Psalm 48: Celebrating Old and New Jerusalem, the Great City of God

Psalm 48: Celebrating Old and New Jerusalem, the Great City of God

Why is Jerusalem such a big deal? Right now, it holds the holiest, yet most contested piece of Real Estate — the Temple Mount. Today in this psalm we celebrate not just Old Jerusalem, but the New Jerusalem that awaits all of Jesus’ born again believers. Let’s dig in…

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. Interlude

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.

Psalm 48 NLT

The History of Jerusalem

If you seriously want to study the history of Jerusalem, you can check out this timeline in Wikipedia. However, I prefer to trust the Bible. Here is a brief historical timeline and its corresponding Bible Study.

Some other facts about Jerusalem…

  • The Holy City sits 2500 feet above sea level. The Dead Sea is 1290 feet below sea level. Consequently, the city towers 4000 feet over the Jordan Valley.
  • It’s built on 5 mountains
    • Zion to the south
    • Moriah in the center
    • Scopus to the north
    • Olivet to the east — where Jesus gave his Olivet discourse
    • Ophel to the west
  • Its east walls rise even further above the Kidron Valley, which makes for a magnificent skyline. (I wish I could visit Israel! Maybe not as a living human, but definitely as a resurrected one! In other words, I will see it at one point or another.)

The New Jerusalem

John, the Revelator, got a glimpse of the future Holy City and he attempted to describe the indescribable…

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

Revelation 21:1-2 NLT (Check out my study on the last 2 chapters to learn more…)

Some insights from Spoken Gospel…

In the book of Revelation, the apostle John, is invited to come and consider a New Jerusalem. But just before John beholds the beautiful sight, the enemies of God rally together to besiege God’s city. But like in this psalm, they are routed and completely destroyed (Revelation 20:9). God renders them unable to approach the city gates, but welcomes John with open arms. Like the first Jerusalem, its measurements, walls, gates, foundations, gold, and jewels all speak of God’s beauty, justice, and protection (Revelation 21:12-21).

But unlike the old Jerusalem, this new Jerusalem lacks a temple where pilgrims can enter God’s presence and experience his love. That is because Jesus is the temple of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:22). At the center of the New Jerusalem is not a building but God himself waiting to be explored! And as citizens of this new city we will have the privilege of considering firsthand every facet of God’s heart (Colossians 1:15). All God’s beauty and strength shine in the full radiance of Jesus (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus is God’s justice, God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s wisdom, God’s power, and God’s glory (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:8; Titus 3:4-5; 1 Corinthians 1:24; John 1:14). And we will get to explore and enjoy him forever.

Spoken Gospel

Which brings me to the final verse…

For that is what God is like.
    He is our God forever and ever,
    and he will guide us until we die.

Psalm 48:14 NLT

Unmistakably, undoubtedly, undeniably, HE is our God forever and ever! Therefore, who are you going to trust to guide you until you die? A church, a pope, a pastor, a preacher? NO — we must trust ONLY in God.

Here’s my simple prayer based on this psalm…

Lord Jesus, You are great and deserving of praise! Because you are in my heart and my body is Your temple, O God, I think about your unfailing love as I worship You and I am overwhelmed.

Like the strong walls of Jerusalem, You are my strong tower, my fortress, and my refuge.

You are my God forever and ever, and You will guide me until I die. I trust you Jesus as my protector and provider. Amen.

Paraphrase on Psalm 48 by Giselle Aguiar

Finally, can you sincerely and wholeheartedly pray this prayer? Do YOU have Jesus in your heart?

Jesus knocking at the door of your heart.
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart.
Isn’t it about time you let Him in?

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Revelation Song

How Great is Our God

Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be The Glory!

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