Weds 22 September - Psalm 48
1 Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
2 Beautiful in its loftiness,
the joy of the whole earth,
like the heights of Zaphonb]">[b] is Mount Zion,
the city of the Great King.
3 God is in her citadels;
he has shown himself to be her fortress.
4 When the kings joined forces,
when they advanced together,
5 they saw her and were astounded;
they fled in terror.
6 Trembling seized them there,
pain like that of a woman in labor.
7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish
shattered by an east wind.
8 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
9 Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love.
10 Like your name, O God,
your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Mount Zion rejoices,
the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them
to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.
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Meditation on Psalm 48
The opening three Psalms of Book ll (42-44) are prayers. Psalms 42 and 43 are the prayers of an individual, whilst Psalm 44 is the prayer of a whole community.
notice the ‘my’ / ‘I’ of Psalms 42 and 43 and the ‘we’ / ‘us’ of Psalm 44.
Now we come to the next three – Psalms 46-48 - which remind us that the people of God are completely safe when all around there are threats from all quarters.
Psalm 46 celebrates the security of Jerusalem as the city of God and His people within it. The opening verse gives us such confidence: ‘God IS our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.’
This Psalm is related to Psalm 48 in that it celebrates the security of the ‘city of the great King.’
Notice the heading of these Psalms – ‘For the director of music’ and a song’.
These may well have been sung by the Levitical choir on behalf of the worshippers. Remember that the ‘sons of Korah’ refer to the Levitical choir which David ‘put in charge of the of the music in the house of the LORD.’ 1 Chronicles 6:31
It’s not surprising that many of the Psalms have given rise to some of the great hymns being sung today.
Psalm 46 was the inspiration for Martin Luther’s hymn ‘A mighty fortress is our God’ and Psalm 48 was the inspiration for the hymn:
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise,
the city of our God, the holy place,
the joy of the whole Earth.
Great is the Lord in whom we have the victory,
he aids us against the enemy,
we bow down on our knees.
And Lord, we want to lift your name on high,
and Lord, we want to thank you,
for the works you’ve done in our lives;
and Lord, we trust in your unfailing love,
for you alone are God eternal,
throughout Earth and Heaven above.
Verses 1-3 and 14 This is our God
The Psalm is ‘topped and tailed’ with this great theme of who the LORD is:
- He is great
- He is worthy of praise
- He is the fortress of His people
- He is OUR God
- He is our guide TO THE END
The people of God are secure and safe wherever they are. Even in the midst of trouble and persecution God is there, even if we are not always aware of His presence.
See how Job responds when he cries out, ‘If only I knew where I might find Him.’ He then looks north, south, east, west and cries out, ‘He’s not there; I do not find Him; ‘I do not see Him’; I catch no glimpse of Him.’ Job 23:3-9
The Psalmist counters that with his testimony – Psalm 139:7-10 – ‘…you are there…’; ‘…you are there…’; ‘even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.’
God will never let us down, even the going is tough.
Verses 4-7 These are our enemies
Here we see the futility of those who would oppose God and oppose His people. Whilst they may seem to be winning the battle, they will not win the final war.
They tried and failed as they came to attack the city of our God.
They fled in panic.
They were destroyed.
And, looking ahead, they will be finally destroyed when the Great King comes back for His people.
Verses 8-13 The reason for our praise
‘We meditate on your UNFAILING LOVE’
‘We tell the next generation’
As an aide to worship, read through Psalm 47 and focus on ‘The LORD Most High’
GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME.
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