Continuing through the bible chronologically and working through the Psalms aligned with I Chronicles and the assigned gatekeepers, the Sons of Korah. This is the third of three Psalms (46-48) that is supposed to have written by King Hezekiah.
Psalm 48 (NIV Chronological)
- a song
- A pslam of the Sons of Korah
This is a really interesting psalm. It praises God by praising Jerusalem and Mt. Zion. To me, it comes across like a patriot anthem to their nation; but with all glory for its success and strength coming from God- not the nation in and of itself.
In verse one it opens by praising God, "in the city of our God, His holy mountain."
In verses 2-3 it celebrates her beauty because of her heights. The author states that "God is in her citadels; He has shown Himself to be her fortress."
Then in verses 4-7 the author provides evidence for that assertion:
- In times when kings joined forced and advanced on her (the city/mountain) they were astounded by her and fled in terror.
- Trembling seized them
- God destroyed them like broken ships.
Verse 8 reiterates the message, it's HIS city and He will make it secure Forever. My guess is referring to Christ's kingdom.
It makes me think of the Six Days War and other attempts the Arab nations around Israel have made to wipe them out. There were so many miraculous events before and during the invasion that it's tough to NOT see God.
How much more when Jesus returns!
Verse 9 transitions to the topic of the Temple and the Sons of Korah meditating on God's unfailing love.
That seems like a strange transition. But it explains 'why', why God can be counted on to protect This city; This mountain. He isn't Zeus who has a mountain just for vanities sake. He is the Creator and redeemer of the world. It is because of His Love for us, all of us, that it has to start and end here. Verse 10 tells us that His name reaches all of the earth. He has a plan.
The second half of verse 10 and verse 11 explain God's righteousness and judgement.
Then in verse 12 we transition back to speaking of Zion and her military strengths. Encouraging the listener to view them and tell the next generation- This God is our God and He will be our guide until the end.
It can be tricky when you intertwine nationalism and religion. I often see on Facebook posts that conflate America and God. Sometimes it's a beautiful sentiment of our being a nation founded in Him and enriched by Him. Like Israel, the victories and blessings we have accumulated can only be considered miraculous blessing from God.
However, there is also a warning in this psalm. While Mt. Zion has remained, those people were dispersed, only to have returned in any large numbers in the last century. The Lord will complete His plan. Jesus will return and rule forever; however, no nation, no people, no person should mistake that to mean that the Lord is going to do it their way or for their reasons. He's going to do it because He loves us and He will redeem us for His glory- not for the glory of any temporary person or place.
Psalm 48 (Ryrie NASB Study Bible)
Although the wording varies a bit, the meanings and insights seem the same to me. Nothing earth-shatteringly different.
Psalm 48 (Wiersbe Commentary)
As mentioned above, this is the third of three Psalms (46-48) that is supposed to have written by King Hezekiah when Lord God Jehovah brought victory for Israel against the Assyrians.
We are citizens of the eternal Zion. That is our city and our citizenship. We can sing this song in confidence of our eternal future with Jesus as our King.
Wiersbe states that there are various speakers dealing with four topics:
- God and their City (v 1-3)- The city is great because of God. In His grace, He chose Zion.
- God and their enemies (v 4-7)- now they transition to speaking to the Lord in recognition that he heard their cry (with help from the prophet Isaiah). They had heard of it about the Egyptians; but saw it themselves with the Assyrians.
- God and their worship(v 8-11)- word of the victory spread and pilgrims came to the Temple to meditate on their God. That's how the gospel should spread.
- God and their future (v 12+)-After the pilgrims left the Temple they were guided through the city to see the citadels and ramparts for themselves; while being cautioned that God was the city's actual protection. They were to tell future generations about the Lord and HE would be their guide.