Sunday Devotional 30th 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.
V3 – God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold.
V4 – For, lo, the kings assembled themselves, They passed by together.
V5 – They saw it, then they were amazed; They were terrified, they fled in alarm.
V6 – Panic seized them there, Anguish, as of a woman in childbirth.
V7 – With the east wind You break the ships of Tarshish.
V8 – 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 her forever. Selah.
What an amazing statement that we are so grateful for in Verse 3 – God has made Himself known. We can embrace Him as our refuge in distress, delight in Him as such, and run to him in our every time of need. We know nothing or no one else as our refuge. It doesn’t matter who we are, what we have done, or what status we hold in life – we should have no confidence in ourselves but instead, should place all our trust in the Lord Protector, whose well known power is our stronghold.
Passing kings, armies and great warriors came and assembled themselves against God’s people – but they were soon scattered, often in total disarray. Verse 5 says that they were both amazed and terrified and left in a state of panic. The minute the saw that the Lord was in the Holy City, they took to their heels. On confronting the Lord, these so-called great warriors were troubled and hasted away. Their haste in coming was nothing to their hurry in going. Panic seized them; horses were not fleet enough; they would have borrowed the wings of the wind. They fled ignominiously, like children in a fright. Glory be to God, it shall be the same with the foes of His people; when the Lord comes to our help, our enemies shall be as nothing.
Verse 6 tells us that fear took hold of them. Remember these were seasoned warriors that had been very successful in other places and were held in terror in most of the places they went to and plundered. But in this place, they came upon a power like nothing they had known before – the power of the only God and King of all the Universe. Panic seized them and anguish came upon them as of a woman in childbirth.
It is of interest to view the way the Lord did this. Verse 7 tells us that the Lord destroyed those who rose up against Jerusalem with an east wind. Studies of time reveal that an east wind was notorious for its destructiveness and is often used as a symbol for judgment (Job 27:21; Isaiah 27:8; Jeremiah 18:17). Tarshish was the furthest place in the Old Testament world that ships would go. They were the best and mightiest built boats of the times – built to withstand the most extreme shipping conditions (POSB).
The comparison being made here is clear: just as the largest, strongest ships are no match for a great storm, the most powerful armies of the world cannot stand against Israel’s God. The people of Israel witnessed this defence of their beloved capital time and again. Tales of God’s power told by previous generations were confirmed by His continued mighty acts on Jerusalem’s behalf (V8). Here are how the titles for Jerusalem convey God’s relationship to the Holy City (POSB):
- The city of the Lord—God (Elohim), the name that speaks of God’s unlimited power, is prominent throughout the second book of Psalms 42–72). Therefore, when Lord (Yahweh, Jehovah) is used, it is even more significant than usual. Here it emphasises God’s protection of Jerusalem because of His covenant with Israel.
- The city of the Lord of hosts—this name identifies the Lord as the Commander of a mighty army of angels. Scripture records occasions when God dispatched His heavenly troops to defend Israel (2 Kiing 6:15–17; 7:5–7). At times, the Angel of the Lord—Jesus Christ appearing before He came to earth as a man—personally fought for God’s chosen people (Joshua 5:13–15; 2 Kiing 19:35).
- The city of our God—the city where God resided.
So, what should we say about this today? Just as the Hebrews thrilled at the sight of Jerusalem, we should be impacted with what is revealed to us about this brilliant city, which will be the capital of the new heaven and the new earth. Golden streets, jasper walls, bejewelled foundations, pearly gates, and a crystal river are only the beginning of heaven’s glories.
Like the earthly Jerusalem, however, the true beauty of heaven is not because of its sparkling sights but because it is the residence of God. These wonders pale in comparison to God’s radiant presence. This is the very God who we worship and serve, and it is He who watches over us every minute of the day.
What a great God we serve.
God bless you.