The City of Our God is the dominating theme of this fourteen verse Psalm given to ‘the sons of Korah’ who were of the tribe of Levi, the priestly family of Israel. In (v.1-8) Zion’s or Jerusalem’s characteristics are set forth. Then in (v.9-11) Praising God in the Temple on Mount Zion is recorded with (v.12-14) emphasizing Four Exhortations of Zion.
‘Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness.’ (v.1) This brief but powerful exaltation of the LORD shows the heightened emphasis of praise when accomplished in Jerusalem with the dominating focus on His holiness which is His essence regulating all other attributes of God.
‘Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.’ (v.2). This expression of the Psalmists describes Jerusalem’s glorious elevation, it’s impact upon the people of the world, identified as the venerable peak of Zion, with ‘the sides of the north’ indicating the abode of God (Isaiah 14:13), and finally looking forward to the coming King of kings the Lord Jesus Christ.
‘God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled and hasted away. Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail. Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind. 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 it for ever. Selah.’
This most lengthy division of the Psalm sheds much light on how Jerusalem was viewed in it’s glory days by those who passed through it’s streets. The marveling, troubling, hasty, fearful and pained responses indicate the awe with which this great city inspired. The title ‘LORD of hosts’ always refers to the God of the armies of heaven verifying Who it was that elicited these kind of responses in those who viewed His earthly dwelling place. Again, the title is given, The City of Our God, and the promise follows of the eternal existence of this ‘the great city’ of the Revelation.
This brings us to the second major section of this Psalm (v.9-11) Praising God in the Temple of Zion: ‘We have thought of Thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of Thy temple. According to Thy name, O God,so is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth: Thy right hand is full of righteousness. Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad because of Thy judgments.’
The emphasis here is on the God of heaven as He is brought to mind ‘in the midst of Thy temple.’ His name brings forth universal praise, His ‘right hand’ the position of rule and authority ‘is full of righteousness’ setting off a powerful chorus of rejoicing from the temple mount, with the ‘daughters of Judah’, one of the two tribes connected to the city of our God with the other being ‘little Benjamin’, is the chosen tribe of royalty encouraged to ‘be glad because of Thy judgments’.
Then in (v.12-14) Four Exhortations of Zion are given: ‘Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our Guide even unto death.’
These commands to those who are listening focus upon close examination of the different segments of the city so that the information concerning The City of Our God can be passed on to the next generation. The towers, the bulwarks, her palaces are mentions referring to the military prowess and the great splendor of this great city of it’s day.
The closing statement draws the parallel of this great city to our great and powerful God Who also glorious and of great power and eternal, and will continue to be our Good Shepherd Who will direct our paths all the way into the doorway of heaven
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