1 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain,
2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.
3 Within her citadels God has made himself known as a fortress.
4 For behold,the kings assembled; they came on together.
5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic; they took to flight.
6 Trembling took hold of them there, anguish as of a woman in labor.
7 By the east wind you shattered the ships of Tarshish.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God, which God will establish forever. Selah
9 We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
10 As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments!
12 Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation
14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.
"Within you temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth, your right hand is filled with righteousness. Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgements". Psalm 48:9-11
Sometimes I get a little lost in the psalms written by the Sons of Korah. Their language seems to me to be a bit more lofty, a little less personal, than David. When I read Psalms written by David, it's like I'm peering into the heart of the man.
I think though, that the reason for my being lost has more to do with cultural differences than anything else. I don't know what it means to live in a city where "God is in her citadels". If I'm truly honest, I'm not exactly sure what a citadel is.
What I do know though is that the Jewish people were meant to be a people that displayed the character of God, that showed the world what living in the community of God was like.
They failed in doing this a lot, like we all do. They often focused on how other people saw them, rather than how God did. In so many instances their pride damaged their relationship with God.
But they also succeeded in showing us who God is. Their failures, their praises, their achievements, and their discouragements prompted God's responses. God's character is continually highlighted throughout the history in the Bible.
Where they didn't measure up, God did. Where they lacked, God didn't.
When they failed, God loved. When they judged, God was compassionate.
The Jews knew from experience what it was to be surrounded by God's unfailing love, to be the focal point of God's righteousness, and to be glad because of God's fair judgement.
No matter how our character changes, God's does not. In him there is always love, hope, righteousness, fair judgement, mercy, and compassion. This is the God I serve, the God I am reminded of when I fall on my face in need of mercy.