Sunday Devotional 23rd October 2022
by Bruce Billington
We are continuing to explore the knowledge of God as expressed in the Psalms. This week we will continue to look at Psalm 48, written by the sons of Korah.
V1 – Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain.
V2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion in the far north, The city of the great King.
V3 – God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold.
There is a lovely song taken from these first two verses, that was very popular in its day. You can find it on YouTube if you want to hear it again – just enter “Great is the Lord.”
How great is our God? Words cannot describe His greatness sufficiently – it is beyond our realms of conception. But we can begin by taking this Psalm in the context it was written by saying that He is great in the deliverance of his people, great in their esteem who are delivered, and great in the hearts of those enemies whom he scatters by their own fears. He is our refuge in all that would take place in this world. He can provide shelter and strength for every situation.
In the New Covenant we can proclaim that Jesus is the great Shepherd; the amazing Saviour and our great High Priest who enables us to enter the presence of the Father with no shame or guilt. These things alone – just a small sampling of who He is, makes Him greatly to be praised.
The Psalmist mentions the city of our God. In the Old Testament times faithful Jews journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts, to offer sacrifices, and to worship. We can just imagine their excitement when, after a long journey, the City of God came into view. As they neared the gates, they would often break into song. Psalm 48 was one of the songs they sang.
Although Jerusalem was undoubtedly a beautiful city in its own right – so were many other cities back in those days. What made Jerusalem so special was that the temple of God was built there. Those who came with such excitement and awe, knew they were not coming to celebrate the city itself – even though it was a consecrated spot that was set apart for the presence, purposes, and people of God and the place where the Ark of the Covenant was placed. The city was holy because God resided there, and it is He, rather than any city, that is altogether holy. The people were coming to His holy mountain (presence) to worship the Great King (V2).
The “joy of the whole earth” may well be looking forward to the day when Jesus Christ will return and rule overall. He will appear out of “Zion” to fill the world with true and everlasting joy.
Verse 3 tells us that God has made Himself known. We do not worship an unknown God – something the Apostle Paul addressed in Acts 17:23. Today we know Him as Abba Father, and He pronounces all those in Christ to be His sons and daughters (John 1:12-13). As such He moulds and shapes us into a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people called out to reveal who He is and to achieve His purposes for each generation.
The more we come to know of Him, the greater our praises of Him should be. Those who know Him will learn to trust Him and to seek Him in all things. The New Covenant took this to even greater depths. We no longer need to go to the temple to worship God. We are now the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we can worship Him in Spirit and in truth anytime and anywhere (1 Corinthians 3:16; John 4:23). This is the true treasure of life. We should never let worldly wealth or anything else come and take the place of the knowledge of the power and grace of God. His glory should always be allowed to shine brighter than all other things we may enjoy in life, as nothing else will connect us with our true purpose in life – and be our reward for all eternity.
God bless you.