Psalm 48

Psalm 48

A song. A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

How great is the Lord, how deserving of praise,
in the city of our God, which sits on his holy mountain!

It is high and magnificent; the whole earth rejoices to see it! Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King!
God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers, revealing himself as its defender.

The kings of the earth joined forces and advanced against the city.
But when they saw it, they were stunned; they were terrified and ran away.
They were gripped with terror and writhed in pain like a woman in labor.
You destroyed them like the mighty ships of Tarshish shattered by a powerful east wind.

We had heard of the city’s glory, but now we have seen it ourselves— the city of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. It is the city of our God; He will make it safe forever. 

O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple.
10 As your name deserves, O God, you will be praised to the ends of the earth. Your strong right hand is filled with victory.
11 Let the people on Mount Zion rejoice. Let all the towns of Judah be glad because of your justice.

12 Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers.
13 Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations.
14 For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.


Before we read the Psalm tonight, we want to do a little back ground. Approximately 700 years before Christ, Sennacherib, king of Assyria invaded the land of Judah, subjugating most of the cities but when he got to Jerusalem, he was unable to take it. The Assyrians were fierce warriors, blood thirsty barbarians would be a better description. They did not just kill and destroy, they tortured their opponents before they allowed them to die. The thought of facing the Assyrians, struck fear into hearts.

Jerusalem in a walled city and located on the crest of a mountain. It was not an easy city to conquer. Sennacherib began with a propaganda campaign; he tried to undermine the citizens confidence in their leader Hezekiah and in God Himself. As you may or may not recall, Sennacherib failed to take the city. He actually never shot the first arrow over the wall. The Angel of the LORD paid a visit to his camp and killed 185,000 soldiers in one night. Sennacherib was devastated and returned to Assyria in shame and disgrace. A couple of months later, two of his sons assassinated him while he was at his temple to pray to his god with a little g. Three Psalms were written to Praise God for this great victory.


So before we read the Psalm: Note this is a Praise Psalm {song} celebrating this unbelievable victory.

[read the Psalm]


The second thing I want you to notice is the repeated us of the word CITY. Six times if I counted properly. Notice the adjectives used to describe the city…

—verse 2–High and magnificent, the whole world rejoices to see it!

—verse 8–The city of glory and security

—verse 12–The strength of the city


Since it is a Psalm of PRAISE, you see the emphasis on praise…

—Verse 1…How great is the LORD…How deserving of praise

—Verse 10…As Your name deserves O God, You will be praised to the ends of the earth.

We praise God for…

[1] God’s Awesome Power–[v.7]like a storm destroying the mighty ships of Tarshish.

[2] God’s Unfailing Love—[v.9]

[3] For the Victory He gives—[v.10]

[4] God is faithful and immutable—[v.14]


This is a quick overview of the Psalm, not let me give you some lessons to take with you.

1. WE DO NOT WORSHIP PLACES–CITIES OR TEMPLES. The Jews were tempted to worship the shadow and ignore the substance or the reality. We do not worship buildings, statues, edifices of any kind, this is idolatry. We worship God in Spirit and Truth. We worship a PERSON, not a place.

2. WE ARE TO CELEBRATE OUR VICTORIES. Nothing wrong with praising God for the good things He does. The Angels in heaven celebrate when one sinner repents. The Prodigal Father celebrates.

3. OUR FOCUS IN NOT ON GOD’S GIFTS OR BLESSINGS [Cities, buildings, temples, etc] BUT ON HIS PRESENCE. The glory of Jerusalem in not it its appearance: there is glory in it’s past and future. Mt Zion is where Abraham worshiped with Issac. It is where David brought the Ark of the Covenant, a symbol of God’s presence. It is where Solomon built the Temple. It is where Jesus died for our sins. Jerusalem, apart from Christ is just an ancient with with a lot of rocks and mortar. Jerusalem has no sky scrappers, no shopping malls, no sub-ways. It is nothing like Istanbul, New York or London. No parks, gardens, manicured lawns. You will see very few trees and very little grass. Mostly stone, dirt and mortar.

If I were to live in Israel, Galilee would be my choice hands down. They have vegetation, beautiful green mountains and lush green valleys. You will see none of this any where near Jerusalem.

The glory is not in the city itself. Jesus in the city, that was glory. Jesus in the Temple, that was glory. But in the temple and city alone, there is no glory.

Old Preachers Version of Burning Bush

Moses: “Wow, look at that bush!”

God: “Look closer, it is not the bush, it is MY glory on the bush.” Look over there Moses [other direction]…what do you see?

Moses…I see a bush

God…Look in the other direction and what do you see?

Moses…just an old bush.

God…That right Moses, just a bush. It is not the bush, it is my glory on the bush, any old bush will do!


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