A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah. It is not every Psalm that is a song, for some Psalms are full of sorrow and it is not every song that is a Psalm, for, alas! there are many songs that are mere foolish rhymes or something worse, but here is a happy combination, “A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah.”
Psalms 48:1. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised —
Surely a great God should have great praise: “greatly to be praised” —
Psalms 48:1. In the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
If there is any place where he ought to be praised, surely it is there. Even if all the rest of the world is silent, let God be praised “in the mountain of his holiness.” Holy people must praise the holy God. It is natural that they should do so. It needs holy people to see God, and when they do see him, their eyes will glisten with delight, and their voices will ring with his praise.
Psalms 48:2. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, in mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
Thus the Jew praises Jerusalem, and thus the Christian praises the Church. The Church of Christ is, to his eye, the most precious thing in the whole world, and there is nothing upon the face of the earth that is so lovely in the sight of God as his own chosen Church.
Psalms 48:3. God is known in her palaces for a refuge.
Are not all her people kings? Therefore they live in palaces; and they none of them trust in themselves, God is known to them as a refuge.
Psalms 48:4-5. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled;
They came up with their confederate bands of kings to attack Jerusalem, and they looked at it, and wondered at its strength and beauty.
Psalms 48:5. They were troubled, and hasted away,
If they came quickly, they went away still more quickly, hurrying off like a band of frightened children.
Psalms 48:6-7. Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail. Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.
God broke up the confederacies of kings that were leagued against his people. Even the great galleons of Tarshish were dashed to pieces when the Lord blew with his wind, and scattered them, as, many centuries later, he did with the “Invincible” Armada on our own coasts.
Psalms 48:8. As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of host, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.
Well might there be a pause here for solemn consideration, for putting the harp strings right, and lifting up the heart to the Lord in praise.
Psalms 48:9. We have thought of thy loving kindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.”
Here is a blessed subject, “thy loving kindness, O God;” — a blessed people, we who have enjoyed it; — a blessed occupation, “we have thought of thy loving kindness,” — and a blessed place in which to do it, “in the midst of thy temple.” When we are in the midst of the Lord’s people, in the midst of his Church, then is the time for sweet and blessed thoughts concerning our gracious God.
Psalms 48:10. According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth:
As is God’s name, so is his fame; unto the very ends of the earth shall men hear the praises of the Lord, especially when he delivers his people.
Psalms 48:10. Thy right hand is full of righteousness.
God’s right hand is never empty: “thy right hand is full;” and when he comes to sinners, he deals with them in righteousness; and when he comes to his saints in mercy, it is still in righteousness. “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins”
Psalms 48:11. Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.
That is, the smaller cities of Judah, let them sing, as well as Jerusalem, the high praises of their delivering God. Perhaps it refers to the women who, in times of war, have to suffer most and worst of all; let them be loudest in their joyous music; as Miriam took her timbrel, and led the song of the women on the shore of the Red Sea, so let the daughters of Judah be glad because of the Lord’s righteous judgments upon the enemies of his people.
Psalms 48:12-13. Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.
Sunday-school teachers, note the security of the Church of God, mark the eternal truth on which she is founded, the everlasting promises by which she is guarded, the forts and bastions of omnipotence that preserve her from the assaults of her enemies! and then tell all this “to the generation following.”
Psalms 48:14. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.
But the Hebrew is better still: “He will be our guide even over death.” We shall trample down death; or, as one puts it, we shall stand by the grave of death. What a glorious place for us to stand in when death itself is dead through the ever-living Christ, and the resurrection power that comes through his death! “He will be our guide even over death.”
This exposition consisted of readings from 1 Kings 5, and Psalms 48, 95.