The sons of Korah seem particularly thrilled about the “holy mountain” -- “Mount Zion . . . the city of the great King. Within her citadels God has made himself known as a fortress” (Ps 48:2,3). They instruct God’s people: “Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels” (Ps 48:12,13). I was thinking about all this . . . Jerusalem was a great city, no doubt. But there were other cities as great and full of splendor as Jerusalem; in fact, there were cities even greater and more magnificent. But Jerusalem was special and unique. What made her so unique? It was the presence of God!
Following the instruction to walk around Jerusalem and note its splendor, the writer adds: “that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever” (Ps 48:13,14). It’s not that the stones and timbers are, in some sort of pantheistic manner, actually God. Rather, it is here that God presents himself before his people and calls them to a very special relationship with him.
It’s not where we live, but the one in whom we live, that makes all the difference. The people of God, along with the Psalmist, are able to testify: “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life” (Ps 54:4). Because God is with us, we are joyful and full of praise.
Glorious things of you are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
he whose word cannot be broken
formed you for his own abode.
On the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake your sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded,
you may smile at all your foes. -- John Newton (1779)