The Scriptures teach a great deal by contrast. Psalm 48 helps us see the contrast between what we experience on earth and what God, through Christ, has done and is planning for us. More importantly, it helps us to see our present reality. Hold on to that big picture as I tell you about a special visitor.
I drove into my driveway one day last week and, visible from where I stopped, was a deer. He was a young male/buck, looked healthy, and had a small rack. He looked up but did not move for a while and we just stared at each other without moving.
After a minute or two he turned to hobble down our hillside. I used “hobble” intentionally, since he had a wounded left front leg. Later, when he turned so I could see, I noticed he had no foot! Like you, I am still imaging all the ways he could have lost a foot.
Psalm 48 is upbeat, but underneath it is the psalmists’ (Sons of Korah) confidence of a better future away from the unrighteous rulers of the nations (“kings,” v. 4-8). Their foresight and endurance is settled because of two things: God Himself and His great city, Zion. About God Psalm 48 screams: we can pray and depend on God. He is “Great…the LORD” and “our God.” He makes Himself known (v. 3). He is the sovereign LORD of angel armies, a God of steadfast love now and forever, and the God who desires and receives our worship (vss. 9-10).
John Calvin urges, “…let us remember that a nod alone on the part of God is sufficient to deliver us, and that, though our enemies may be ready to fall upon us on every side to overwhelm us, it is in his power, whenever he pleases, to strike them with amazement of spirit, and thus to make their hearts fail in a moment in the very midst of their efforts against us. Let this reflection serve as a bridle to keep our minds from being drawn away…” Ouch. What are the people or things that draw us away from our joy (v. 2) and dependence on Him?
While we look with confidence to our great God, the psalmists are also focused on the place of God’s final reign on earth: Jerusalem. One writer notes, “Mount Zion stands for the vision of God’s kingship. God’s kingdom is greater than Jerusalem but receives its visible expression in…Jerusalem…the renewal of the world and the renewal of Zion are one and the same thing.” Did your vision jump to Revelation 21-22 and the ultimate experience for those in Christ at the end of the ages in the New Jerusalem in that perfect place and time?
Many days we hobble like a deer without a foot. They adapt but, unlike an animal, we look to our great God and a promised future in a time and place where we will stand firmly on both feet.