Focus Passage: Psalm 48
Do you need a miracle? We find ourselves with less money than we had last year as salaries don’t keep up with the cost of living and with taxes. We find ourselves with one more ache or pain and feel five years older. We worry about the future and see so much that we can not control. Many think this psalm is set in the days of Hezekiah (Isaiah 37) when Jerusalem was surrounded by 185 Assyrian troops mocking God and wanting complete surrender. Hezekiah went into the temple to pray asking God for a miracle. That evening, the angel of the Lord went out and destroyed the Assyrian army and saved the city. Here are some lessons that Hezekiah and the Jewish people learned that day.
A. Safety is found in our God v.3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress. The city of Jerusalem was set on a hill 2500 feet above sea level with deep valleys on all sides. It was so strong that the mighty Assyrian army could not attack it. It could only try to starve the people out. Yet it was not the city walls that provided the real strength. The turning point in the battle was when Hezekiah turned to the Lord for help by praying on his knees in the temple. He prayed and the power of the Lord was unleashed. The Lord made himself known to his people and to the world. He would not be mocked. Our strength will be determined by our willingness to get down on our knees and pray to the Lord.
B. Praise God draws others to God v.10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. God does miracles to save his people and to show his power. People from all over Judea came to Jerusalem to see the work of the Lord. They marveled at the sea of tents left behind. They came starving from the outskirts of the city to be given food to eat. God answers the prayers of His people for the same reasons. He loves us, sure. But think of the revival that would happen if the church got on its knees so that the heavens opened with their power. Some would scoff, but many who have lost faith in God would see him in a new light.
C. Don’t be foolish and forget the Lord v.12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, The mistake of the Assyrians was to count the towers and walls of the city and figure that Jerusalem could be easily beaten. What the Assyrians missed was the truth about the God who dwelt with His people. The people had forgotten God and that was why they had been surrounded. The psalmist tells them to go and see how weak their defenses were so that they will not forget the Lord again, but will depend on him. When people underestimate or forget God, trouble comes. The wise will depend on God. He alone is our hope and our strength.
The greatest danger is not from the enemies to the state or the problems that we face personally. The greatest danger is when we forget God and try to overcome our problems by ourselves. The nation of Israel in the Old Testament had good times and bad. Every one of the good times could be traced to a time where leaders and people worshiped and depended on God. The bad times with wars and famine and poverty were times where God had been forgotten. This psalm is a reminder that we have much to praise the Lord for and that He does work in the lives of his people. Disaster occurs when the people of God forget him in their time of need.