Friday, July 06, 2012

Zion dwellers

Jerusalem at night
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 48:1-14

TO CHEW ON: "Walk about Zion,
And go all around her.
Count her towers; ....
For this is God,
Our God forever and ever;
He will be our guide
Even to death. Psalm 48:12, 14

Zion is the city of Jerusalem. This Bible dictionary description helps us see it in its natural setting:

"The city is set high in the hills of Judah, over 30 miles form the Mediterranean, and over 20 west of the north end of the Dead Sea. It rests on a none-too-level plateau, which slopes noticeably toward the southeast. To the east lies the ridge of Olivet. Access to the city on all sides except the north is hampered by three deep ravines" - New Bible Dictionary, p. 614.

The Sons of Korah here praise Zion for its beauty, its qualities as a refuge, the way its appearance instills fear in Israel's enemies, and its stability.

But t is more than a mere city. For in the Jewish mind of that day its grandeur and solidity seem to be equated in some way with God Himself. Jerusalem was the centre of their worship and so its qualities become a reflection of Elohim, the God they worship:

"For this is God (Elohim)
Our God forever and ever
He will be our guide
Even to death" (vs. 14).

Metaphors for God abound in the Bible. He is compared to
  • a bird covering us with its feathers (Psalm 90:4).
  • a mother caring for her child (Isaiah 66:12,13)
  • a father (Psalm 68:5; Matthew 6:9).
  • a shepherd (Psalm 23:1-6).
  • a fire (Hebrews 12:29).

... and many more.

I love this picture of God as the city of Jerusalem. The city's elements of beauty, safety, and solidity remind me of the security I have in Him. The last line that talks about Him as a guide reminds me of the hope and the future I have as I continue to live in Him.

PRAYER: Dear God, this picture of You as Zion reminds me of the safety and hope I have in You. May my life as a Zion-dweller be a credit to You. Amen.

MORE: A city on a hill

I wonder if Jesus was thinking of Jerusalem when He mentioned a city on a hill during the Sermon on the Mount. Reading the physical description of Jerusalem, above, made me think of this verse—something we can take into the day.

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. ... Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14, 16. 

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