“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces as a refuge.” (Psalm 48:1-3)
I LOVE these prophetic trilogy psalms of 46, 47, and 48 (maybe David is one of Scripture’s most prolific prophets)! I love that God Himself will set up this kingdom for His Son by first stopping the fighting in psalm 46:10, “Be still (stop fighting), and know (acknowledge) that I am God.” He will then set up the constitution of governance and worship in psalm 47. But in psalm 48, we see the verification that Jerusalem will be the capital for the new kingdom.
These first three verses proclaim that God is great, that Jerusalem is great, and the history of the world has been made great by the refuge that God has created for mankind.
God Himself is great. God is large in both magnitude and extent; He is greater in intensity; He is greater in age than any other being in the universe; and He is greater in importance than any other being. God is worthy of praise, simply because of Who He is!
Jerusalem is a great place for the world capital of the new kingdom! One commentary noted that the psalmist had the literal, historic city of Jerusalem in mind when he penned this, but it is also obvious that he saw Jerusalem as the city of God or New Jerusalem of future prophecy. These two thoughts complement each other. The same article thought the “sides of the north” could be speaking of way north in heaven. (enduringword.com/psalm 48 commentary) Finally, as the city of the future King, Jerusalem has the privilege of proclaiming joy to the whole world.
Finally, in verse three, we are reminded the whole history of mankind has been made great by the refuge that God Himself has offered, specifically through the ark of safety from judgment as provided by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, His Son. The refuge of safety that has been a theme of God’s personality throughout Scripture was completed with the defeat of death by the Redeemer. Ultimately the earthly kingdom of one thousand years will be swallowed up in the eternal refuge found in the new heavens, new earth, and New Jerusalem.
So how does Psalm 48 and the hope for a future world capital affect my daily life? One is that I love to look to the future kingdom for perspective on today’s exciting world events. Another benefit is that it adds motivation to the race that I am running. The prize of the future kingdom, where Jesus our Prince of Peace, gets to enforce peace and provide opportunity for incredible advancements in every field, is a great motivator for the race that I am running. Yes, there is hope to be found in the future kingdom and its capital, Jerusalem.