The glories of the church of Christ.
Verses 1-7 Jerusalem is the city of our God: none on earth render him due honour except the citizens of the spiritual Jerusalem. Happy the kingdom, the city, the family, the heart, in which God is great, in which he is all. There God is known. The clearer discoveries are made to us of the Lord and his greatness, the more it is expected that we should abound in his praises. The earth is, by sin, covered with deformity, therefore justly might that spot of ground, which was beautified with holiness, be called the joy of the whole earth; that which the whole earth has reason to rejoice in, that God would thus in very deed dwell with man upon the earth. The kings of the earth were afraid of it. Nothing in nature can more fitly represent the overthrow of heathenism by the Spirit of the gospel, than the wreck of a fleet in a storm. Both are by the mighty power of the Lord.
Verses 8-14 We have here the improvement which the people of God are to make of his glorious and gracious appearances for them. Let our faith in the word of God be hereby confirmed. Let our hope of the stability of the church be encouraged. Let our minds be filled with good thoughts of God. All the streams of mercy that flow down to us, must be traced to the fountain of His loving-kindness. Let us give to God the glory of the great things he has done for us. Let all the members of the church take comfort from what the Lord does for his church. Let us observe the beauty, strength, and safety of the church. Consider its strength; see it founded on Christ the Rock, fortified by the Divine power, guarded by Him who neither slumbers nor sleeps. See what precious ordinances are its palaces, what precious promises are its bulwarks, that you may be encouraged to join yourselves to it: and tell this to others. This God, who has now done such great things for us, is unchangeable in his love to us, and his care for us. If he is our God, he will lead and keep us even to the last. He will so guide us, as to set us above the reach of death, so that it shall not do us any real hurt. He will lead us to a life in which there shall be no more death.
Psalms 48:1-14 . This is a spirited Psalm and song (compare Psalms 30:1 ), having probably been suggested by the same occasion as the foregoing. It sets forth the privileges and blessings of God's spiritual dominion as the terror of the wicked and joy of the righteous.
1. to be praised--always: it is an epithet, as in Psalms 18:3 .
mountain of his holiness--His Church (compare Isaiah 2:2 Isaiah 2:3 , Isaiah 25:6 Isaiah 25:7 Isaiah 25:10 ); the sanctuary was erected first on Mount Zion, then (as the temple) on Moriah; hence the figure.
2, 3. situation--literally, "elevation."
joy of, &c.--source of joy.
sides of the north--poetically for eminent, lofty, distinguished, as the ancients believed the north to be the highest part of the earth (compare Isaiah 14:13 ).
3. palaces--literally, "citadels."
refuge--( Psalms 9:10 , 18:3 ). He was so known in them because they enjoyed His presence.
4-6. For--The reason is given. Though the kings (perhaps of Moab and Ammon, compare Psalms 83:3-5 ) combined, a conviction of God's presence with His people, evinced by the unusual courage with which the prophets (compare 2 Chronicles 20:12-20 ) had inspired them, seized on their minds, and smitten with sudden and intense alarm, they fled astonished.
7. ships of Tarshish--as engaged in a distant and lucrative trade, the most valuable. The phrase may illustrate God's control over all material agencies, whether their literal destruction be meant or not.
8. This present experience assures of that perpetual care which God extends to His Church.
9. thought of--literally, "compared," or considered, in respect of former dealings.
in the . . . temple-- in acts of solemn worship (compare 2 Chronicles 20:28 ).
10. According . . . praise--that is, As Thy perfections manifested (compare Psalms 8:1 , 20:1-7 ), demand praise, it shall be given, everywhere.
thy right hand, &c.--Thy righteous government is displayed by Thy power.
11. the daughters, &c.--the small towns, or the people, with the chief city, or rulers of the Church.
judgments--decisions and acts of right government.
12-14. The call to survey Zion, or the Church, as a fortified city, is designed to suggest "how well our God secures His fold." This security is perpetual, and its pledge is His guidance through this life.