God Is In The City
1 Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
2 Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.
4 When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, 5 they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror. 6 Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labour. 7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.
8 As we have heard,so we have seen in the city of the Lord Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure for ever.
9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. 10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. 11 Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go round her, count her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
Verses 1-3 talk about the God in the city, that he dwells in its centre he is found with in it’s walls. This is in the context of surrounding Pslam’s including 46:
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. Psalm 46
What does this mean for us? It means we can find God in the city. We do not have to go to the mountain or the country stream meditate. Of course we can, but God is also in the city. God is in the dirty great river and the bridges that connect our communities. Yes God is the shepherd, but he is also the taxi driver and the rubbish collector. God is in the city.
Psalm 46 (the verse above) shows us that God not only dwells in the city but sustains it.The action for us then for us to seek him and ask that he would reveal himself to us.
God Cares For The City
Verse 3, God is found in the Citadel and fortress, the Citadel was the centre of the city it was seen as the powerhouse, maybe it could be compared to our Houses of Parliament. The political arena, the place where the people of power would discuss the politics of the area, make decisions and affect change. To the audience reading this, it would be seen as significant that God is in this place, firstly that he could make change and is involved in the politics of the city. It is significant that God is could be found in the development and care of the city, it’s of interest to God, so much so that God can be found in the centre of it all. It inspires me to pray for my politicians, councillors and mayors. I’m also challenged by this to think that even God is in Tower Hamlets town hall, for anyone who knows anything about Tower Hamlets politics that is a big deal!
Secondly God protects this area and fights for it (v4 – 8) he is found to be its ‘fortress’. God values it enough to protect it!
Enjoying The City
The last part of the Psalm moves to thanksgiving for the city. I wonder how often we are thankful for our city? The Psalmist then says we should explore our cities and see what’s there. I love getting lost in the city finding new places and rediscovering old places. This is a great opportunity to explore and seek God in the city. Then the part that specifically applies to us Youth Workers – share this with the next generation!!! We have discussed elsewhere that said our reading of the Bible has at times been historically conditioned by the rural, it is up to us to help the young people we work with to read it with urban lenses!
I would encourage you to go and explore you area and see what God says! Maybe take some young people?!