Psalm 48 — The Beauty of Zion — Reading the Psalms


A Song; a Psalm of the sons of Korah.

1 Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised,
In the city of our God, in his holy mountain.
2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth,
Is mount Zion, on the sides of the north,
The city of the great King.
3 God hath made himself known in her palaces for a refuge.
4For, lo, the kings assembled themselves,
They passed by together.
5 They saw it, then were they amazed;
They were dismayed, they hasted away.
6 Trembling took hold of them there;
Pain, as of a woman in travail.
7 With the east wind
Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen
In the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God:
God will establish it for ever.    Selah
9 We have thought on thy lovingkindness, O God,
In the midst of thy temple.
10 As is thy name, O God,
So is thy praise unto the ends of the earth:
Thy right hand is full of righteousness.
11 Let mount Zion be glad,
Let the daughters of Judah rejoice,
Because of thy judgements.
12 Walk about Zion, and go round about her:
Tell the towers thereof.
13 Mark ye welt her bulwarks,
Consider her palaces;
That ye may tell it to the generation following.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever:
He will be our guide even unto death.

Another psalm of the sons of Korah that lifts our hearts into excitement for God and his works. God is praised for his great city, made for his people and his habitation. The psalm wants us to consider and praise this aspect of God’s work.

Elevated and high, protected and sound, Zion’s prominence is the opening idea of the psalm. God made himself known there and made her a place of refuge. Any enemy would easily recognize her strength; they would react in fear before her. This, all because of the power and strength of the Lord.

God’s lovingkindness and presence in the midst of Zion is what made it the special place it was. A God with righteousness in his right hand and sound judgments ready for proclamation ruled this city. The psalm encouraged its audience to walk and see the power exhibited in the city’s strength.

How then could such a city fall? It fell more than once. While this psalm does not answer that question, it does point out an essential idea. Refusing to acknowledge or recognize God’s influence and founding power in the city was foolish. Refusing to recognize God’s founding power in your own life is foolish, too. The whole point of the psalm is to get us to think about God being at the root of all things good. Just as it says in Psalm 127, Except the Lord build the house, they that labor labor in vain.


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