Reading the Word
Psalm 48:1–8 (ESV)
1 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. 3 Within her citadels God has made himself known as a fortress. 4 For behold, the kings assembled; they came on together. 5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic; they took to flight. 6 Trembling took hold of them there, anguish as of a woman in labor. 7 By the east wind you shattered 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, which God will establish forever. Selah
Understanding and Applying the Word
Psalm 48 fits in nicely with the themes of Psalms 46 and 47. In those two previous passages, we read words of praise and confidence in God as King. Here in Psalm 48, the focus is on the city of God, Jerusalem, where the King has placed his name. It is a grand city that causes the cities of the earth to tremble at its strength. God’s presence and the power he has displayed in the past are known to the people.
Verse 8 is the emphasis of the entire psalm. It reads, “As we have heard, so we have seen…” As the people of God had heard about all God had done in the past, they had experienced his greatness in their own lives. Believers today can say the same. We have heard through Scripture of God’s greatness and all that he has done, but we can also say that we have experienced his powerful work in our own lives. He is a great King and his presence brings praise and worship from his people as well as fear and trembling from the nations.
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