“O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the works thy hands have made… How great thou art!” (Carl Gustav Boberg, 1859–1940; tr. Stuart K. Hine, 1899–1989).
Read Psalm 48
A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah.
1 Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
2 Beautiful in its loftiness,
the joy of the whole earth,
like the heights of Zaphon[b] is Mount Zion,
the city of the Great King.
3 God is in her citadels;
he has shown himself to be her fortress.
4 When the kings joined forces,
when they advanced together,
5 they saw her and were astounded;
they fled in terror.
6 Trembling seized them there,
pain like that of a woman in labor.
7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish
shattered by an east wind.
8 As we have heard,
so we have seen
in the city of the Lord Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure
9 Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love.
10 Like your name, O God,
your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Mount Zion rejoices,
the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them
to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.
a Psalm 48:1 In Hebrew texts 48:1-14 is numbered 48:2-15.
b Psalm 48:2 Zaphon was the most sacred mountain of the Canaanites.
c Psalm 48:8 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever been delivered or rescued? How did it make you feel?
Unusually for war films, Dunkirk portrays a deliverance not a victory. Similarly, this psalm is about deliverance (4–7). The danger has passed, the enemy has fled and there is no need to dread. How have you experienced deliverance?
More important than celebrating deliverance, however, is recognizing its source. Yes, Mount Zion is beautiful (2), secure (8) and above all holy (1), but why? Because God is there, it’s “the city of the Great King” (2)! Whether you see this or not depends of course on your starting point. What the attackers saw terrified them (5). What God’s people saw was history repeated (8). God’s action wasn’t just historical—now they had seen it for themselves.
So what should we do with our own experiences of deliverance? First, meditate on them and what they tell us about God (9); too often we rush on to the next thing without giving God praise. Then revisit them in our imagination (12,13), fixing the memory so that we can share it (13). Above all we can celebrate the fact that the God who did all of this is also our God (14)!
What has God done in your life that you can tell “to the next generation” (13)? Can you do something today about telling that story?
Lord God, show me who You are today through Your works. Thank You for Your deliverance. I praise You for who You are.
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