Reading: Psalm 48:1-8
A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah.
Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth,
like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion,
the city of the Great King.
God is in her citadels;
he has shown himself to be her fortress.
When the kings joined forces,
when they advanced together,
they saw her and were astounded;
they fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there,
pain like that of a woman in labor.
You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish
shattered by an east wind.
As we have heard, so we have seen
in the city of the LORD Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure forever (NIV).*
Ottawa downtown — photo by David Kitz
I grew up on a farm in wide open rural Saskatchewan, Canada. It was a cross-country mile to the nearest neighbor, but if you stood at the right spot in our farmyard, you could see our neighbor’s house. I loved growing up on the farm and I still love visiting. Who wouldn’t? I was living in God’s country surrounded by the wild beauty of nature in all its varied, changing forms.
But I have spent the last forty years living in the city—actually three rather large cities with populations of more than a million. Is the God of the open country the God of the city too? The psalmist seemed to think so. He begins Psalm 48 with this declaration: Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
Of course the sons of Korah were referring to biblical Jerusalem, more specifically Mount Zion, the fortified citadel within the walls of ancient Israel’s capital. God was within her. During the reign of David the Ark of the Covenant—the seat of the LORD’s rule—was housed in the sacred tabernacle on Mount Zion. This was where God dwelt.
Where does God dwell today? As partakers of the new covenant, through the blood of Christ we are the temples of God. Paul, the apostle, asks, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). God dwells in the city too—your city. Whether it’s Calgary, Ottawa, New York or Tokyo, God is within her because His redeemed people live there.
Response: LORD, I thank you because you live within us! Help me to let my light shine in my city. Amen.
Your Turn: How would you characterize your city? How is God revealing His presence there?
* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA
Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.