-By Shona Nell
The scholars think that this might have been one of the Psalms that was sung at the dedication of the second Temple in Jerusalem, or perhaps to commemorate a great victory. Whatever the occasion, it is an outpouring of praise to God for his long-term faithfulness in defending, protecting and restoring Jerusalem.
1 How great is the LORD,
how deserving of praise,
in the city of our God,
which sits on his holy mountain!
2 It is high and magnificent;
the whole earth rejoices to see it!
Mount Zion, the holy mountain,*
is the city of the great King! (NLT)
This focus on Jerusalem (Zion) was “something more than merely patriotic feeling. The Jew’s glory in Jerusalem was a different thing altogether from the Roman’s pride in Rome. For, to the devout Jew, there was one thing, and one thing only, that made Zion glorious — that in it God abode. The name even of that earthly Zion was “Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord is there.’ “(A. Maclaren, The Biblical Illustrator) It is the presence of God in Zion which makes it the ‘joy of the whole earth’.
As I read this Psalm, I’m reminded of God’s long-term unfailing love and faithfulness in my own life. I have seen God sustain me in hard times, rebuild ruins, turn back the enemy and pour out his unexpected and underserved favour. I am reminded that as disciples “we are the temple of God and the Spirit of God lives in us” (1 Corinth 3:16-17), and as I look back to inspect the ‘city’ of my life, and see what God has already done and what he’s busy with, I join the song of praise:
O God, we meditate on your unfailing love
as we worship in your Temple.
As your name deserves, O God,
you will be praised to the ends of the earth.
Your strong right hand is filled with victory. (v9-10 NLT)
Finally, this Psalm, reminds me of the the beautiful and majestic New Jerusalem to come, the one we look forward to in Revelations 21, “So he took me in the Spirit* to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. (V10-11 NLT)” and I am encouraged that God is not finished with us yet – there is still so much to look forward to – an eternity of life and joy with him.
For that is what God is like.
He is our God forever and ever,
and he will guide us until we die.