Read: Psalm 48:1-2; Micah 4:1; Zechariah 8:3
This psalm describes an ideal Jerusalem admired and feared throughout the world, even by her enemies. The spiritual equivalent of “Mount Zion” or this ideal Jerusalem is the church of Jesus Christ.
Think About It: Is the church admired and feared throughout the world, even by its enemies? If not, why not?
Prayer: That the church be “beautiful . . .the joy of the whole earth” in its godliness, purity, and joy. Pray for the “peace of Jerusalem” and for the peace of my congregation.
Read: Psalm 48:5-6; Zechariah 4:6
Sometimes in the history of the world the church was much feared, but for the wrong reasons: because the church wielded political and military power, just like the kingdoms of this world.
Think About It: How is the temptation to wield worldly power experienced by the church today? What are the long-term results of depending on this worldly power?
Prayer: For the church, and the congregation where I worship in particular, to rely solely on God’s mighty power, and not the arm of flesh.
Read: Psalm 48:1; Psalm 95:7, 100:3; 1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20
If the church is to be admired and feared for the right reasons, it must meet four conditions described in this psalm. The first of these conditions is reflected in v. 1: the church is the “city of our God.” The church must recognize God’s ownership; we are His people, not our own; He makes the rules, we don’t.
Think About It: Where do I find the rules of the city of God? What should I do if I don’t like the rules? God’s authority demands our submission!
Prayer: Pray for a spirit of submission to God’s authority.
Read: Psalm 48:3; John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 4:2, 6:6 – 7
The second condition which the church must meet in order to be admired and feared by the world is to publicly recognize that it knows God and His truth on the basis of His revelation. God has made Himself known; we did not find him by our merit; we have not invented Him, nor have we devised a system of belief. We have received from God a system of absolute truth.
Think About It: What are the moral implications of belief in a system of absolute truth, as opposed to a belief that all truth is relative? Do I demonstrate in my actions that I really believe in God’s revelation of absolute truth?
Prayer: For consistency between my stated beliefs and my behavior.
Read: Psalm 48:1, 11; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 4:15; Philippians 2:11
The third condition which the church must meet in order to be admired and feared in the world is to praise and exalt God. The first task of the church is to glorify God and cause Him to be glorified.
Think About It: All worldly organizations exist to some extent to maintain themselves for their own sake. What are the implications of an organization (the church) that gives evidence that it exists solely to glorify God? What should the church do to give evidence that it exists solely to glorify God? Do I do everything for the glory of God?
Prayer: “Ut in omnibus Deus glorificetur” – that in everything, God is glorified. Pray for my church do those things that clearly bring glory to God.
Read: Psalm 48:3, 7; Zechariah 8:13, 14:11; Matthew 16:18
The fourth condition which the church must meet in order to be admired and feared in the world is to be consciously under the Lord’s protection. This means not entering into compromising alliances with worldly power in order to preserve itself, but relying solely on God’s protection.
Think About It: Will the church always escape persecution through total reliance on God? How does martyrdom fit into the idea of the world coming to admire and respect the church?
Prayer: For a depth of commitment that is willing to depend on God, no matter what the cost.
Read: Psalm 48:1-14
The “Zion principles” or conditions which the church must meet if it is to be considered beautiful and the joy of the whole earth must also apply to us individually.
Think About It: Do I recognize God’s ownership? Do I believe and obey His revelation? Is glorifying God my number one priority in life? Am I consciously under God’s protection?
Prayer: For my personal compliance to the principles of Zion.