The tendency of human nature is to slip into worship that is lethargic, half-hearted, and simply “going through the motions”. It must be resisted vigorously and constantly. The Lord of hosts is a great King (Malachi 1:14) who receives passionate glory, honor, and thanks from the living creatures, the twenty-four elders, and the innumerable host of angels in heaven (Revelation 4:9-11, 5:11-14). He desires and deserves the same from all humans living on earth.
Psalm 48 begins with a call to worship—”Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain” (v. 1). After this declaration of truth, this song of the sons of Korah gives four reasons for Jehovah’s continual praiseworthiness.
- Because of His protective presence. “Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is in her palaces; He is known as her refuge. For behold, the kings assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marveled; they were troubled, they hastened away. Fear took hold of them there and pain, as of a woman in birth pangs, as when You break the ships of Tarshish with an east wind. As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it forever” (vv. 2-8).
- Because of His steadfast lovingkindness. “We have thought, O God, on Your lovingkindness in the midst of Your temple” (v. 9).
- Because of His sovereign righteousness. “According to Your name, O God, so is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness. Let Mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of Your judgments” (vv. 10-11).
- Because of His unchanging character and guidance. “Walk about Zion and go all around her. Count her towers; mark well her bulwarks; consider her palaces; that you may tell it to the generation following. For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death” (vv. 12-14).
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised is He.