The Lord and His City (4)
Opening Prayer: Psalm 48.9, 10
We have thought, O God, on Your lovingkindness,
In the midst of Your temple.
According to Your name, O God,
So is Your praise to the ends of the earth;
Your right hand is full of righteousness.
Sing Psalm 48.9-11
(Cwm Rhonda: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah)
For Your grace and lovingkindness we proclaim Your matchless worth!
As Your Name is, great and boundless, let Your praise fill all the earth.
Let Your people sing rejoicing for the judgment of Your truth;
For the judgment of Your truth.
Read Psalm 48.11
1. Who can rejoice and be glad?
2. Why can they enjoy this privilege?
The indicators suggest that our world is not a happy place. It’s wealthier and healthier than ever, but people aren’t happy. Drug abuse, suicide, broken homes, war, theft, migration on a grand scale, violence, ecological concerns, terrorism, inflation: All these conspire to make ours an unhappy, depressed, and angry generation. It seems that we can never hit on that reliable spot where happiness is our constant state.
Well of course not. Happiness – true gladness and unfading joy – is the privilege of those who know the Lord, those He has called to Himself, incorporated into His beautiful and holy city, and gives Himself to by His Word and Spirit day by day. Those who dwell in the holy mount with Jesus can be glad for all He has accomplished for us, and for all that He is making of us in His glorious city.
But we should also rejoice because His Spirit is re-writing His judgments on our heart, that we might know God’s Law and do it, loving God whole-heartedly and our neighbors selflessly and sacrificially (Ezek. 36.26, 27; Matt. 22.34-40). God’s Law – His “judgments” (v. 11) – is the unique possession of those who know the great Lawgiver Himself, and who desire to be great in His Kingdom (Matt. 5.17-19). Knowing, obeying, delighting in, and teaching the judgments of God give us every reason to rejoice in a world that desperately needs to discover the way to gladness.
Gladness and rejoicing are a privilege that comes to all who know the Lord of glory.
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Can you imagine anyone being glad or rejoicing about laws?
Let’s be more specific. Are you glad and rejoicing about God’s Law?
Are you thrilled by the idea of your behavior being constrained?
And that of your neighbor?
I must be honest and say that I am.
What could be more comforting than to know exactly what pleases God?
What could bring more joy than to know that you can count on others following that same Law?
If I know for certain that my spouse will be faithful to me, that is security.
If I know that my children will respect me, and no one will murder me, or steal from me, or lie to me, or covet my things; that makes me glad.
And that is the joy that God desires for all of us to live in:
“We have thought, O God, on Your lovingkindness…” (Ps. 48.9)
We will “rejoice” and “be glad” because of God’s judgments and His Law. (Ps. 48.11)
The positive side to the keeping of the Law is the goodness that exudes from this work.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5.22, 23).
“Against such there is no law” (Gal. 5.23).
This is the privilege of gladness that comes with keeping God’s Law.
1. Why is keeping the Law of God a source of gladness and rejoicing?
2. Why do we need a new heart to be able to keep God’s Law (cf. Ezek. 36.26, 27)?
3. What’s the difference between happiness and joy? Between being happy and rejoicing?
Let us observe the beauty, strength, and safety of the church. Consider its strength; see it founded on Christ the Rock, fortified by the Divine power, guarded by Him who neither slumbers nor sleeps. See what precious ordinances are its palaces, what precious promises are its bulwarks, that you may be encouraged to join yourselves to it: and tell this to others. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 48.11
Closing Prayer: Psalm 48.1-3
Give thanks, praise, and rejoice in your salvation, and that God has called you to His Kingdom and glory. Let His gladness well up within you and overflow to the people you will see today.
Sing Psalm 48.1-3
(Cwm Rhonda: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah)
Great is God, now greatly praise Him in the city of the Lord.
Holy she, His lovely mountain, great and glorious by His Word!
God her King is great within her, He, her Stronghold ever sure! He, her Stronghold ever sure!
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.