Psalm 48 - Great is the LORD and Greatly to be Praised
heading: This is the first shir mizmor , song-psalm. The others are 67-68, 87 & 92.
1. The beauty of the city of God (the universal church). - vv 1-3
a. The local churches' protection v3
2. Examples of God's protection vv 4-7
a. Protection from enemies vv 4-6
b. Protection from friendship with the world v7
3. More wonders about God's city, the church vv 8-9
a. Prophecy fulfilled v8
b. God establishes her forever. v8
c. God's mercy v9
4. God's praise and righteousness reach to the ends of the earth through the church - v10
5. Explore the church vv11-14
a. So that you can tell the next generation v13
b. God is our guide in the church beyond death - v14
- The Lord should be great in the church and greatly praised.
The church should be holy.
- The church should be elevated above the world, and this elevation is beautiful (Col 3:1-4
If the church loses its elevation above the world, it has lost its beauty.
The sides of the north are not comfortable, but invigorating. You have to move or work to stay warm.
The Great King is the Messiah.
- The palaces within Zion are the local churches within the universal church.
In the local churches God is made known to men, and by this knowing God, God becomes their high protective fortress. The word "high" here goes back to "elevation" in v2. In a fellowship of believers, there is safety in God.
-6 - I believe this happened when the kings of Moab, Ammon and Edom crossed over the Jordan to attack Jerusalem. Jehoshaphat prayed based on the Lord's promise concerning His temple, and the Lord answered through a prophet that Judah should go down, but they would not have to fight. (2Chron 20:1-30
). The prophet was a Levite (v14
), as were the sons of Korah, the authors of this psalm. When Judah went down to confront the attacking kings, the sons of Korah sang the Lord's praises (v19
). I think those are the very same sons of Korah who wrote this psalm. I think they may have even
sung this psalm in v19
- The previous event, the attack of the kings, is in the Hebrew perfect, meaning that the action is complete, so it is in the past. This is in the Hebrew imperfect, so it is present or future. That means that this psalm was written during Jehoshapat's reign some time between the attack of the kings in 2Chr 20:29 and the breaking of the Tarshish ships in 2Chr 20:37
Jehoshaphat had previously joined in military alliance with the apostate northern kingdom of Israel and nearly lost his life (2Chr 18
). God rebuked Jehoshaphat through a prophet, and Jehoshaphat obeyed and was blessed greatly (2Chr 19:1-11
), including the miraculous victory in vv 4-6 of this psalm.
But afterward, he went into business partnership with the wicked northern kingdom of Israel. A prophet rebuked Jehoshaphat again for this, saying that God would destroy Jehoshaphat's works, which God did (2Chr 20:35-37
vv4-7 are the examples how God is a high fortress in the local church. In vv 4-6 He protects us from our enemies attacking us. In v7 He protects us from friendship with the world (Jam 4:4
). This goes back to the church being "the mountain of His holiness" in v1.
This illustrates the warning in 1Cor 3
to take heed how we build in God's house.
The 2nd event about the breaking of Tarshish ships is the destruction of Tyre in Ezek 27:17,25-26
, where it also says "an east wind". As in the case of Jehoshapat, God's people had gotten entangled with the self-exalting world, Tyre, which is a figure of Babylon the Great in Revelation 18.
Speculative heresies, pretending to bring us wealth from afar, are constantly assailing the church, but the breath of the Lord soon drives them to destruction. The church too often relies on the wisdom of men, and these human helps are soon shipwrecked; yet the church itself is safe beneath the care of her God and King. - C. H. Spurgeon
- In both the victory in vv4-6, and the loss in v7, God spoke what would happen before it took place. In both cases the people of God heard and then saw it happen. Only in the LORD of hosts' city, the universal church.
The church should experience this gift of prophecy for the building up of the church (1Cor 14:1-6,39
It could also refer to the wondrous things that we heard God did in the past, He is still doing in the church.
God establishes her forever. Selah - think about that. Think about both the victory and the loss.
- In the church we must never forget God's mercy. Think about God's mercy, both the victories He gives us and His chastisements for our benefit to make us fit for the mount of His holiness (Heb 12:10-14
Holy men are thoughtful men; they do not suffer God's wonders to pass before their eyes and melt into forgetfulness, but they meditate deeply upon them.
"Of thy lovingkindness, O God." What a delightful subject! Devout minds never tire of so divine a theme. It is well to think of past lovingkindness in times of trial, and equally profitable to remember it in seasons of prosperity. Grateful memories sweeten sorrows and sober joys.
"In the midst of thy temple." The assembled saints constitute a living temple, and our deepest musings when so gathered together should have regard to the lovingkindness of the Lord, exhibited in the varied experiences of each of the living stones. - Spurgeon
- This is fulfilled by the church preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth. The gospel should result in righteous living, which God's right hand supplies to those who obey and cooperate with His leading, and which satisfies God.
- God's just judgments are of both on our enemies in vv4-6 and on us in v7.
- Experience more of the universal church. Count what the Lord is doing including others outside with somewhat different views than your own group.
We cannot too frequently or too deeply consider the origin, privileges, history, security, and glory of the church. Some subjects deserve but a passing thought; this is worthy of the most patient consideration.
"Tell the towers thereof." See if any of them have crumbled, or have been demolished. Is the church of God what she was in doctrine, in strength and in beauty? - Spurgeon
Pray for the protection of those in danger because of the gospel. Consider the local churches.
The purpose of all the actions in vv11-13 is to recount it to the next generation.
The debt we owe to the past we must endeavor to repay by handing down the truth to the future. - Spurgeon
"forever and ever" is unambiguously eternal.
He will be our guide over (not until) death.
-copyright Steve Miller 8/9/2020
Psalm 48 a song, a psalm, through the sons of Korah
and greatly to be praised,
in the city of our God,
the mountain of His holiness.
Beautiful in elevation,
the joy of the whole earth,
is Mount Zion,
on the sides of the north,
the city of the Great King.
(repeat last 3 lines of each stanza)
within her palaces
as a very high fortress,
in the mount above present distress.
For behold, the kings assembled,
crossed over together.
so they were astounded.
They were troubled. They fled away.
upon them, anguish there
as a woman in travail.
Pain and anguish took hold of them there.
With an east wind You will shatter
even so we have seen
in the LORD of hosts' city,
4 our God's city.
God establishes her
forever. Think about that.
God establishes her forever.
We've thought, O God, on Your mercy
in the midst of Your temple.
Your mighty name, O God,
is Your praise to the earth's ends.
5 Righteousness fills,
satisfies Your right hand.
let Mount Zion rejoice,
Let the daughters of Judah be glad
on account of Your just judgments.
Walk about Zion, explore.
Count her towers.
Set your heart on her walls.
Consider her palaces.
6 So that you may
recount it to the next
Impart your experience to them
because this God, He
is our God
e'en forever and ever.
He will lead us,
be our guide over death.
Over death He will be our guide.
-copyright Steve Miller 8/9/2020
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
2 Chronicles 18:1
And Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance; and he allied himself with Ahab by marriage.
2 And after certain years he went down to Ahab, to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that were with him, and urged him to go up against Ramoth-Gilead.
3 And Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Wilt thou go with me to Ramoth-Gilead? And he said to him, I am as thou, and my people as thy people; and I will be with thee in the war.
4 And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, this day of the word of Jehovah.
5 And the king of Israel assembled the prophets, four hundred men, and said to them, Shall we go against Ramoth-Gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up, and God will give it into the king's hand.
6 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of Jehovah besides, that we might inquire of him?
7 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of Jehovah; but I hate him, for he prophesies no good concerning me, but always evil: it is Micah the son of Imlah. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
8 Then the king of Israel called a chamberlain, and said, Fetch quickly Micah the son of Imlah.
9 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, having put on their robes, sat each on his throne; and they sat in an open place at the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
10 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made for himself horns of iron, and he said, Thus saith Jehovah: With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have exterminated them.
11 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-Gilead, and prosper; for Jehovah will give it into the king's hand.
12 And the messenger that went to call Micah spoke to him saying, Behold, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one assent: let thy word therefore, I pray thee, be like one of theirs, and declare good.
13 And Micah said, As Jehovah liveth, even what my God shall say, that will I declare.
14 And he came to the king. And the king said to him, Micah, shall we go against Ramoth-Gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper; and they will be given into your hands.
15 And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but truth in the name of Jehovah?
16 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And Jehovah said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
17 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he prophesies no good concerning me, but evil?
18 And he said, Hear ye therefore the word of Jehovah: I saw Jehovah sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left;
19 and Jehovah said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead? And one spoke saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.
20 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before Jehovah and said, I will entice him. And Jehovah said unto him, Wherewith?
21 And he said, I will go forth, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt entice him, and also succeed: go forth, and do so.
22 And now, behold, Jehovah has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets; and Jehovah has spoken evil concerning thee.
23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micah upon the cheek, and said, Which way now went the Spirit of Jehovah from me to speak to thee?
24 And Micah said, Behold, thou shalt see on that day when thou shalt go from chamber to chamber to hide thyself.
25 And the king of Israel said, Take ye Micah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son;
26 and ye shall say, Thus says the king: Put this man in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace.
27 And Micah said, If thou return at all in peace, Jehovah has not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O peoples, all of you!
28 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-Gilead.
29 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went into the battle.
30 And the king of Syria commanded the captains of his chariots saying, Fight neither with small nor great, but with the king of Israel only.
31 And it came to pass when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, That is the king of Israel; and they surrounded him to fight; and Jehoshaphat cried out, and Jehovah helped him; and God diverted them from him.
32 And it came to pass that when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.
33 And a man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the fastenings and the corslet. And he said to the charioteer, Turn thy hand and drive me out of the camp; for I am wounded.
34 And the battle increased that day; and the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even; and about the time of the going down of the sun he died.
2 Chronicles 19:1
And Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem.
2 And Jehu the son of Hanani, the seer, went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate Jehovah? Therefore is wrath upon thee from Jehovah.
3 Nevertheless there are good things found in thee; for thou hast put away the Asherahs out of the land, and hast directed thy heart to seek God.
4 And Jehoshaphat dwelt in Jerusalem; and he went out again among the people from Beer-sheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back to Jehovah the God of their fathers.
5 And he set judges in the land throughout the fortified cities of Judah, city by city.
6 And he said to the judges, Take heed what ye do; for ye judge not for man, but for Jehovah, who will be with you in the matter of judgment.
7 And now, let the terror of Jehovah be upon you; be careful what ye do, for there is no iniquity with Jehovah, nor respect of persons, nor taking of presents.
8 -- And moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set some of the Levites and priests, and of the chief fathers of Israel, for the judgment of Jehovah and for causes. -- And they returned to Jerusalem.
9 And he charged them saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of Jehovah faithfully and with a perfect heart.
10 And what cause soever comes to you of your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and ordinances, ye shall even warn them that they trespass not against Jehovah, and so wrath come upon you and upon your brethren: this do and ye shall not trespass.
11 And behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of Jehovah, and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, prince of the house of Judah, in all the king's matters; and ye have the Levites before you as officers. Be strong and do it, and Jehovah will be with the good.
2 Chronicles 20:1
And it came to pass after this that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them certain of the Maonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
2 And they came and told Jehoshaphat saying, A great multitude is come against thee from beyond the sea, from Syria; and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar, which is Engedi.
3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek Jehovah, and proclaimed a fast throughout Judah.
4 And Judah gathered themselves together to ask help of Jehovah: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek Jehovah.
5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of Jehovah, before the new court;
6 and he said, Jehovah, God of our fathers, art not thou God in the heavens, and rulest thou not over all the kingdoms of the nations? And in thy hand there is power and might, and none can withstand thee.
7 Hast not thou, our God, dispossessed the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and given it for ever to the seed of Abraham, thy friend?
8 And they have dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,
9 If evil come upon us, sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, and we stand before this house and before thee -- for thy name is in this house -- and cry unto thee in our distress, then thou wilt hear and save.
10 And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab, and those of mount Seir, amongst whom thou wouldest not let Israel go when they came out of the land of Egypt, (for they turned from them, and destroyed them not,)
11 behold, they reward us, in coming to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to possess.
12 Our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might in presence of this great company which cometh against us, neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon thee.
13 And all Judah stood before Jehovah, with their little ones, their wives, and their sons.
14 And upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, upon him came the Spirit of Jehovah, in the midst of the congregation;
15 and he said, Be attentive, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat! Thus saith Jehovah unto you: Fear not, nor be dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
16 To-morrow go down against them: behold, they come up by the ascent of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the valley, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
17 Ye shall not have to fight on this occasion: set yourselves, stand and see the salvation of Jehovah who is with you! Judah and Jerusalem, fear not nor be dismayed; to-morrow go out against them, and Jehovah will be with you.
18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before
Jehovah, worshipping Jehovah.
19 And the Levites, of the sons of the Kohathites, and of the sons of the Korahites, stood up to praise Jehovah the God of Israel with an exceeding loud voice.
20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth towards the wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in Jehovah your God, and ye shall be established; believe his prophets, and ye shall prosper!
21 And he consulted with the people, and appointed singers to Jehovah, and those that should praise in holy splendor, as they went forth before the armed men, and say, Give thanks to Jehovah; for his loving-kindness endureth for ever!
22 And when they began the song of triumph and praise, Jehovah set liers-in-wait against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, who had come against Judah, and they were smitten.
23 And the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, to exterminate and destroy them; and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24 And Judah came on to the mountain-watch in the wilderness, and they looked toward the multitude; and behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none had escaped.
25 And Jehoshaphat and his people came to plunder the spoil of them, and they found among them in abundance, both riches with the dead bodies, and precious things, and they stripped off for themselves more than they could carry away; and they were three days in plundering the spoil, it was so much.
26 And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah, for there they blessed Jehovah; therefore the name of that place was called The valley of Berachah, to this day.
27 And they returned, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat at their head, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for Jehovah had made them to rejoice over their enemies.
28 And they came to Jerusalem with lutes and harps and trumpets, to the house of Jehovah.
29 And the terror of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands, when they had heard that Jehovah fought against the enemies of Israel.
30 And the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet; and his God gave him rest round about.
35 And after this Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly.
36 And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish
; and they made the ships in Ezion-geber.
37 And Eliezer the son of Dodavah, of Mareshah, prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, Jehovah has broken thy works. And the ships were broken, and could not go to Tarshish.
Jehoshaphat made Tarshish-ships
to go to Ophir for gold; but they went not, for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber.
49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab to Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.
Ezekiel 27:17 Judah and the land of Israel were thy traffickers:
they bartered with thee wheat of Minnith, and sweet cakes, and honey, and oil, and balm. ...
25 The ships of Tarshish were thy caravans for thy traffic; and thou wast replenished, and highly honoured, in the heart of the seas.
26 Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters; the east wind hath broken thee in the heart of the seas.
Now if any one build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw,
13 the work of each shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire shall try the work of each what it is.
14 If the work of any one which he has built upon the foundation shall abide, he shall receive a reward.
15 If the work of any one shall be consumed, he shall suffer loss, but *he* shall be saved, but so as through the fire.
16 Do ye not know that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
17 If any one corrupt the temple of God, *him* shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, and such are *ye*.
For they indeed chastened for a few days, as seemed good to them; but he for profit, in order to the partaking of his holiness.
11 But no chastening at the time seems to be matter of joy, but of grief; but afterwards yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those exercised by it.
12 Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the failing knees;
13 and make straight paths for your feet, that that which is lame be not turned aside; but that rather it may be healed.
14 Pursue peace with all, and holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord:
Adulteresses, know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore is minded to be the friend of the world is constituted enemy of God.
1 Corinthians 14:1
Follow after love, and be emulous of spiritual manifestations, but rather that ye may prophesy.
2 For he that speaks with a tongue does not speak to men but to God: for no one hears; but in spirit he speaks mysteries.
3 But he that prophesies speaks to men in building up, and encouragement, and consolation.
4 He that speaks with a tongue edifies himself; but he that prophesies builds up the assembly.
5 Now I desire that ye should all speak with tongues, but rather that ye should prophesy. But greater is he that prophesies than he that speaks with tongues, unless he interpret, that the assembly may receive building up.
6 And now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I shall speak to you either in revelation, or in knowledge, or in prophecy, or in teaching?
39 So that, brethren, desire to prophesy, and do not forbid the speaking with tongues.