Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Apr 28 2019 - Psalm 48 – God most worthy of our praise

Great, is the Lord and most worthy of praise
The city of our God, the Holy place
The Joy of the whole world.

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 work 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.

This song we used to sing some years ago reflects the thoughts and words of Psalm 48. The city of Jerusalem was not just another city to the Israelites, it was "the city of the Lord Almighty… the city of our God" (v.8). It was the place where God had chosen to make his dwelling amongst his people, the place of the Temple and of Temple worship. It was also a powerful symbol of the way in which God had fulfilled all his promises and had given his people victory over all their enemies. The fortified city had previously been occupied by the Jebusites and had seemed almost impossible to capture. But God had enabled David to seize the city and make it the capital of his kingdom.

And so the city became a symbol of the way in which all the earth would one day bow before the living God and come to worship the God who reigns in Zion (another name for the mountain on which Jerusalem was built). It would then be "the joy of the whole earth" (v.2. See Isaiah 2:2-5 for a beautiful picture of the day when this hope would be fulfilled and would bring peace on earth).

The song we used to sing rightly applies Psalm 48 to us as Christians; "Great, is the Lord in whom we have the victory". In Christ, God has given us the victory over sin and death and has made us children of the living God and members of his kingdom.

At the end of the book of Revelation, John sees, "the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband" (Revelation 21:2). This city is a symbol of God's redeemed people from every nation and people of the world. They are the redeemed people of God who will live in his glorious presence for all eternity, "Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God." (Revelation 21:3)

Psalm 48 speaks of the glory of God's holy city (vv.12-13) and the delight of God's people who go up to meet with him there and worship him (v.1). The psalmist declares, "Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love." We also are filled with wonder at God's unfailing love towards us in the Lord Jesus Christ, wonder that he has been pleased to include us in his family:

Saviour, if of Zion's city
I, through grace, a member am,
Let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in thy Name:
Fading is the worldling's pleasure,
All his boasted pomp and show;
Solid joys and lasting treasure
None but Zion's children know.  

Peter Misselbrook