, thus the Holy Spirit speaking through the psalmist must be referring ultimately to the spiritual city of Zion rather than the physical one in this regard. In the New Testament, Paul clearly identifies those who believe in the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles, as the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19), and Peter describes us as a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation.” So the glory that once was manifested in the physical temple in Jerusalem is now seen in the Church of God around the world. And the apostle Paul makes that same assurance of the Church that the Psalmist did concerning Mt. Zion saying in Ephesians 3:21 “to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Therefore, the Church now has taken up the testimony of God and reflects God’s glory to the nations. It is now the Church that is elevated in beauty as the Bride of Christ. It is the Church that is the joy of all the earth. God is her fortress and refuge against the forces of darkness. Even the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. That is why we gather together as a church each week to rejoice over God’s judgments and to be glad in the Lord, sharing our testimony with each other and sharing the gospel with all who have ears to hear it. Just as the psalmist reveled in the temple and enjoyed walking all around it marveling at its beauty, so God’s people who are filled with His Spirit, love God’s Church and love telling the next generation that this God is our God forever and ever.
John Newton’s classic hymn “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken,” says it better than I can, so I’ll leave you with these words:
Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God; He, whose word cannot be broken, formed thee for His own abode. On the Rock of Ages founded, what can shake thy sure repose? With salvation’s walls surrounded, thou may’st smile at all thy foes. See, the streams of living waters, Springing from eternal love, well supply thy sons and daughters, and all fear of want remove: Who can faint, while such a river ever flows their thirst to assuage? Grace which, like the Lord, the giver, never fails from age to age. Saviour, if in Zion’s city I, through grace, a member am, let the world deride or pity, I will glory in Thy name: Fading is the sinner’s pleasure, all his boasted pomp and show; solid joys and lasting treasure none but Zion’s children know.