July 30th 2020 – Psalm 48

"A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
    in the city of our God!
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
    is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
    the city of the great King.
Within her citadels God
    has made himself known as a fortress.

For behold, the kings assembled;
    they came on together.
As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
    they were in panic; they took to flight.
Trembling took hold of them there,
    anguish as of a woman in labor.
By the east wind you shattered
    the ships of Tarshish.
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

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."

Psalm 48

What the Church is to God is implied rather than stated, but the implication runs throughout the Psalm. The Church is to God the object of His love, pleasure and delight, indeed it is that love that invests her with glory and beauty, for she has, naturally speaking, none of her own. God starts from scratch with His people. As Augustine puts it, 'He loved her foul, that He might make her fair'. What is it that makes a bride so lovely? It is not natural beauty - although she may be beautiful; it is not even the fact that she loves her bridegroom, although she may do so with all her heart. It is the fact that she is loved - that is what gives her the indescribable glow and radiance. And it is so with the Church, the Bride of Christ. 'Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify it...and present it unto Himself, a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing' (Ephesians 5:25-27). This is the wonderful heart of all - He is a God Who gives Himself to His people, in utter self-giving, because He loves. It is His bestowal of the divine righteousness (10), in loving kindness (9) that makes the redeemed of the Lord beautiful with the beauty of holiness and of heaven. And this God - this self-giving God - is our God forever and ever!