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48. Psalm 48

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

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

3God is known in her palaces for a refuge.

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

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

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

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

8As 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. God in her palaces is known for a defense Here the sacred poet again brings forward, for the purpose of setting forth the dignity of the city of Jerusalem, the protection which God afforded it; as we have seen in Psalm 46:5,

“God is in the midst of her: she shall not be moved:
God shall help her, and that right early.”

He expressly makes mention of palaces for the sake of contrast — to teach the Jews, that although the holy city was fortified by strong towers, and had within it magnificent houses, and such as resembled fortresses, yet its continued safety was owing to the power and aid of God alone. By these words, the people of God are taught, that although they dwell in strongholds and palaces, they must, nevertheless, be carefully on their guard, that this magnificence or loftiness may not shroud or conceal from their view the power of God; and that they be not like worldly men, who, resting satisfied with riches and earthly means of help, set no value whatever upon having God for their guardian and protector. Worldly wealth, from our natural perverseness, tends to dazzle our eyes, and to make us forget God, and, therefore, we ought to meditate with special attention upon this doctrine, That whatever we possess, which seems worthy of being prized, must not be permitted to obscure the knowledge of the power and grace of God; but that, on the contrary, the glory of God ought always clearly to shine forth in all the gifts with which he may be pleased to bless and adorn us; so that we may account ourselves rich and happy in him, and no where else.


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