Taking physical tours of historical sites is a common pastime for those who have the opportunity to visit different places at home and abroad. Tours educate us about the good, bad, and ugly things that have happened in history to serve as reminders to us about the positive things that we can benefit from or the negative things to avoid. This past summer, I was blessed to have the opportunity to do some sightseeing in Washington, DC, and went on two tours of museums I hadn’t visited before–the Holocaust Museum and the Museum of the Bible. They were both emotional to me, reminding me of what God has accomplished even in the midst of some of the darkest moments in human history to assure us that he is still around. He is still acting to preserve his glory in the Earth for the sake of his people.
I was reminded of those tours today when I was reading Psalm 48. Toward the conclusion of that psalm, the psalmist was speaking of taking a tour through the physical city of Zion, including the temple. The physical characteristics he spoke of no longer exist today, but we can learn from what he said by applying his words as a spiritual parallel to the body of Christ. Verses 9-14 really stood out to me:
9 We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
10 According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
11 Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.
13 Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.
We are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). We believers are also Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22). The psalmist, in the spiritual sense, is inviting us to think of God’s lovingkindness shown to the body of Christ through the centuries. We can think about not only what the Lord has done in our own lives, but also what he has done for other believers.
On our spiritual walk about Zion, our spiritual tour will show the towers, bulwarks, and palaces that we can share with the saints who come after us. Those towers, bulwarks, and palaces represent the numerous momentous occasions God came through for us personally and for other believers to reveal his strength on behalf of his saints. When we recall the redemptive power he unleashed through Christ to establish his church, it leads to our recognition of the spiritual power that continues to build up the church and that has guarded the church century after century despite the wicked plots or schemes of Satan and his children.
Our studies and meditations on the Lord’s great accomplishments for his temple cause his holy fire to burn our hearts to the point of sharing them in some way. Any thorough spiritual tour will draw us to the conclusion, as expressed in v. 14, that God truly is our God forever and ever who will guide his believers even to the point of death. And beyond death. We have the blessed assurance he’ll faithfully stick with those of us who are truly his–no matter what.