Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Psalm 48 - The Mighty One become the glory of Jerusalem.

The subject of the Mighty One's history is still continued. The Mighty One is king, has entered on his Dominion, is seated on the throne, is ruling in righteousness. But where is his capital? It is at Jerusalem. Here He manifests himself; and by the glory of his presence being shed over that "City of the Great King," brighter than the light of seven days, yet far more mellow and tranquillising than the sweetest hues of evening, Jerusalem becomes
"The joy of the whole earth
(the joy) of the sides of the north" (Jer 6:22)

She has become the joy of earth, far and near, the source of joy to earth's remotest bounds. Now is fulfilled Isaiah 24:23. Now is Jerusalem made "beautiful for situation," or set aloft on its hills in beauty, in another sense than formerly.

Now is Zion exalted above the mountains, and obtains established pre-eminence above the hills.

And if associations are needed to make any place completely interesting, these are not lacking here. Such deeds have been done here, that Sennacherib's overthrow is, in a manner, cast into the shade. The gathered kings of earth came up, "they passed" in all the pomp of battle, and the Lord scattered them' and writes here his "Veni, vidi, vici," to all nations.

"They save!
They marvelled!
They were troubled!
They hasted away!" (v5)

It was as when an east wind hurls the ships of Tarshish on the rocks (v7). It comprised in it all that is recorded as wonderful in the achievements of former days; present events now come fully up to the measure of former good deeds,
As we have heard, so we have seen,
In the city of the Lord of hosts." (v8)

The solemn Selah-pause occurs here; and then we look out on a peaceful scene, God known in all the earth (v10) "you are praised wherever your name is known." or rather now at last you are getting praise worthy of your glorious name.

Zion is glad, Judah's tears are wiped away, while a voice invites all men to come and survey the bulwarks of the city of the Great King, that they may tell it from age to age. The bulwarks are strong, for the Lord's presence, is the wall of fire, on whose battlements the happy citizens walk in security singing:
"This God is our God for ever and ever;
He is our guide even over death." (Tholuck, 'even beyond death')

The last clause is much misunderstood. It is not "Our guide to death" for the words are "shall lead us over death." Surely it means "it is He who leads over death to resurrection" - over Jordan into Canaan. See also Leviticus 15:25 for "beyond" in regard to time. Beyond the time of death! Till death is over for us? Till we have stood upon the grave of death? Yes: He it is who leads us on to this last victory; he swallows up death in victory, and leads us to trample on death.

And so viewed, we easily discern the beautiful link of thought that joins this Psalm to the one which follows. Such is the celebration of The Mighty One become the glory of Jerusalem.

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