Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. The blue building with the gold dome is the Dome of the Rock, the third most sacred mosque in Islam. The pointed tower at the far left is the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City. The gray dome about in the middle is Holy Sepulchre, or as the eastern Christians call it, the Church of the Resurrection. Tall buildings in the background are in the new city of Jerusalem.
Psalm 48 (NIV)
The City of the Great King
1 Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
Great is the LORD: He is great indeed.
· He is greater: For God is greater than man (Job 33:12).
· He is greatest of all: For the LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods (Psalm 95:3).
· He is greatness itself: His greatness is unsearchable (Psalm 145:3).
2 It is beautiful in its loftiness,
the joy of the whole earth.
Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion,
the city of the Great King.
Ultimately, this is what makes Jerusalem wonderful. There are cities with better natural resources and more natural beauty. Yet there is only one city of the great King, the King of kings.
3 God is in her citadels;
he has shown himself to be her fortress.
The Jerusalem Citadel, also known as the Tower of David, is located just south of Jaffa Gate on the western side of the Old City. Its location is the highest point of the city, higher even than the Temple Mount. There have been fortifications here for over twenty centuries, protecting and defending the city.
4 When the kings joined forces,
when they advanced together,
5 they saw her and were astounded;
they fled in terror.
“In Hebrew the words are similar to the well-known report of Julius Caesar about his victories in Gaul: Veni, vidi, vici (‘I came, I saw, I conquered’). Only here the kings did not conquer; the fled from the city in terror. The verbs literally say: ‘They saw [Jerusalem is implied]; they were dumbfounded; they were overwhelmed; they fled in panic.’ The fast pace of the language captures the confusion and fearful flight.”
–James Montgomery Boice
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 have we seen
in the city of the LORD Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure forever.
Do we speak enough of the faithfulness of our Lord? Do we share with our friends and family what God has done for us today? We are always ready to discuss the problems and problem people around us — do we eagerly also share the joy, the kindness, the grace of the Lord in our lives?
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.
the walls of Jerusalem
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.
And so the city fades from view, and we see God alone. God! — the one who is enough.
from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw
“For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.”
In the Hebrew language, the future is behind a person and not out in front. Instead of striding confidently into the future, the Hebrews talked about stumbling backward into it. We can see the past, but we cannot see the future, and we can never tell exactly where our foot will land. Isn’t this an accurate description of life’s uncertainties? Christ asks us to put our hand in his because he can see the future as well as the past. He is the one who transcends time’s boundaries. He is the Lord of tomorrow as much as he is the Lord of today and yesterday. He can see exactly where each footstep will go. It is never irrational for us to put our hand in the hand of God. In fact, it is the only rational choice for us, considering our vantage point in life. If we choose to go alone, we will most certainly back into something destructive.
As a Christian you do not know what the future hold, but you do know who holds your hand. If you get ready to put your foot down in the wrong place, he will stop you and nudge you in another direction. He will shift your direction often, and as you look back on the way he has led, you will find that he has never guided you into a dead-end street or into a destructive situation. When your hand is in his and you come to the end of the way, you will be able to say, “I never lost a day.”
The essence of being a Christian is putting your hand in the hand of Christ and turning your back on any rights to the direction of your life. Your future becomes his, and he leads you.
Using the opening phrases from verses 1 and 2, HERE is “Great is our Lord.” The song continues with praise and thanks to God!
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