June 22, 2015

Tom Lowe





(A psalm for the sons of Korah)


Theme: Messiah’s final victory upon the earth.



Psalm 48 (KJV)

1 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.

2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

3 God is known in her palaces for a refuge.

4 For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.

5 They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.

6 Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.

7 Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.

8 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.

9 We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.

10 According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand full of righteousness.

11 Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.

13 Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.




Because of the close association of Jerusalem with the worship at its temple, some of the psalmists express the feelings of the worshippers toward the holy city.  Such psalms are designated “songs of Zion” (137:3; Isaiah 26:1; 27:2-5; Jeremiah 31:23).  Among them are included the hymns sung or recited by the pilgrims who came up to Jerusalem and who joined in the sacred festivals (psalms 84; 87; 122; 126), for to Jews who could rarely or only once in a lifetime make the pilgrimage, the stones and even the dust of the city were dear to them (102:14), and long journeys through deserts or across seas served to heighten their feelings of wonder toward the place where God dwelt.  Psalm 48 is to be classed as one of these pilgrim hymns. This is also the last of the group of three millennial songs.  It celebrates the final and complete victory of the Messiah.


The psalm is the work of an eyewitness, probably either the king or Isaiah the prophet.  We can hardly imagine the relief of the Jewish people when they discovered that miraculously, overnight, the dreaded foe was no more.  We have no trouble drawing the obvious parallel between the exultation of the people here and of the sighs of relief which will ascend to God in fervent thanksgiving in a coming day when the armies of the beast are one by one overthrown.  We are not surprised to detect in this psalm prophetic overtones which carry us forward to the coming threat and destruction of Jerusalem and extermination of the nation, to the return of Christ and the deliverance of Israel from the horrors of the Great Tribulation.


In a Christian frame of reference, Zion stands as a type of the Church, the “city of God” (Hebrews 12:18-24).  What is said about Zion as the site of Israel’s Temple is true of the spiritual temple which is the Church (Ephesians 2:20-22; 1 Peter 2:5-8). Believers today are citizens of the Zion that is above (Galatians 4:21-31; Hebrews 12:18-24; Philippians 3:20) and rejoice that the Lord cares for us even as He cared for His ancient people Israel.


Two major lines of interpretation have been given this psalm.  It has been understood in the context of some historical event such as the deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrian assault of Sennacherib recorded in 2 Kings 18-19 and Isaiah 36-37.  Sennacherib did not doubt for a moment that, given the formidable Assyrian army, the conquest of Jerusalem was a foregone conclusion.  Hezekiah could not win.  The Assyrian army was well versed in the siege and sacking of cities. Sennacherib, however, like all would-be world conquerors, reckoned without including God.  The other interpretation has to do with the destruction of the confederacy in the days of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20).  Either event may have been in the psalmist mind; but, this commentary will consider only the Assyrian assault of Sennacherib.


Since Zion is presented as “THE JOY OF THE WHOLE EARTH,” Psalm 48 has also been given an eschatological[1] interpretation, indicating Zion’s place in the future kingdom of the Messiah.





1 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.

2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

3 God is known in her palaces for a refuge.


As the pilgrim approaches Jerusalem from the east over the hump of MOUNT Olivet, suddenly, towering beautifully before him, he sees MOUNT ZION.  When this psalm was written, Semitic mythology had already begun to lend its own color to history so that actual ZION and mythological ZION merge. The alabaster throne of the Lord was mythologically conceived as being set upon the summit of the loftiest (reaching to heaven) of seven holy mountains.  Knowledge of this mythical mountain came from the Babylonians.  The assembly of the gods was viewed as taking place in the extreme parts of the NORTH (Isaiah 14:13-14[2]).  Yet to the psalmist this holy residence of his great God was in MOUNT ZION, where the Lord had demonstrated His protective presence and power.  We feel the psalmists’ overflowing love and reverence for Jerusalem that he expresses in these verses.


The significance of the word ZION grew and developed over the centuries.

(a)    ZION was where the temple and the royal palace stood, that is to say, on it was to be found the seat both of government and of divine worship.

(b)   Later on, ZION became a poetic name for the people of Israel themselves.

(c)    Still later, after they were driven from Jerusalem in 587 B.C. by the Babylonian conquerors, ZION became the theological name for the whole land of Israel.

(d)   Among Christians the name ZION came to be used for the whole People of God.

(e)    Sometimes the name was used even for the little local church building which one attended Sunday after Sunday.

(f)    But in the churches liturgy ZION came to be used as the name of the heavenly city!


GREAT IS THE LORD, not the city (47:9), for in His grace, the LORD chose ZION (78:68[3]; 132:13). He is worthy, AND GREATLY TO BE PRAISED IN THE CITY OF OUR GOD, IN THE MOUNTAIN OF HIS HOLINESS. The city referred to is Jerusalem.  ZION was the heart and center of the holy city, which clustered around its northern slopes.  The Church is the city of God now, in which He dwells and is known for being a REFUGE.  The grandest PALACE without God is no REFUGE for the weary, hunted soul.  But a hovel becomes a PALACE if God is known and loved there.


The Lord is inexpressibly GREAT.  He is great in power, in knowledge, in glory, and in grace.  His love is GREAT, and His mercy, and His compassion.  He is GREAT in wisdom and in knowledge.  His judgments are unsearchable (mysterious) and His ways unfathomable.  Because God is so GREAT, He is GREATLY TO BE PRAISED.  He is worthy to be praised as the GREAT Creator, the GREAT Sustainer, the GREAT Prophet, the GREAT High Priest, the King of all kings, the GREAT Redeemer, and the GREAT Deliverer of His people.  Here in Psalm 48 His greatness as the Savior and Protector of His city and His people is especially in view. 


The Jews saw Jerusalem as a BEAUTIFUL city (50:2[4]), a safe fortress and “THE JOY OF THE WHOLE EARTH,” but listen to what God says in Limitations 2:15—“All who pass your way clap their hands [a gesture expressive of exultation and joy] at you; they scoff and shake their heads [a gesture of contempt and derision. See Matthew 27:39, the same as "Wagging their heads."] at Daughter Jerusalem: “Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?” The earth is covered with deformity because of man’s sin, therefore, that spot of ground which was beautified with holiness can rightfully be called “THE JOY OF THE WHOLE EARTH”; that which the whole earth has reason to rejoice in, that God would choose to dwell with man upon the earth.  Spiritually speaking, the city has brought JOY to all the EARTH because outside its walls Jesus died for the sins of the world; and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was first preached in Jerusalem.  Happy is the kingdom, the city, the family, the heart, in which God is great, in which He is uppermost, in which He is all.  There GOD IS KNOWN and where He is KNOWN He will be GREAT; no one hates God except those that are ignorant of Him.  


MOUNT ZION, unlike THE MOUNTAIN where the mystical Greek gods lived and directed men’slives,is an actual place. David took MOUNT ZION from the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5:6-9; 2 Chronicles 11:4-7) and made Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom.  Ideally situated and 2500 feet above sea level, the city was almost impregnable.  Not far away was the juncture of the north-south and east-west trade routes, important for the economy and for communication.  David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and this made ZION a “holy MOUNTAIN,” for the Lord dwelt there (2:6; 3:4; 15:11; 43:3; 99:9). It is the place appointed for the solemn service and worship of God; there He is greatly praised, AND GREATLY TO BE PRAISED.


Out of all the cities of Israel, the Lord chose to put His name on Jerusalem.  He said kinder things about ZION than he ever said about any other place on earth: “For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling, saying, ‘This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it’” (Psalm 132:13-14).  It is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING, the King of all the earth, who is pleased to declare Himself present there, in a special manner.  Our Savior quotes these verses two prove that to swear by Jerusalem is sacrilegiously to swear by God himself (Matthew 5:35) [We are not to swear by God or by His name or by heaven above.], “For it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING, who has chosen it for the special residence of His grace, as Heaven is of His glory.


ON THE SIDES OF THE NORTH, is an interesting expression.  It probably refers to a way of ascent to Heaven and decent to the earth.  There is a remarkable prophecy in Isaiah which mentions Satan in connection with THE SIDES OF THE NORTH; “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14).  The SIDES OF THE NORTH is apparently the route Satan actually hoped to follow to overthrow God! Some Bible commentators, however, have noted that this expression refers to the Temple hill, while others believe it refers to the place where Assyrian mythology placed the house of the gods (Isaiah 14:38; Ezekiel 38:6; 39:2).  The ancients believed the north to be the highest part of the earth (Isaiah 14:13).


One day in the future, Jerusalem, THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING, will be the center of Christ’s glorious kingdom—“In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it” (Isaiah 2:2, NIV).  THE GREAT KING is one of Yahweh’s titles (47:2; 95:3; Malachi 1:14; Matthew 5:35).  The psalmist sets Zion above all other sacred places in the world, and what he claims for it has the seal of God’s approval for God has shown himself to be a sure defender of His city.


Because the psalm may be interpreted as relating to the deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrian assault of Sennacherib, it should be pointed out that Jerusalem is not like other cities.  It is not like Athens, Carthage, or Rome, cities of the Greeks, the Romans, and the Phoenicians.  Jerusalem is the CITY OF GOD.  That was the key factor a would-be conqueror had to consider.  If God was for that city, who could be against it?  The only reason the Babylonians and the Romans in later years would be able to take it was because God had abandoned it.


Jerusalem was a tough proposition for any army, however seasoned.  It could be approached only from the north; on the east, south, and west it was surrounded by deep valleys, some of them steep and precipitous.  The towering walls of the city added even greater height, so any attack on Jerusalem from these directions presented significant problems.  Jerusalem crowned the highest table land in the country.  It was indeed a mountain city.  The difficult terrain, however, while an obstacle to an invading army, was not an insurmountable one.  Jerusalem has, in fact, been successfully besieged again and again.  Its true line of defense is not in its terrain, but in God.


Take, for instance, the fall of Jerusalem in the days of the Romans.  The Jews, having topped all their other national apostasies by murdering their Messiah, persisted in their rejection of Him by spurning the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  The temple veil had been rent, signifying that God had repudiated what Paul calls “the Jews religion,” but the sacrifices and services went on as though nothing had happened.  Again, however, the Temple was an empty shell, so when the Romans came the city had no defense.  The defenders fought valiantly to save Jerusalem but their doom was sealed.


In Hezekiah’s day, however, it was different.  Israel’s first line of defense was still God; “GREAT IS THE LORD, AND GREATLY TO BE PRAISED IN THE CITY OF OUR GOD, IN THE MOUNTAIN OF HIS HOLINESS.” That MOUNTAIN, of course, was Mount Moriah where the temple stood and where God still sat enthroned.  The Assyrians failed to take into account THE MOUNTAIN OF HIS HOLINESS.  That was a MOUNTAIN no Assyrian army could take.  Whatever is the subject of our praises, God must be both the Alpha and the Omega of them.  And, particularly, whatever is said to the honor of the church must resound to the honor of the church’s God, for He is GREATLY TO BE PRAISED


The Assyrian king, Sennacherib, boasted of his title, “THE GREAT KING.” But there is a greater King than him, and that King was the One who defended Jerusalem.  MOUNT ZION was immediately to the south of Mount Moriah.  It was the site of the old Jebusite stronghold, considered to be so impregnable that it could be defended by the blind and the lame.  Its real impregnability lay in the fact that it had become “THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING.” Jerusalem is the CITY OF OUR GOD; no other city on earth renders Him due honor except the citizens of the spiritual Jerusalem.


GOD IS KNOWN to His people byexperiencing, throughout their long history, the manifestations of His power and His provision, and to all neighboring nations by their own observation.  GOD IS KNOWN to be A REFUGE, under whose shadow we are safer and more secure, than other cities are with their great rivers and impregnable fortifications.


Hezekiah was not trusting in the massive might of the city walls, nor in the awesome ramparts of the city’s towers, nor in the secret water supply he had secured for the city.  He was trusting in God, for God was not only known in her streets, GOD IS KNOWN IN HER PALACES FOR A REFUGE.  There, in Hezekiah’s lavish palace, he and his friend Isaiah would ponder the latest news from the north, take into account the assessments from the military of the fearful strength of the foe, and note that this city and that had fallen.  Then he would take it to the Lord in prayer.


That must have worried Sennacherib.  Never before had he been up against a foe like this—a foe who weighed all the facts, who came to the logical conclusion that he was no match for the invader, yet who came to the equally illogical conclusion that the Assyrian was powerless because God was his foe’s refuge.  Hezekiah sent Sennacherib one simple message: “In God we trust.” It must have been disturbing to the foe.  For it was well known, even among the heathen, that Judah’s God was not like any other god.  He did strange and marvelous things.  He had drowned Pharaoh and his chariots in the midst of the sea; He had knocked flat with a trumpet blast the white walls of Jericho.  Hebrew history was strangely interwoven with the supernatural.  It was a disturbing fact.  It worried the enemy so much, in fact, that he actually sent Hezekiah a message telling him not to trust in God because he had made war on the gods before, and won.  It was typical bravado such as we face today when dealing with Russia and Islamic terrorists who have taken Assyria’s place on the stage of history.



4 For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.

5 They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.

6 Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.

7 Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.


If the first three verses reflect the feelings of a pilgrim at his first sight of the city, the next four shows us how he is moved by the evidences of its endurance from age to age through God’s miraculous deliverances.


The citizens of Jerusalem had been speaking about the Lord, but now they speak to the Lord about what He did to the Assyrians.  King Sennacherib and his huge army, plus the vassal Kings of his empire (Isaiah 10:8), surrounded Jerusalem and hoped to capture it, however, Sennacherib had other problems to deal with at the same time.  The Assyrian army was already engaged in trying to subdue nearby Lachish, evidently another strong city.  Worse still, Sennacherib had heard rumors that Tirhakah, the third and last Ethiopian Pharaoh of Egypt, was advancing against him. Sennacherib’s ultimate goal, of course, was the conquest of Asia.  But he was far too astute a general to march on into Egypt, leaving in his wake an uncaptured city so well fortified as Jerusalem.


Eventually the Assyrians sent a strong detachment of the army from Lachish under the leadership of Rabshakeh, hoping that this golden-tongued orator, backed by the evident might of the Assyrian war machine, would persuade the Jews to surrender.  The Assyrians never did understand what they were up against in the person of the living to God.  God was no more intimidated by the size of the Assyrian army than He is today by the extent of the terrorist threat.


King Hezekiah, with the help of Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 14:24-27), turned to the Lord for help, and He came to their rescue (Isaiah 36-37).  The Lord fought for Israel just as He had fought against the Egyptians (Exodus 14:25).  God sent his angel to the Assyrian camp and he killed 185,000 men.  The judgment came suddenly like the “PAIN . . . OF A WOMAN IN TRAVAIL, and the destruction was like that of a storm shattering a fleet of ships (Ezekiel 27:26).  Sennacherib reigned on for a number of years and fought more wars, but never again did he invade Judea or try to conquer Jerusalem.


The psalmist has heard over and over again how the Lord had protected Zion from capture by the Assyrian King, Sennacherib, in the days of Hezekiah and Isaiah (Isaiah 36-37).  Past generations have recounted the great acts of God in their days, but the psalmist and his fellow worshipers have seen for themselves (in experience and in the liturgy of the temple) the greatness of God’s power.  God’s saving acts are a reflection of His covenant love for Israel. 


God’s control of natural forces is such that He “BREAKS THE SHIPS OF TARSHISH WITH AN EAST WIND” (1 Kings 22:48; Jonah 1:3-16); i.e., the terror which seized Israel’s foes was comparable in its destructiveness to the EAST WIND which was dangerous to the SHIPS OF TARSHISH, which were the largest and most seaworthy vessels of Old Testament times, and were engaged in trade with Tartessus in Spain.


The word for “WIND” generally used in the Old Testament is also the usual word for “spirit.” It occurs 389 times and is translated “spirit” in 237 passages.  The root idea running through all the passages (whether the word means “WIND” or “spirit”) is that of an invisible force which may be exerted in varying forms and manifested in different ways.  The word always represents that which is invisible except by its manifestations.  An EAST WIND was notorious for its destructiveness and is often used as a symbol for judgment (Job 27:21; Isaiah 27:8; Jeremiah 18:17). 


God’s might is irresistible.  He has all kinds of invisible forces at His command.  As the proud ships of Tarshish can easily be wracked by one of God’s winds, Sennacherib suffered the shipwreck of all his hopes before the walls of Jerusalem at the hand of one of God’s invisible powers.



8 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.


The pilgrims in their homelands have heard the stories of God’s work on behalf of His city, and they may have read what their prophets had said about it, and now with their own eyes they see the truth of what they have been told. It is the promised deliverance that down through the centuries God has assured them was coming.  Finally it is realized.  Whatever God has done in former days, He is able and willing, if needs be, to do again. Clearly verse 8 could have been said only by persons whose homes were not in Jerusalem and to whom a visit to the city was an experience of a lifetime.  


Let our faith in the Word God be confirmed.  If we compare what God has done with what he has said, we shall find that, as we have heard, so have we seen, and what we have seen obliges us to believe what we have heard.  We have seen the power of our God; we have seen His goodness; we have seen His care and concern for us, that He is a “wall of fire round about Jerusalem and the glory in the midst of her.” His armies are both terrestrial (Israel’s soldiers) and celestial (angels).



9 We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.

10 According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.

11 Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.


All the streams of mercy that flow down to us must be traced up to the fountain of God’s LOVINGKINDNESS.  It is not due to any merit of ours, but purely to His mercy, and the favor He bears for His people. In their millennial TEMPLE they will worship Him and meditate upon His LOVINGKINDNESS to them.


The Pilgrim is now in the temple—the most sacred place in the world to him—where the people of God meditate upon the great beliefs of their faith.  First, he ponders the LOVINGKINDNESS of God while worshipping in the temple.  LOVINGKINDNESS is that quality in God, which Hosea illustrated so clearly.  When the priests were offering incense or sacrifice, the religious people apply themselves in holy meditation or secret prayer to God, which may be gathered from Luke 1:10[5], and many other places in Scripture. Second, the Pilgrim meditates upon the extent of the Lord’s influence—how the knowledge of Him has reached to THE ENDS OF THE EARTH—the fame of the Lord spread from the city itself  to the towns of Judea that Sennacherib had plundered (Isaiah 36:1) and then to the ENDS OF THE EARTH.  Let’s pray that it may be that way with the message of the Gospel—“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).  Third, he dwells upon the righteous acts of God, which down through the centuries of history the Lord has wrought for His people, and which now inspire the congregation of Zion to rejoice.


LET MOUNT ZION REJOICE, and the priests and Levites that serve in the sanctuary, and then let ALL THE DAUGHTERS OF JUDAH—the other and lesser cities and towns or villages (i.e., all the people) of Judah—be glad; for such places are commonly called DAUGHTERS in respect of the mother city, to which they are subjects (Joshua 15:45; 17:16; Psalm 45:12; 137:8).  And let the women sing their songs and dance, as they usually do on occasions of public rejoicing, and celebrate with thankfulness the great salvation which God has wrought for us.


When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to defeat His enemies and establish His kingdom, His glory and dominion will be from sea to sea (Zechariah 9:9-10), and the city of Jerusalem will be named “The Lord our RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16), for, as the psalmist has put it, THY RIGHT HAND IS FULL OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, that is, righteous actions, which He showed by destroying the wicked and incorrigible enemies of His people, and in fulfilling the promises made to His church.


The kind of love that God imparts promotes witness.  We can be sure that, when Hezekiah was again able to establish diplomatic relations with the nations round about, the name of Elohim would soon be spread abroad.  This overthrow of a terrible enemy was a miracle as great as any that accompanied the Exodus.


This psalm concludes with a great hallelujah chorus.



12 Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.

13 Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.


After the worship was completed, perhaps one of the sons of Korah became “tour guide” for the Pilgrims and led them around the city.  He showed them the TOWERS and the outer walls (BULWARKS[6]), but he was careful to remind them that the city’s protection was the Lord Jehovah and not stone and mortar.  Next the Pilgrims go inside the walls and visit the famous palaces where noble leaders of Judea have lived and still do.  The psalmist makes a mental note of each thrilling experience, for when he gets home, his children – “THE GENERATION FOLLOWING”—will set enthralled as he tells them of his interesting experiences.  But it will not be merely a sight-seeing narrative, for it will be flooded with apprehension of the Lord and of what He has in mind for His people.  Then the children too will love Him and, claim Him as their God, and will follow Him forever! 


The Assyrian officers had counted the TOWERS[7] (Isaiah 33:18) and calculated how to capture the city, but they hadn’t taken the Lord into consideration.  The guide told the visiting Israelites that it was their responsibility to TELL the coming GENERATION about the Lord, in case the nation abandon the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.  The greatest danger a nation faces is not the invading enemy on the outside but the eroding enemy on the inside—a people gradually turning away from the faith of their fathers.  Each GENERATION must pass along to the next GENERATION who the Lord is, what He has done, and what they must do in response to His goodness and faithfulness.


Jerusalem was generally looked upon as an impregnable place, which is supported by Limitations 4:12: “The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem;” nor could they have entered if the inhabitants had not sinned away their defense.  The phrase “MARK YE WELL HER BULWARKS” intimates that the principle BULWARKS of Zion were not the objects which they should set their eye upon, but rather, the objects of faith is what they must set their hearts upon. The city was fortified well enough both by nature and man-made defenses; but its bulwarks that were mostly to be relied upon were the special presence of God in it, the beauty of holiness He had put upon it, and the promises He had made concerning it.


MARK YE WELL!—Consider God’s wonderful dealings with His people.  Their choice, redemption, adoption, sanctification, eternal inheritance—each is a subject for marking well and meditating upon. 



14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.


The loud and joyous songs of praise and thanksgiving in the temple were followed by a solemn procession about the city, its walls, its ramparts, and citadels[8].  As the pilgrims move from point to point and are shown the places of historic interest they are unshakable and convinced that God is a sure defense.  Zion stands intact; no enemy has been able to harm her.  When the pilgrims returned to their homes, they can tell the next generation that they have seen the greatness of God with their own eyes.


The kind of life that God gives is life forevermore—endless, eternal, and everlasting.  It is life that looks death itself, the dreadful ultimate foe, in the eye and says: “THIS GOD IS OUR GOD FOREVER AND EVER!” The psalmist cannot get over that. If He is our God, HE WILL BE OUR GUIDE, our faithful constant guide, to show us our way and to lead us in it; and he will be so EVEN UNTO DEATH.  This promise was made to the old and earthly Jerusalem, upon the condition of their obedience, at which they failed so miserably, and lost all the advantages they hoped for, but it is absolutely made good to the new and heavenly Jerusalem, the church of Christ.





End Notes


[1] Eschatological is defined as any system of doctrines concerning last, or final, matters, as death, the Judgment, the future state, etc.

[2] (Isaiah 14:13-14, NIV) “You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

[3] (Psalm 78:68, NIV) “but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loved.”

[4] (Psalm 50:2, NIV) “From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.”

[5] (Luke 1:10, NIV) “when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.”

[6] Bulwarks are a wall of earth or other material built for defense; rampart.

[7] Towers, as used here refers to “a structure used as or intended for a stronghold, fortress, prison, etc.”

[8] Citadel is defined as a fortress that commands a city and is used in the control of the inhabitants and in defense during attack or siege.