SHE IS BEAUTIFUL IN ELEVATION!
ON MANY OF THE HOLY LAND TOURS,
WHEN THE TOUR BUS APPROACHES JERUSALEM,
THIS SONG IS PLAYED, FILLING HEARTS WITH ANTICIPATION AND AWE.
BUT THIS SONG, AND PSALM 48 ITSELF, SEEM TO SPEAK OF A DIFFERENT JERUSALEM THAN THE ONE WE KNOW.
INSTEAD OF WAR TORN,
SHE IS THE “JOY OF THE WHOLE EARTH.”
INSTEAD OF BEING SITUATED IN THE SOUTH,
SHE IS IN “THE FAR NORTH.”
INSTEAD OF RESISTING JESUS, CAUSING HIM SORROW,
SHE IS REJOICING IN HER GOD.
WHAT’S GOING ON? WHO IS THIS JERUSALEM?
SHE IS A CITY, AND YET, SHE IS A BRIDE.
SUCH A MIXED METAPHOR, AND YET EXACTLY THE ONE WE SAW IN
THE SONG OF SONGS.
SOMETIMES WHEN HE DESCRIBES HER WE SEE A WOMAN’S BEAUTIFUL BODY — BUT BLINK, AND WE SEE THE LAND OF ISRAEL.
Your neck is like the tower of David
We imagine a woman with a model-like neck:
but blink and we see Jerusalem’s famous tower:
THIS MIXED METAPHOR IS ALSO THE VISION GOD GAVE JOHN IN REVELATION:
THIS IS THE NEW JERUSALEM,
AS AUGUSTINE PUT IT,
THE CITY OF GOD
TO THE CITY OF MAN.
THIS IS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST,
PEOPLES MADE UP OF EVERY TRIBE AND NATION.
THIS IS YOU, MY BLOG SISTERS, WHO LOVE HIM!
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL IN ELEVATION,
THE JOY OF THE WHOLE EARTH.
THIS IS US AS WE WILL BE,
WHEN WE ARE TOTALLY TRANSFORMED,
AND LIVE TOGETHER IN
“THE CITY OF OUR GOD WHICH GOD WILL ESTABLISH FOREVER.”
Next week, we will finish these Songs of Korah that have gone from Psalm 42 through 49, and also consider how they inspired Saint Augustine, often considered the most influential Christian in history. I have some rich resources for you. I think it will be a wonderful closure to this section and the summer.
On this Monday I covet your prayers for a beautiful evening as four new adult Christians will be baptized at the lake outside my house — I’ve written about Lyle, Debbie, and Ron — and also there will be Billy, a young man who mows my lawn. So exciting! Right now it is cold, windy, and whitecaps are rolling in. I just took this picture so you could see and pray that Jesus would calm the waves and bring the sun out!
P. S. My dear friend Ann is a silent blogger and wrote this after reading this week’s blog — I thought you might all like to see what she wrote:
I loved your post this week — and you know how Howie (her husband) and I have had a love affair with Jerusalem.
Entering Jerusalem is amazing, especially when you first see it. They usually take you in on the regular highway, then up the Mount of Olives for that famous view. You don’t need any music. It is pure drama.
The first time our bus of 30 people just stared in awe. No music played or needed. On our second trip the bus driver put on the song you had about Jerusalem. I have to admit that, though the song is lovely, it felt pretty cheesy to heighten the drama with the song. It was meant to enrich the experience. But for some reason, I felt it took away from the experience for me.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
Monday-Thursday Bible Study
2. Read all of Psalm 48, with the understanding that this is the New Jerusalem, the bride of Christ, the city of our God — and share anything that quickens you.This is a good time to introduce questions as well, questions that I hope you will be able to answer yourself as you continue to study.
3. Read Psalm 48:1-3
A. What descriptions do you find, and how does this seem to point to a different Jerusalem than the one that either existed In Jesus day or in our day?
B. Look at a Bible map and find Jerusalem. Is it in the far north of Israel, as Psalm 48:2 says? Now, compare this with Isaiah 14:13. Derek Kidner writes: “the far north” in Scripture is associated with God’s royal seat.
“It is equivalent to heaven.” What insight does this give you into the “new Jerusalem?”
C. Read Psalm 48:3-8. What is happening?
D. This is much more sweeping, Kidner says, than any attack on Jerusalem in the Old Testament. This is what was prophesied by Ezekiel 27:26. Find it and share what you see.
E. This is symbolic of the world’s end. Compare this to Revelation 18:16-17 What do you see?
4. But though the end of this world as we know it will be hard, that is not the end. Read Psalm 48:9-14 and describe how God is going to replace the “City of Man,” as Augustine put it, with the “City of God.”
5. What perspective and hope does this give you?
Friday: WATCH THIS ON AUGUSTINE’S “CITY OF MAN” — NEXT WEEK, AS PART OF THIS PSALM STUDY, WE WILL CONSIDER AUGUSTINE’S “CITY OF GOD,” WHICH IS THE NEW JERUSALEM! PRAY FOR ME, I WANT TO FINISH WELL.
7. What is your take-a-way and why?