Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
The prophet, in a beautiful strain, is here extolling mount Zion. It should seem to mean principally the Zion of Jesus, the gospel Zion. In this spiritual sense it is most lovely indeed. He speaks of her situation; God's relation to her; his love of her, and care of her; and what a terror Zion is, and ever will be to her enemies, while she becomes the present and everlasting joy of her friends.
A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah.
The prophet very properly begins with praising the King of Zion, before he enters upon the praise of Zion. Reader! it is always comely to bless the God of our mercies, before we bless God for our mercies. If we really love the gift, how much more ought we to love the giver? Jesus, I adore thee for bringing life and immortality to light through thy gospel. But oh! my Lord, how endeared are both, when both are viewed in thyself.
Beautiful and distinguished indeed is the church, the gospel church of Jesus. Is this Zion, said some of old, whom no man looketh after? Yes! But where are those cities the world hath been running after? Where is Babylon? Where is Nineveh? Where is Tyre? What is become of all the great monarchies of the earth: the Egyptian, the Assyrian, the Grecian, Persian, Roman? Alas! not a vestige remains. But glorious things are spoken of thee, thou city of God. Psalms 87:3. Reader! do not, I pray you, overlook the cause. Was Zion lovely in herself! Was Zion great? Was Zion deserving? No! What was it made her glorious? Jesus had fixed his love upon her. And Jesus tabernacled there. Salvation did God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Isaiah 26:1. Reader, have you so considered Zion! He that founded Zion is Zion's protector; Isaiah 14:32.
All the powers of the world were confederate against Israel, when first God made her a church. And all the powers of the world were confederate when first the gospel was made known. Hell hath been up in arms against it from the beginning. But what a final and decisive answer hath Jehovah given to all the foes of the cross, Psalms 2:1, etc. The distress of foes to the gospel of Christ is here set forth under strong images; as the pains of a woman in travail, willing to flee from the sorrow, but unable.; and the case of the most stately vessels on the water, whose magnitude and strength become as nothing before the violence of the winds and waves: so all foes to Jesus and his Zion must prove. The stone cut without hands must become a mountain and fill the earth; Daniel 2:34.
Here the prophecy and the accomplishment of prophecy the church by faith enjoys and celebrates. The prophets had foretold what God would do for Zion. And, saith the church, blessed be Zion's king, he hath so fulfilled. Reader! think, what a vast accession to this testimony ought Zion to give now. If the church celebrated by faith what God would do in the early days; and if in latter ages the redeemed lived to see fulfilled the predictions of prophets concerning the advent, ministry, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and the coming of the Holy Ghost; and if they blessed a promise performing God; what verses of praise ought you and I to give, that now, near 2000 years since Jesus returned to glory, we live to record that promise which he left, that he had founded his church upon a rock, and the gates of hell should not prevail against it. May we not take up this language and say, As we have heard so have we seen; God will establish it forever?
Here the church is called upon, and well she may, to rejoice in her unspeakable felicity.
Strangers are challenged to see if they can discover any tokens like ruin, or want, or misery. No! Zion still flourisheth, and must flourish, and be a perfection of beauty. Her ordinances, her courts, her palaces; these are her bulwarks and ramparts; and above all Jesus her king is in her.
What a beautiful conclusion to such a triumphant Psalm. Jesus, that is our God and Saviour now, that hath been our fathers Saviour; is ours, and will be to the generation following, and to every generation of his seed forever and ever.
READER! if these be the blessings of Zion, What a mercy must it be to be a citizen of Zion? It is said of this highly privileged spot; where Jesus dwells, that the Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this and that man was born in her. It is a vast and an important question to know if you and I were born there. I mean by a new birth, which makes us fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God. Reader! are we come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God? Do we bow the knee, the heart, the whole soul, in dutiful obedience, in love, in affection, in regard to the king in Zion? Do we speak the language of Zion? Do we love the courts, the house of prayer, the ordinances, the worship of Zion? Is Zion the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth in our esteem? In a word, can we, and do we say; For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. Ye ministers of my God, ye that are watchmen, whom God hath set upon the walls of Zion, see that you hold not your peace day nor night; ye that make mention of my God, give him no rest, nor peace, until that he hath made Jerusalem a praise in the earth. And oh! that all who are citizens of Zion may have the interests of Jesus and his church uppermost upon their hearts, that they may prefer Jerusalem above their chief joy. And do thou, Lord, who art king in Zion, cause thy glory to appear. Be thou thy church's glory; the guide, the protector, the salvation of thy redeemed here upon earth, and their everlasting joy and glory in thy church which is above.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 48 Overview". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/psalms-48.html. 1828.
the First Week of Advent