Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God. His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. Within its citadels God has shown himself a sure defense.” (Psalm 48:1- 3)
This week we have been taking up the theme of “brief stories” – small vignettes from the Old Testament, the Epistles, and the Gospels. Now here we find ourselves in Psalms. And the story has gotten bigger – as big as the Divine!
“Then the kings assembled, they came on together. As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic, they took to flight; trembling took hold of them there, pains as of a woman in labor, as when an east wind shatters the ships of Tarshish.” (Verses 4 – 7)
The story of the Divine extends back to the beginning of all things, and beyond even that. Our human minds cannot comprehend such a thing!
“As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God, which God establishes forever. Selah We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. Your name, O God, like your praise, reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with victory.” (Verses 8 – 10)
At times I have used pictures when presenting the Psalms, because sometimes words are not enough. What the intellect cannot always take in, the part of our brain that processes pictures is sometime more able to grasp a large scope and understanding. When the psalmist says, “reaches to the ends of the earth” he most probably has in mind the distance to a far horizon and beyond – beyond what his brain understands and what his eyes tell him is an eternal distance.
“Let Mount Zion be glad, let the towns of Judah rejoice because of your judgments. Walk about Zion, go all around it, count its towers, consider well its ramparts; go through its citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will be our guide forever.” (Verses 11 – 14)
Great men, even great kings, know that there is a limit to what one can build; what a group of men can construct and raise up. The psalmist is saying that the Lord God and the City of the Lord God is, according to human standards, larger than anything they have seen. Now, take that image and metaphor, and expand it to what modern man (and woman) is able to build – and still our Lord God and the city of the Lord God would be greater than that!
The story of the Divine is unending, and will go on after any life on the earth has passed away! Selah!